As I stand at work and type this I wonder what advise someone could have given to me at a young age to make sure I didn’t end up where I am today, and by that I’m not referring to being a writer or working some second shift job for $12 and hour. Instead I am referring to being a mediocre writer with little experience in a field I still have a lot of ignorance about. I am still learning as one should always do. The mistakes I made is not using the time I had to the best of my ability. This is why I write this to you, young writer.
Do not question your passion and don’t let others do that for you. If this is what you are drawn to or have a craving for, feed that beast. Eat everything. Read anything you can get your hands on. Make friends with like-minded souls who share your interest. Practice. Every word you write, every page you throw in the trash or delete is another step to writing that final work. Learn your craft. A master is someone that never stopped practicing their art.
Work every job that comes your way and treat it like a new experience for the first time. The conversations you have, the relationships you build are all tools added to your arsenal. There is no job too bad, boring, petty, dangerous, or loathing that you can’t walk away from without learning something. The writer shares with the world how they view it. There is no substitute.
Read the classics and hate them. Hate them for being so damn good. Hate them for being difficult to understand. Love them later when you are ready. Cling to those books that had you hooked and figure out why you love it so. What was it that sucked you in and became a part of you? Find those pieces and never let them go.
As a writer, there is no such thing as a useless subject. You may not use everything but if you know what you are writing about it will show through your work.
Find your voice. Use your craft to figure out who you are. When you find your voice, others will listen.
Be patient. Writing does not come quickly. There is no shortcut. Books are never finished in the first draft, edits are not done one time through, covers do not draw themselves, and promotion is half of the battle. Always doubt yourself and have confidence in your work. Listen to those that know more than you. Accept criticism and ignore the trolls. Always have in mind the next project. One book will not dictate your success or failure. You reach your destination by always moving ahead.
The most important thing I could leave you with is this, never stop learning. The world is a living and breathing place. Move with it, breath it in and be a part of it. stories change, markets change, your life will change. Don’t let yourself be left behind.