In the short time I have been a serious writer, I have learned a lot. I am still no expert in the craft of writing, but I love to learn, and I am a quick learner, so I have that going for me, which is nice. I have decided to share with you some of the aspects of writing that have been helpful to me, and maybe they will be helpful to you as well.
Make Time To Write
If you want time to write, you have to make it. Like, selfishly take a block of time out of your day, and tell yourself it is your time, and then use it. While I write a little bit every day, or story map, or do something related to my book, I have one day a week that I claim as my own. Tuesday. I love Tuesday. It is the day when I sit and write all morning long until I have to go pick the kids up from school, then resume again sometime after I have fed them dinner. On this day, I allow no interruptions, and I pretty much ignore the entire world and focus on my writing. If someone tries to weasel their way into my Tuesday, I throw a tantrum much like a three year old would, and then I become a terrifying beast.
I usually write in the morning while the kids are in school and my lovely husband is at work, making my life as easy, and allowing me to try and make my dream a reality. Sometimes, I have to put off the writing to clean, or stop writing earlier to run an errand. Sometimes I have to pick one of the kids up early because they are sick, or worse, they are home from school because they are sick. I have a life to live and a household to run, and I gladly sacrifice some of my writing time for the greater good. But Tuesdays are mine, and I let no one fuck with my Tuesdays.
Own Your Craft
This one was hard for me, because I had always thought of a writer as someone who had published something, whether it be a book, a magazine article, or the related. But those are published writers, or authors. A writer is someone who writes. Period. You can have a regular day job doing whatever it is you do, but if you come home and write, then you are also a writer.
You may never publish a piece a day in your life, but if you write regularly, you are a writer. Do not let anyone tell you differently. The haters are just jealous, and you don’t have time for that shit. Own the label.
Thicken Your Skin
If you can not take criticism, then you will never succeed as a writer. Someone is always going to hate your writing. Someone else is going to pick apart your writing and analyze it until there is nothing left. This happens to famous authors, and it is going to happen to you. Take the constructive and helpful criticism to heart because it will make you a better writer, and toss the rest in the ‘fuck you’ trash bin.
There are no perfect writers. If something is so mean that it makes you cry, then cry. Get it out of your system, and then move on from it. It doesn’t define you as a writer. When someone is mean enough to hate on your work without offering you sound advice on how to fix it, they are not a critic, they are an asshole. Make like a duck, and let that shit roll off your back. Trust me.
There Is No ‘Right’ Way
You can ask ten different writers about their daily writing routines, or how they edit their work, and you will get ten different routines and editing rituals. None of them are the correct way, and none of them are the wrong way. It is their way. You find what is right for you, and you do it your way. I’m still trying to find my way. When its not Tuesday, my writing routine is pretty chaotic. I squeeze in some writing when I can, even if it means bringing my laptop to the ice rink and writing while my boys are at hockey practice. With my editing, I sent my shitty first draft to my editor because it was my first time finishing a manuscript, and I needed a lot of guidance and advice, but in the future, I will self-edit my subsequent manuscripts and polish them up a bit before I send them to her. Some writers keep a notebook, or some writers have sticky notes all over the place. I put notes on my phone in Evernote, I scribble notes in a notebook, and I have never scribbled an idea on a sticky note. Find what works for you, and do what works for you.