Over the past couple of days I’ve been working on some edits and reformatting the electronic versions of my two completed novels. In doing so, I’ve noticed how much my writing has grown in the past few years.
I realize part of the growth process has happened due to growing older and maturing. After all, I started my first novel Finding Justus when I was twenty-two. Now, ten years later, I would like to think I’ve moved beyond novel writing novice, but I’m nowhere near where I want to be in my writing (are any of us there?).
This week I’ve called upon a piece of advice I received from one of my favorite college professors, who just happens to be mystery author Marty Ambrose. Back when she was my professor, I went to her for guidance on writing. When she learned I wanted to be a fiction writer she gave me several tips and some advice.
The most important thing she told me was that when you’re starting out as a novelist, you have to write a first book in order to learn how to write a book.
Throughout the years that one sentence has really stuck with me, but I have a new understanding of how true her words are, especially for authors going the self-publishing route. For us indie authors, a lot of what we do in the beginning is trial and error, or maybe that’s just been the case for me.
I can appreciate the growing pains I went through to get where I am today, I say appreciate mainly because, well, I’m just downright giddy that I’ll never have to go through the torment and self-doubt of writing a first book again.
That’s not to say I don’t have self-doubt, I still have days where I think “What am I doing? Who’s going to want to read this?” (don’t we all think that from time to time?)
As a novelist, I’m still a work-in-progress, I honestly don’t feel like I’ll ever be “done”, hence the reason for the parenthetic thus far tacked onto today’s article title. I’ll always approach fiction writing with a combination of “beginner’s mind” and the desire to tell a story.
You now know what my most important lesson learned is, I’d love to hear from you! What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever given or gotten? Leave me a comment or reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
8 thoughts on “The Most Important Writing Lesson I’ve Learned (Thus Far)”
Great post. The most important advice I’ve received is this:
Gaining proficiency in writing is no different than any other endeavor. It takes practice, perserverance, and above all, belief in yourself and what you’re doing.
It is helpful if one possesses the requisite skills to improve upon, because each individual is blessed with certain innate abilities. If you are fortunate enough to be able to discover what your natural ability happens to be, whether it’s writing or whatever, then it just makes the process of growing and fine-tuning your craft a bit easier.
Lastly, I believe that having a viable plan, coupled with hard work, is a big factor between achieving success or not.
Thanks for sharing!
Kevin, thanks for sharing. You are absolutely right on all points! Good luck in your endeavors 🙂
Wow… You have no idea how much you’ve helped. I’ve a book idea in my head for a few years now, and I never set out to write it because I never thought I was “mature” enough for it. But I guess no one is ever as mature as he/she wishes to be.
Thank you for what has just become my best piece of advice so far. I guess now I know I should actually start my first novel.
You’re welcome and let me thank you for giving me what has to be the best compliment I’ve received as a writer. I’m so happy you’ve decided to pursue your first novel.
I think the best thing about starting out as a young writer is being able to see yourself mature as you write and in turn, writing will make you more mature. It’s a wonderful cycle.
Best of luck to you!
Reblogged this on Lori L. Otto and commented:
I really enjoyed Amanda’s article… it’s very true, and the lesson her teacher taught her might be the best advice I’ve heard for people who want to be authors. Good blog entry!!
Thanks Lori! I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on this article, I’m glad I shared. 🙂
Write the book you want to read.
Emma, yes definite sound advice. If you as the author can’t get in to reading the book you wrote, odds are no one else will! 😉