I thought I’d share ten life lessons I have learnt as a writer so far. Some of these may be completely obvious, but I think they are all worth putting down anyway. Once I have done some more learning, I may well share a few more thoughts.
1. Nothing you write will ever be perfect. When a piece of writing is the best you’re capable of, it’s time to let it go.
2. Sending your work out takes a great deal of courage. Pause to celebrate your bravery, regardless of the outcome. You won’t get far as a writer until you’re able to let other people see your work.
3. No editor or beta reader who knows their stuff is ever going to unreservedly love your work. But if they are honest and you trust them, they will help you improve as a writer. Set aside your bruised ego and listen to the feedback with an open mind.
4. You’re never going to agree with 100% of the feedback you receive. This is okay. Different people have different opinions. Learning to accept feedback is the first lesson. Learning which parts of the feedback will take your writing to the next level is the second lesson. Both are vital to becoming a better writer.
5. Taking a break is as important as the writing (I wrote about the subject here). Make sure you take regular breaks to let your body and mind breathe. Hug a husky. Kip with a koala. Waltz with a wallaby. Or maybe just go for a walk. Whatever suits you the best.
6. The internet is full of writing advice that will surely make you a best selling author. Some of it is pure gold. Some of it won’t make any sense. The trick is to choose the bits that work for you. And if you happen to find the magic formula that leads to instant bestsellerdom, feel free to share it in the comments!
7. Not every review is going to be positive. Note any constructive critique and ignore the rest. If you’re struck down with a bad case of review blues, hugging a dog or shouting at the computer are both recommended remedies. Also, I’ve heard talking to likeminded people is a possibility. And by the way, it’s okay to go back and squee over positive reviews as often as you want.
8. Once you’ve signed with an agent and/or signed a publishing deal, writing becomes a team effort. Be professional in your interactions with the rest of that team. Choose people you trust. Make sure you show them you value the work they put into making your book a reality. And as much as you may worry about letting them down, they are probably worried about letting you down. So be fearless together.
9. Be fearless. Take risks. Dare to dream big. You have a unique view of the world. Use it in your writing.
10. There is always going to be someone more successful or accomplished or with better sales (or better hair) than you. Be yourself and do your best. It’s all anyone can (or should!) expect from you.
Bonus one: Chocolate is the answer to most problems.