Today, NaNoWriMo asked for help in inspiring the writers of tomorrow (and yay for NaNo 2014 and beyond!), so here I am to give some advice and inspiration! Wherever you are in the time-stream, I hope that this post makes you smile, and makes you want to write!
So, here we go!
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To A Future Writer: The Importance Of Being You
Hello, dear, future writer – this post is for you, and for me, and for everyone who is already writing; this post is for all of the creative people who will be, who are, and who strive to be. Here I will attempt to impart the most important of the wisdom that I have gleaned from years of writing and publishing, from years of trying to figure out the best method for being me--
Yes, that’s what this post is about, and that’s where I’ll start, directly at the heart. What’s the most important thing to learn, to remember, about writing?
These two all-too-often forgotten words: be yourself.
You can study every writing book, every grammar book, dissect every bestseller to try and find what made it a hit – you can take every bit of advice to heart, stroll down every publishing avenue, attempt every “golden rule”...but when it comes right down to it, the only thing that makes you valuable as writer is being yourself.
Anyone can be someone else – but no one can be you. No one writes quite like you, no one plots quite like you, no one has your exact same interests or ideas; you are unique, and so can your writing be.
Never lose sight of the fact that the most important tool you have in writing is yourself, and being yourself. Writing is a journey, and we each get better as we go along, so revel in all aspects of your – yes, your – creative journey: from copying the greats, to creating your first full-length novel; from writing the worst piece of fiction in the history of the world, to writing the best things you will ever pen; from finishing that first story, to finishing your last.
Everything you do is part of you; so don’t allow self-doubt, and that badly popular thinking often described as “everything I do sucks”, to enter in through your door. Not every painting is a masterpiece, and neither is every story, but these “failures” are each a step in your journey, and you should be proud of them – many books on the bestsellers list are forgotten with time, so don’t worry about being “as good as them”; be your best, your personal best, and then keep growing to become even better, to get one step closer to the best you can be.
I used to have binders and binders full of notebook paper, which I scribbled stories upon in my youngest days, when I was a fresh writer, when I was wasn’t as “good” as I am now. They were flawed, and far from perfect, but they were also part of me and my journey, and that made them beautiful – I realize that now. I came to a point in my journey where I thought that they were trash – drafts I would not be keeping, stories I didn’t want to see the light of day – and so I treated them as such, and threw them away, and now I regret it. This taught me the lesson: everything is important, and those “mistakes”, those pages that weren’t “good enough”, those hours of work and thought and words made you into the writer you are today--
So, dear scribe, take a moment now to imagine the writer you will become, just by penning another few words, by taking another step forward in your journey. The journey truly is better than the destination, so enjoy it, and keep the bits that made you into you close by, to remind you that every journey is beautiful when the path becomes rocky.
Be true to yourself, writer. Don’t try to be anybody else, to write the story that you think others would want to read – write the story that you want to read, the story that wants to be told, the story that keeps you up in the middle of the night, the story that still lives when you turn out the lights. Don’t write for readers, or publishers, or the market, or your friends – write for you, and be true to your vision.
Be the best you that you can be, the best writer that you can be, and improve. Hone your skills, try new things, take note of grammar, learn what you need to learn, but don’t lose sight of the spark inside that is yours, and yours alone, your own, personal light.
Don’t be afraid to take chances, to write those words that might not make sense right now, but that may change everything later on. Don’t be afraid to run with the idea that others might deem unworthy of words, to at least give it a try. Don’t be afraid to set stories aside, and start anew – and on the opposite end, don’t be afraid to finish, for a new story is always ready to begin, and even if its not, you were true to the part of you that wanted to write. Don’t be afraid to try new methods, to find out what works for you, to take up your pen (or laptop) if the place you’re at isn’t working for you, and move on.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Dearest writer – do not be afraid.