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Looking back, I can smile at that version of myself, because while she is very different from who I am today, she was brave, and without her courage, this blog and the large majority of my manuscripts would not exist today.
However, like most new writers, I was pretty naïve when I first started writing. And while my naïveté didn’t do any permanent damage, my journey might have been a little easier if I knew these five writing truths that I know today:
- It’s ok if your first book doesn’t get published. Or your second. Or your fifth. Deep down inside, I suppose some part of me suspected this was true, but the thing is, I wanted to be an exception (we all do, I suspect). I was determined to be the writer who debuted with her first ever novel, so it was hard to finally put that first manuscript away and move on to something new.
It was hard the second time, too. And the third.
I’m not sure that it ever gets any easier, but the most important thing is to accept that it’s ok. You aren’t a failure because your first or third or sixth novel didn’t get published, nor are you worth any less than the writers who do. Every writer’s journey is different, and yours is yours alone.
- Some days you’ll think your writing is amazing, and other days you’ll think you suck. This is normal. It doesn’t sound normal, and when you’re on those low days, it certainly doesn’t feel normal, but even published NYT best-selling writers feel this way. The key is to write through the highs and lows, and on those days where it feels like everything you write is crap, know that you can make it better.
- Time is on your side. I wrote a post about this a while back, so I won’t go into the details, but in short, we writers are lucky because time works for us. Manuscripts aren’t perishable, and neither is the ability to write.
- Trunking a novel doesn’t mean giving up. Trunking a novel means moving on, it means taking the skills you’ve learned from writing previous manuscripts and applying it to something new. It means accepting that maybe your last novel wasn’t ready yet, but that doesn’t mean it never will.
Trunking a novel means a lot of things, but it never means giving up.
- Reading is more than just a fun way to pass the time. Have I mentioned lately how essential it is for writers to read? One of the best ways to learn new styles and writing tricks and see examples of writing that works, is to read. There are literally millions of books out there—take advantage of them and read your way into becoming a better writer.