Welcome back, witchlings <3
Today's #augustauthorchallenge, Advice to New Writers, is an interesting one for me. Because in my dark, little soul, I still feel like such a baby writer. The Forgotten series is not only my current wip, it's also my first ever attempt into the creative writing space as an adult. Granted, I've now been working on it for going on 2 years... but most days, it all still feels so new.
And as scary as that is, a part of me hopes that never changes. The imposter syndrome and those sneaking fears that my story isn't good enough, the writing isn't good enough, or that I have too much left to learn can border on overwhelming some days. But there's an incredible freedom and joy in letting writing feel new every time I have the luxury of coming to the keyboard.
It's also a nice reminder that writing my story--putting my fantasy world onto the page--is a hobby that I've chosen for myself. It's a creative outlet that became a passion. And at the end of the day, as tired as I may be when I finally sit down to write, it is a privilege to have the time and the physical and emotional space to do it.
So, current and future writers, here's my advice to you:
Mental, emotional, and physical health are more important than wordcount. Unless you are being paid to meet a deadline, tomorrow will always be another day to put your ideas to paper. Take care of yourself, and your story will come in its own time.
As the cliché goes, The time will pass either way, so don't put off your dreams for the time it will take to achieve them. It's trite because it's true.
Sometimes, you just need to put down an idea, acknowledge that it's ugly, and leave the problem solving for "editing Cat". No matter how well you try to polish your draft the first time around, editing is going to require changes.
Don't be afraid to make those changes. Revisions don't mean your first draft wasn't good enough. They mean you know your story better now, having seen the entire thing play out, than you did when you were writing each scene. They mean that you're a better writer now, than you were when you first wrote them.
Read, read, read. Read authors that inspire you. Read books that are outside of your comfort zone. Read leading authors from your genre.
Struggle with dialogue? Me too! Watch dialogue heavy tv shows. A couple of my current favorites are Schitt's Creek and Grace and Frankie. Listen to podcasts with multiple hosts, especially ones that are heavy on banter. If you like romance, I'd suggest Fated Mates, Heaving Bosoms, the Wicked Wallflowers. If you like scifi / fantasy, or more craft-based materials, check out Writing Excuses, No Write Way, or Deadline City.
Find a writing community. Writing doesn't have to be a solitary experience--especially in times like these when many of us already feel so isolated. Joining a group of other writers has so many benefits: people to bounce ideas off of, critique partners, encouragement, gentle reminders that you are not the only one who struggles with the critical little demon reading your screen over your shoulder. Check on Meetup or check in with your regional Nanowrimo group. My Smut Coven* of other lovely romance writers has been a godsend.
Most importantly: You are enough, and any story you choose to tell is valid and worthwhile. Trust yourself, and trust your story.
*Hint, hint: remember to follow some other members of the lovely Smut Coven:
Until next time! Be well, be safe, be creative,
p.s. I've got the first scene of Awakened in Stone ready to send out to subscribers tomorrow.