This month at Aussie Owned and Read, we’re talking about things we wish we knew when we began our writing journey, aka Knowledge for Newbies.
I like to look to the future. For me, that’s so much more beneficial than focusing on the past, on the could-haves and should-haves that can weigh on your mind and bring you down. No regrets! Live for the now! And all that other good stuff!
But I also believe we can learn from our past mistakes, and if others can learn from mine, I would be thrilled. Why should we all get caught in the same problems when some advice might help us along?
So here are three things I wish I knew back then.
- Great things will happen if you just keep pushing. Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep taking risks and exposing yourself to new situations, new challenges, and you’re going to reap the rewards.
So many times when I started writing, I would worry and think I should give up, that I should quit. I always managed to pull myself out of those slumps, but I did go on a hiatus for a year at one point because I felt I wasn’t good enough, and I wish now I had persevered and kept on keeping on. “The harder I work, the luckier I get” – the quote is attributed to a bunch of different people, including Samuel Goldwyn, and I definitely think it applies to writing. That and words by another wise American scholar: “Just keep swimming”.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. When I first started, I thought “Oh, I couldn’t possibly ask Author X to read my book”. Or “No way would Blog Y want to feature me”. Now, however, I know that unless you ask, unless you take a chance, you won’t stand a chance. You have to push yourself to be brave. The worst that can happen is someone says no–but no one is going to laugh at you for having a go. And if they do, they’re not worth your time.
- Make a plan. And then change it. I used to be a complete pantser when it came to writing. To a certain degree, I still am, but I like to go into my books now with a plot in mind. Sometimes, I’ll plan it out, down to each individual scene. Most times, I’ll then change it.
Regardless, going into my writing with a plan has helped me be more productive when I work because I have greater focus.
So they’re my three top tips! What about you? What’s one thing you know now that you wish you knew back then?