A- Accept that your first, third and more than likely your fourth draft will be crap, and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be perfect, nor will it be.
B- Believe in yourself and your talents. If you don’t believe in yourself or your work, no one else will either.
C- Challenge yourself to write daily. Try to carve out at least 30 minutes to write. The more time you spend away from that paper and pencil (or computer) the easier it is to get out of the habit altogether.
D- Don’t give up. Surge forward even when you feel like ditching a whole manuscript. Trust me, the time will come.
E- Editing. Need I say more? It’s a MUST. Don’t skimp on this one.
F- Forget the naysayers. They usually don’t have a clue.
G- Grammar is important. Know the difference between they’re, their and there if you want to be taken seriously.
H- Help others and learn to accept help in return. Join author groups and forums. The support can be amazing for those times when you need extra encouragement.
I- Ideas come and go, especially when there is so much going on in daily life. Write them down lest you forget.
J- Jot down ideas as they come to you. (Can you tell this is an important one for me?) You’ll thank yourself later. Between soccer and football practice, laundry, homework, cooking dinner, etc., I don’t always have the mind to remember something, so I jot it down or make a note in my phone.
K- Keep a style sheet or diary handy to reference time line sequences and plot lines in your novel.
L- Learn to let go. I know I say this a lot, but it’s so important. Writing can be an extreme high when you’re on a roll, but it can also be the one thing that makes you doubt why you ever tried in the first place. If you write a piece that’s not so great, it’s okay. If your book flops, that’s alright, too. Let go of the bad and move on. You’ll be a much happier person.
M- Market your work. Yes, it’s time consuming and you’d better believe it can be overwhelming, but you have to put in the work, otherwise, what’s the point?
N- Never compare yourself to someone who’s been writing for years. I found this one out the hard way. We’re all unique and we all have something different to offer. We also have to pay our dues to get to where we want to be. You more than likely will not produce a New York Times Bestseller on your first try.
O- Overanalyzing can create problems you don’t need. (I probably will get grief for this one) I’m all for editing. It’s a necessary evil and should be handled with the utmost care. However, don’t beat a dead horse. After the tenth, eleventh or twentieth time, walk away. I know I said no skimping on this, but really?
P- Publishing. I’m a self-published author because that’s the path I chose. I never tried the traditional route. Why you ask? Fear? Maybe. Rejection? Perhaps, but it doesn’t make me or any other self-published author less of a writer. I think there’s a general perception that if you aren’t represented by a major publishing house your work isn’t good enough. Loose the stigma.
Q- Query letters. Someone else posted on this earlier and I’d like to second their sentiment because it’s a valid point. Don’t use a template and simply fill in the blanks. You’ve spent a lot of time writing your book and now you’re asking someone else to invest their time reading it. Put in the effort required to make that impression, especially if you’re expecting that same effort from someone else.
R- Relax. Take a deep breath. It’s all going to be alright. You can do this!
S- Share your work with friends and family. Heck, let your neighbors or co-workers take a peek. It never hurts to get feedback early on.
T- Trust your instincts. Write from the heart and where the story takes you.
U- Understand not everything you write will be a best seller and that’s okay.
V- Visualize the light at the end of the tunnel. Some days it will feel like there isn’t one.
W- Welcome help when it’s offered because you’re going to need it. Prepare yourself, independent people!
X- ? Yeah, you knew I wouldn’t have anything on this one!
Y- You only go around once. If writing (or blogging, cooking, painting, sewing, etc.) is your passion, then do your thing and go for it! Make no apologies.
Z- Zeal. ( – . It definitely takes zeal to do what we do, otherwise it might not be worth it. The drive, the desire and the need to write make the endeavor to do so that much sweeter!
©Kelly Miles 2015