Greetings! Have you decided to start writing out of the blue with little to no previous experience? Before you do, consider the following advice, then immediately toss it in the trash and get writing.
Tip #1: Grammar Good
I cannot stress enough how important grammaring good is if you want any credibility as a writer. Even if you are just starting out, brush up on your grammar skills so the feedback/critique you receive down the road can be focused more on the content than restructuring every sentence (although that may be a good idea, anyway). I am sure there is nothing more discouraging for an editor than receiving a manuscript with so many grammatical errors that it takes twice as long to read it just to understand what it says. Using correct grammar is the minimum requirement, and, if you do it well enough, you’ll have more flexibility in this realm. For example, verbing the word “grammar” was a choice that I made knowing that you, the reader, would not only know what I meant but also know that I did not use it thinking it was “correct,” since I don’t typically make mistakes of that magnitude.
Google is your friend. I do not have an English degree. Sometimes, if I have a question about the rules of the English language, I’ll consult the Internet and perhaps more educated people around me. Keep a dictionary nearby as well.
Tip #2: Don’t screen yourself
You are not obligated to screen your writing for anyone if you’re a newbie, unless you’re writing for your mother (as I am). Write about whatever you want and dump all the crap into your manuscript that you come up with on the fly. No one has to see it without your permission, and it can always be revised later. Ignore the voices telling you that all you write is crap. There is undoubtedly a seed in there that you can nourish until it blossoms. Think of the crap as fertilizer in the meantime. 😉
Tip #3: Write with the goal to improve, not to be perfect
One of my biggest struggles is squashing my desire to be perfect while I’m writing. If you write with the mindset that you’ll improve as you go, many things will be easier for you: writing, accepting criticism, and improving. This mindset will save you a lot of pain as a writer. The best thing about it is that your goal is actually achievable! It’s not fiction that the more you write, the better you’ll get.
Tip #4: Take it easy
Don’t be so eager to finish or publish a project that you do so prematurely. Make sure your debut is as good as you can make it. Take your time writing and editing it so it feels polished and complete. Devise a publishing plan three or more months in advance. Find as many people with diverse personalities/opinions as you can that would be willing to offer their opinions. Don’t enter the publishing game blind as I did.
Tip #5: Don’t fall in love with your writing
This is easier if you start out knowing that you are not a great writer — not in the sense that you will never be a great writer, but in the sense that It Is Impossible To Write Something Perfectly The First Time. Also, not everyone is going to like your work. If you become too attached to the words you type, you are setting yourself up for failure, not improvement. You must expect criticism as a writer. You must accept the indisputable fact that there is no reason to fall in love with your own writing — unless you are writing solely for yourself with no intention of sharing it with the opinionated world. Your opinion is not the only one that matters if you plan on writing for other people.
I hope these tips help! If you are a newbie and have any questions, drop them in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to answer them. 🙂 Thanks for reading!