1) Ditch the haters. We deal with enough fucking nay-sayers in our lives. They will slowly steal every shred of joy you have now or ever will experience if you let them*. So do not let them. Don’t tell them what you’re doing if you don’t want to. Do it for you, not for them. And work on getting rid of those people because, seriously, what a bunch of fucking downers.
2) Experiment. Don’t be afraid to try new things. This goes for the established writers, too, but when you’re just starting the possibilities are endless. So try stuff. Try genres, or post-genres, or genre mash ups. Write haiku. Write lists. Hell, if you’re feeling really weird, write blog posts. It’s all new, and it’s all fair game. Have at it. You never know what will strike just the right chord in your heart-meats.
3) Learn. Have a read through some writing books. Or find some blogs on the topic, not unlike this one. Take some of the advice, try some other things, ditch whatever doesn’t work for you. But do read about it, because one, you can learn a lot that way, and, two, reading about writing can inspire you.
4) Find A Posse. Do people still have posses? Is that still a thing? Or have we switched to another collective noun, like cluster or bushel or pantheon?**
Whatever it is, find your people. Not the haters from number one; I mean supportive people. They could be people you know in real life. You might even have friends who are writers. Or you could check out a local class or writer’s group if you have the means to get to those events. But even if you find yourself on the side of Suicide Mountain without means of descent, you can always look online. Or so I assume, since you’re reading this. Check out forums, websites, and online groups, and find your siblings-in-arms.
5) Be Okay With The Suckage. When you first get started, you’re going to suck. And that’s okay. In fact, that’s necessary. It’s how you learn.
I have manuscripts that are so cringe-inducing I can barely look at them, but I keep them around because I like to remember how far I’ve come. And because sometimes, even in that pile of shit, you’ll find a diamond. Sometimes the proto-writer has good ideas, and those are worth hanging on to. But the skill and the craft, that takes time. So learn to be okay with sucking at it for a while, and you’ll have a lot more fun. Which bring us to…
6) Enjoy It. You’re embarking on a creative endeavour, and no one should do that without joy in their heart. Sometimes it gets buried under frustration and the endless slog of zero drafts or editing, but it should always be there. So when you’re looking down the long exciting precipice of a new thing, don’t forget to enjoy it.
*Theories differ about why. My personal favourite is that they’re actually aliens from a planet that is running dangerously low on fun and joie-de-vivre, so they become parasites in order to survive. Weird? Maybe. But I find it more fun than the alternatives.
**The plural of me, like tigers, is an ambush.