I started seriously writing fiction over a year ago & in that time, I’ve learned a hell of a lot about the writing process. Here are just a few of them.
I’m no expert in writing. I don’t think anyone can ever be an expert no matter how many years they’ve been at it. You learn and grow the more you write and I have definitely grown a lot as a writer over the past year +.
Nobody ever explains to you all the things you’ll go through when you first start writing – and writing seriously.
Sure, I wrote some stories here and there over the past 4 years and in school but that’s nothing in comparison to getting serious about writing fiction.
That being said, I’m really, really happy to have gone through what I did as a writer. I’ve learned a hell of a lot more than I ever thought I would in a very short amount of time.
And I still have much more to learn.
I think the things I’ve learned are pretty universal. I’ve seen and heard many other newbie writers going through the same things.
If you’re just starting out or even if you’ve been doing this for a while, I think you can relate. Here’s what I’ve learned on my writing journey thus far:
1. Writing is not always fun
Sometimes it can actually really fucking suck. You’re tired. You’re bored. You don’t want to research how long it would take someone to bleed out by a stab to the gut. You don’t want to sit through this mundane scene even though it’s super pivotal to the plot.
Sometimes, you’d rather be doing a million other things.
Even if you love writing and it’s your passion, you’ll have days where you have to sit down and force yourself to type the words.
It might not be that fun every single day, but overall, it’s fucking great.
2. It’ll take some time to figure out what you really want to write
I’ll be honest here, I didn’t really expect to end up writing what I am now. At first, I was convinced I was going to write YA because that was just what I always imagined.
But then I got to writing a YA book and a third of the way in and 40,000 words later, I just couldn’t do it. My plot didn’t feel right for the characters to be so young. The themes and ideas just evolved to something a lot different as I started writing.
And so now I’m working on an adult fantasy adventure novel and, I have to be honest, this feels so fucking right.
It’s okay to realize that you want to write something other than what you are. It’ll take time for you to figure out the type of stories you’ll want to tell.
3. Your voice will just come naturally – don’t force it
Much like a fart, you really can’t force your writer voice to come out. If you try, you might end up with a pile of shit…
Seriously though, you can’t try to write with voice. It’s something that comes out the more you write. We each have our own distinctive style and voice within our writing and after a while, you’ll randomly realize that it’s been coming across without you even trying.
Because voice can’t be made. It’s something you already have. You just have to let it out naturally.
4. Outlining and planning helps immensely
Oh, sweet mother of all things good in the world, I don’t know why I ever tried writing a book without an outline. I should’ve known. I’m a planner, after all.
I just didn’t know how helpful taking the time to plan and outline would be until I actually did it.
It helped me craft a much stronger story, imbed foreshadowing seamlessly into other parts of the story, and it helped me better track the target reader emotions so much easier.
Overall, I just discovered the magical powers of an outline.
5. Feedback is the fastest way you’ll learn
I haven’t had a ton of feedback on my writing and that’s mostly because I only wrote a third of a book. Only a few people saw it but they dished out some incredibly helpful feedback.
I never knew some of the strengths I had until they were pointed out. I didn’t notice some of the flaws I had until they were pointed out.
Feedback is ridiculously important and helpful when it comes to learning and growing as a writer.
Now I know exactly what I need to work on and also what things I’m already really good at. I can focus my attention on the problem areas while allowing the great areas to continue to grow.
Fuck yes for getting feedback.
6. The passion for your story will dwindle
There’s really nothing quite like the rush of a brand new idea. You get so excited for these new characters and this new world and the incredible plot and you think that passion will never go away. But then you spend months world-building, plotting, and outlining and that passion has reduced quite a bit.
It’s still there, it’s just not nearly as strong.
At first, I made the mistake of thinking this meant I didn’t like my story anymore, which is NOT the case.
It’s just normal to get used to your new idea.
It’s like when you were little and got a new toy. You were so excited and slept with it and wanted to play with it all day long…for like a week. Then it ended up in the toy bin with the rest of your toys only to be played with when you remembered it…or if your sibling had it and you were super possessive, but that’s beside the point.
Your passion for a great idea won’t go away, it’ll just die down because you’re used to the elements of your story.
7. You’ll have to fight to NOT compare your writing
And you’ll have to fight this urge all the time. At least I do. It’s really hard to read something and not be like, “wow this is amazing in comparison to mine; I suck.”
It’s just a natural thing we do as humans. We can’t always help it. But you have to fight that urge because it’ll always just make you feel like shit.
And you’re better than shit.
After a while, you just have to force yourself to stop. Luckily, it gets a little easier the more you resist the urge to compare.
8. Growing your platform takes a lot of time
Your writer platform will not explode overnight. That’s just not how it works. You have to post consistently. You have to put up valuable content. You have to make an effort to build your platform every single day.
And that’s what I’ve learned to do. I’ve made it a habit to work on my platform in some way every single day, just like I do my book.
But it still takes a lot of time. And that’s okay.
9. It’s really easy to not write
It’s so much easier to lie on the couch and binge watch Netflix than it is to open my laptop and write words that bring life to my story. It’s SO much easier to do basically anything but write.
This is something I had to learn the hard way. It took me months to get 40,000 words written for my previous book and it shouldn’t have. Sometimes a few weeks would go by without me writing a single word.
Because it’s easy to not write.
Which is why writing needs to be made into a habit.
If you make a habit out of writing and working on your book, it becomes easier. It’ll feel weird if you’re not doing anything for your book or platform.
10. Writing a book is super fucking hard
It just is. Anyone who says otherwise is just wrong.
It takes hard work and discipline to write a book and continue writing that book. You have to force yourself to work on it some days when you’d rather do something else.
It’s hard. Okay? It’s really hard. Fuck. It’s so hard.
But I love it.
When you first get serious about writing fiction, you’ll be in for a world of learning. I don’t doubt that I’ll only continue to learn more and more the further I delve into the writing world.