I wrote a blog post entitled Starting from Ground Negative One. It addresses the very earliest steps a person needs to know to get started writing, when you are so ignorant of the writing and publishing process that you feel you are behind Ground Zero. I’m writing this as a follow-up. Your new motto: Write First, Worry Later!
Write First, Worry Later About Publishing
New writers worry about publishing before anything written is good enough to publish. This is a mistake. I’m not saying you shouldn’t learn about publishing. You absolutely should. ConTinual, an ongoing, never-ending online convention, has a ton of panels to follow that discuss writing, editing, and publishing. I recommend you follow the FB page.
But, and this is a BIG BUT (I like big buts and I cannot lie–sorry, not sorry) focus first on building a writing habit and putting words on page.
As trite as this sounds, writer’s write. They sit, pen in hand, or keyboard at the ready, and create words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into chapters or stories. Until you do this, and do it regularly, publishing is far off.
Writing is Work
Writing is work. Sometimes the words come. Sometimes they don’t. That’s the name of the game. But, it gets easier the more you do it. It takes time to get better at the craft, and it helps if you’re a little older and had more time to gain life experiences. Most people feel like they’re behind the game if they start writing at forty, but this isn’t true.
In fact, did you know that the average age of first publication for a writer is 36? And, according to this research, the average age for a best seller was 48.8. Writing takes time and perseverance.
5 Tips to Make It Easier
- Don’t put pressure on yourself to write the same amount of words every day. Sometimes you get 200. Sometimes you get 2,000. It varies and that’s okay.
- Find a critique group that supports you. This may take a while and if you can’t find one, gather a few friends and create one.
- Track your progress and maybe meet new writing buddies. Check out NaNoWriMo if you haven’t. Traditionally, NaNoWriMo (National Writing Month) is in November, but there is also a Camp NaNoWriMo in July. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. Sounds impossible? Give it a try. You never know. (Also, bonus tip: If you finish Camp NaNoWriMo in July, you get 50% off of Scrivener, a writing tool many people swear by. It’s a good deal. They also have other discount offers you should definitely check out.)
- Try online write-ins. This is where you and some writer friends sit in an online meeting space (Zoom, Jitsi, Google Meets, whatever) and each work on your own writing. Someone is the host and runs the meeting. Everyone says what they are working on, then everyone goes on mute and writes for 30 minutes or other agreed upon time. There’s a mid-write check-in, and then you do it again for another 30 minutes. It sounds boring, but it is effective at getting you to devote an hour to your work.
So, there you have it. My five tips to making a writing habit. Write first, worry later about publishing.