GUEST POST BY N.W. HARRIS:
What would I tell a new author?
What to tell a new author, hmmm… There is so much to tell, though every writer’s journey is different. First off, I’d tell them to write for themselves. If one writes just to get published and make money, I think they’ll go mad and/or quit before they ever get close. Why? It takes years to polish one’s craft enough to be published by a creditable publisher. I think writing has to be looked at as a hobby that could become a career. A writer has to want to write because there is something that is inside them that needs to get out. Write for a creative outlet. Write like it doesn’t matter if anyone besides you ever reads it. Write almost everyday, but it is important to take days off too.
Much of the education for the profession comes from practical experience. Sure, a writer draws from their experiences and traditional education. My educational background is mostly based in science, biology and anthropology, and it provides a volume of information to draw upon. But, I had to learn the craft of writing by trial and error. Every writer has to find his or her voice. That can take years, and it can only be discovered by hard work.
I’d tell them to persist. It’s my favorite word. You have to write a novel. Destroy it. Rewrite it. Invest countless hours and sometimes even years. Then you have to be willing to let all that work go because it was just the classroom where you polished your craft. You have to swallow rejection after rejection and keep fighting. When you get criticism, you have to listen to it. I’m not saying a budding writer should try to oblige every critic, but growth is critical and growth comes from taking in criticism. Deal with any pain it might cause quickly, and then get into the game again by applying what you’ve learned.