I am not here to deliver any harsh reality advice about being a writer because there is enough of that nonsensical advice floating around. I want to put a stop to that because I see a lot of young writers divvying out this advice, and I’m not sure where they’re getting it from. Jaded writers who had to *gasp* work really hard to get published? Jaded writers who had to *gasp* put up with rejection? Just stop giving out advice that basically tells writers why they don’t want to be writers. Yeah, writing is hard and time consuming and maybe soul sucking from time to time, but it is not for other writers to decide who should stick with writing and who shouldn’t. That is up for the individual writer alone to decide, not you. Never you. All you need to be doing is writing.
So here’s some positive advice to encourage you, rather than deter you.
Writing is freaking hard but so is anything worthwhile. You’re young. Most likely your writing won’t be publishable until you’re older–and I’m talking about publishable for the big leagues, not your school newspaper or anthology, though that is still pretty cool. And even if you do get published, that won’t be your best starting out. I don’t think When Stars Die will be my best starting out. I’d like for it to be, but I’m 22 going on 23. I still have so many years left in my life to improve my craft.
Don’t be in a hurry to publish. Have you ever noticed that when teen writers make mistakes, reviewers excuse them on the basis that they’re teens? But when adult writers make mistakes, they’re chastised as bad writers? You want to make the best darn first book you can, so don’t be in a hurry to find an agent who will launch you to publishing stardom. Take your time. I’m so glad I took my time.
Don’t write to become rich, but it doesn’t mean you can’t dream about it. I always say set your goals high so you work that much harder. My dream is to be a full-time writer, and I am going to work super hard to make that a reality. I’m going to keep writing and doing the best that I can to make certain I am noticed.
Don’t let anyone tell you you’re a crap writer. “The expert in anything was once a beginner.” It’s going to be rough starting out, but you’re going to get better. You know why? Because you have to. Because you have options now. You can self-publish, and while it’s not easy, it means you can get your work read by others and earn money. That option didn’t exist when I was thirteen or fourteen or even eighteen. Self-publishing has always been around, but it was never accessible without thousands of dollars. And you’re young! The writing will always be there, and there are so many resources out there that can help you better your writing. Have fun with it. Remember why you started writing and stick with it.
And last, don’t act like you’re an expert, because you’re probably not–hence why I seethe when I read such negative advice from such young writers. You may have had an essay published or even a short story, but you know as much about the business as someone unpublished. The business is fickle, ever changing, so don’t profess to know it. I don’t profess to know it at all.