Dear young writers,
I was like you once. I was afraid to put myself out there because of the fear of being judged or embarrassed. Let me tell you that there comes a time when we have to decide who we are going to live for. Will it be for ourselves or others?
I have a lot of advice for younger authors because I was still in High School when I began writing. My first book was published when I turned 19. I am only 20 years old now so I think I can relate to young writers. This advice may be something that you’ll never think of again, but maybe it will help just one of you out there.
1.Do not be afraid of rejection.
This means by the public, by a publisher, by a literary agent, by a friend or even by a family member. I didn’t let the rejection of publishers or literary agents stop me. I knew that one day I would find my place in the book world and I have. You can expect a lot more from me. I will be publishing books left and right one day. This is my passion. It will continue to happen for me just like things will start happening for you.
- Read. Read a lot!
Not one idea that I have for a book has come from me doing nothing but writing or reading. I read. Every single day. Ideas blossom that way. Continue to read and love to read. You will have ideas from those books. You will think of ways to change the story and make it better. I’m not saying copy their ideas (please don’t do that). I’m saying to keep your mind running on how to make yourself a better writer. It’s always so humbling to see your mistakes as a writer and then to see that someone you look up to has made the exact same mistake in their book. I always think to myself, “I forget that they’re human too.” We all make mistakes. Learn From Them.
- Write as much as you can.
I have to admit that when I get busy, I do not write. I can go a week without writing but then my fingers are itching to write something, so I do. I have a journal that I write in every single day, but I should be writing on my books at that moment instead! If you don’t write at least every week, then you will probably start to think less and less about it and that isn’t good. Write always. Write every single day (preferably) but try and write every week.
- When you think you’re done editing, you’re not.
Learn from me. There is always work to be done. There is always room for improvement. When you think your book is PERFECT. Look again. No one has a perfectly written book. When you think you’re ready, keep working on it until your editor says, “Now this is a good book.” I edited “Antidote” more than 50 times (no kidding) and it still is nowhere near perfect. I have to keep practicing the art of writing before I get anywhere near the authors out there today.
- Write because it is your passion.
Don’t write for fame. Don’t write for money. I write for the enjoyment. I mainly write because the way books affect me. If I am having a horrible day, I pick up a book and get lost for hours. My main goal is to give readers this. I want to be the author that people look up to as I look up to Jennifer L. Armentrout or Wendy Higgins. I want to make a difference in someone’s life as these two ladies have done for me. Reading is my passion and I got lucky with the patience to be a writer.
- Surround yourself with positive people and supporters.
No matter what, please surround yourself with positive energy. If someone is telling you that you aren’t good enough, run away from them. They aren’t going to move you forward, they will push you back and you don’t need that. Let people tell you the truth but make sure they are looking out for you. Most people want to see you fail. It is the sad truth of the world today, but some people really want to see you become the best person you can be (thanks mom, dad, Dina and Dimitri for giving me this kind of support).
- Any type of criticism is GOOD for you.
I remember the first criticism I ever got for my book. I cried. Not to him but to myself and my dad. My dad sat beside me and said that if I can’t handle the bad criticism then this isn’t the job for me. I remember thinking “This is my dream. This is my life’s goal. I can do this.” So my advice for you is that all criticism is GOOD for you. I went home and began to scan the things he said. He was right. I fixed all the mistakes he told me I was making, and I am a way better writer now. Don’t cry if they hurt your feelings. Take what they said and be constructive with it. Who am I to say don’t cry? CRY if you want to, but take the advice with you.
- Make small goals for yourself and work from there.
My goal starting out was be a bestseller. Okay, so one day YES. I really hope it happens for me. If it doesn’t then that is okay because as you read above, my goal is to touch lives. My goal for now is to see happiness associated with my book. I’m meant to write more books and my next goal is to write a book that will help someone through a hard time like I’ve been through in my lifetime. Make small goals. Don’t jump to the big goals.
- Find what works for you as a writer.
I’ve found what I can do to make words pop onto the page. Some days are harder than others. I know that I have to sit down at night. Sometimes I need music with words, sometimes no words. I have to meditate for at least a minute before beginning. I have to embrace that some days I am writing complete CRAP but I have to just come back to it later on. My mind has to always be going. I have to write something down before the day is up. Find what works for you. Do you want to be in silence? Do you want to self publish? Do you want to be passionate about your work or do you just want the fame, money and recognition?
- Most of all, take it day by day. Life isn’t about the destination.
These past few months I’ve been through a lot. I’ve found out that making plans for the future isn’t realistic because you begin to really miss out on life. Plans fall through. Things change. Remember that there is something special about each day. I know you’ve heard “Life is about the journey, not the destination.” I used to roll my eyes at that saying. But it is the truth. I’ve been humbled. Life is about the stuff in between your destination. You may want to be a great author just like me. I thought about how could I get there faster. It’s not about that. I don’t know how much time I have on earth just like the rest of us don’t but I do know that it will take time to be a bestseller. It will take time to master all writing techniques (even a few). It will take time because no one has the same journey of life. No one has the same journey of becoming an author. That is the beauty of life. We will never walk the same paths. The journey of life is entirely up to us.