I get questions about advice for new writers almost every day. And it’s a hard question to answer, because everyone is different. Your brain works and perceives differently than mine, so what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you. But I do believe that hearing other people’s experiences and learning from them can be helpful. So, here are some tips for new writers.
1. Always work to improve your craft.
A big part of this is figuring out how you learn. It look me many years to realize that I don’t actually learn by reading textbooks, I learn by observing. So for me, attending writing conferences where teachers could walk me through the concepts and show examples, was the best way for me to learn to improve my craft.
Reading good books in the genre you want to write in is also really helpful. It will help you tune your instincts so that when you’re writing, you can feel when something is off. It will give you an idea of what readers of that genre expect, so that you can make promises in your story, and keep them.
If you want to be a better writer, you need to write.
All writing is good practice, but I also think evaluating writing is important. Find a writing group or critique partner. Not only is their feedback valuable for your writing, but even more so, learning the skill of reading critically—noticing when something feels off and learning to diagnose why it feels off—will change your writing faster than maybe anything else.
Getting into how to find writing groups, which advice to listen to, etc., is a little more complicated, so I’ll have to return to that another time. But long story short: find people who want you to succeed and listen to all advice, but only take the advice that helps you get where you want to go.
3. Keep going.
Failing and rejection are a part of life, and a big part of the subjective art of writing. But no one can write your story like you can. Not one single person in the universe. Your perspective and your stories are important, so keep going. Take that failure and rejection and let it make you better and stronger, and go write that story. Someone out there needs it.
If you want a quick guide to publishing, check out THIS POST. Or, for a few of my favorite resources on writing, keep reading!
Quick Resources On Writing
Search out your local writing community—join Facebook groups, attend conferences, find a writing group
Books on Writing Craft:
On Writing by Stephen King
Anatomy of Story by John Truby
The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass
The Emotion Thesaurus by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman
Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
An editor’s blog on improving writing skills:
Susan Dennard’s Newsletter (has GREAT tips on writing and publishing)
Revising Resource: Marissa Meyer’s Process
Ally Carter’s Blog on writing and publishing
Sofiya Pasternak: Great series on Character Schemas and other writing stuff (including Scrivener tutorials): https://www.sofiyapasternack.com/blog
Brandon Sanderson’s Creative Writing Lectures (the college course he teaches)
Brandon Sanderson’s Laws of Magic: https://www.brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-first-law/
Blog run by professional writers:
Writing with sensitivity in mind:
Looking for a sensitivity reader: https://www.saltandsagebooks.com/
Other Random Resources
Color palate generator:
Free and royalty-free images for aesthetics: