Today is the one year anniversary for my blog! I originally started this blog to share writing tips and the like, and although I haven’t done real well with sticking to that, I decided to do it today to celebrate the anniversary of this blog. So here are some things that I wish I had known when I started seriously writing at the age of thirteen, that I know now.
1. Being a writer, does NOT mean that you have to be weird! As a young writer, I loved the idea that I was weird because I liked to write. I loved getting strange looks from people because I would talk out loud to my characters and because I talked about weird things. Now, I realize that being a writer is no different than being a builder, or a musician, or a grocery store worker. It’s what I do. I enjoy my work and there’s nothing weird about that. Some people talk about cars, or music, or art. I talk about writing. I don’t have to be weird to be a writer. Like all jobs, it has it's different sides, (like you see in my 'You Know You're a Writer' post,) but that doesn't mean it's weird.
2. It’s okay to let people read what you write! Do you remember my blog post about my notebooks? I was TERRIFIED that someone would see what I had written! Now, although I still get nervous when people read what I write, I’ve learned that it’s not the end of the world. It’s actually VERY helpful getting people’s feedback. If you have people in your life willing to read your writings, be thankful for that! Not everyone has that.
3. Criticism is a GOOD thing! To be honest, I still don’t like people tearing my writings apart, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t mean they hate me. When someone takes the time to give you honest feedback, don’t get mad at them and think they’re being mean. It takes honesty to give an honest opinion, and if someone will honestly critique your writings, you’re VERY blessed.
4. Your family is always right. If you’ve ever written something, and then your whole family told you that this one part of it was unrealistic, then they’re probably right. Even if it’s your favorite part. When I started writing and my family gave me feedback, I thought they were wrong. But the more I write, the more I realize that if they think something isn’t written right, then any other reader I may get, will probably think the same thing. It hurts sometimes, changing a scene that I really like, but I’ve never regretted any of the changes my family’s told me to make, no matter how grievous it seemed at the time.
5. Prayer is REALLY important while writing. When I started writing, I didn’t pray much about what I was writing, now, my motto has become, ‘Write Hard, but Pray Harder’. If we’re not praying about our writings, we’re not as likely to learn from them, and trust me; I’ve learned some HUGE lessons while writing.
6. It’s okay to write things that you know you’re going to have to change. For example, when I started writing, there were days when I wouldn’t get anything written because I HAD to find the perfect name for a character. Now, I’ll just tag the first name that comes to mind onto the character and keep going. Then when I’m done, I’ll often go back and change it, or sometimes, I find that the name has grown on me and it’s actually perfect for the character.
7. There are more important things than writing. If you’re an avid writer you’re probably glaring at me right now, but seriously, writing isn’t everything. It’s more important to have a good relationship with your family. It’s more important to do your chores, and it’s WAY more important to do your devotions! No matter how much you love writing, it should never get in the way of the direct commands God has given in Scripture. He didn’t command you in the Bible to write an epic fantasy novel, but He did command you to obey your parents.
8. Being an author, is harder than being a writer. When I was thirteen and I was dreaming about being published, I imagined it to be a lot like my current writing life, only then I would have readers. Now I know that, there’s way more to being an author than to being a writer. As an author, you have to have a platform. You have to be willing to be a salesmen, and you have to be willing to leave your precious writings to interact with others. Marketing, advertising, getting your name out there, it’s hard, it can be expensive, but it’s the reality of being an author. People won’t buy your book just because it’s published.
9. Getting a Biblical message into a book can be the hardest part. I didn’t want to have long sermons typed out in the middle of a kidnapping drama, but I also didn’t want anyone to be able to read it and come away without knowing the message. Now there is NOTHING wrong with pausing a story to teach something, but if you’re trying to intertwine the spiritual lesson into the plot, it can get really hard and complicated. It’s not as easy as it should be, but since it’s the most important part, we shouldn’t expect it to be easy.
10. The first rough draft is just the beginning. I’ll never forget the feeling I got when I finished writing out my first book in a notebook. I was ecstatic! I had written a book! Then I had to type it out and I began changing things. Suddenly, writing the first draft wasn’t such a big deal. By the eighth draft, I wanted to give up, but I learned that as hard as editing is, it’s where a real manuscript is made.
What it looked like when I started writing . . .
What it look's like now.
I hope this was helpful! If you’re looking at this list going, “Wow! I’m not so sure I like writing anymore,” take heart. It’s in the storms that God walks on water. God makes beauty from ashes, When we’re weak, then HE is shown to be strong!