Life is full of experiences and experiences are full of lessons- some we search for and others just fall into our laps. Writing a book is a priceless, grueling, and rewarding experience that not many of us get the privilege to indulge in. It takes a certain type of person to become an author- self-motivated, disciplined, and critical. Not only is writing a book a great item to add to your list of accomplishments, but the experience itself also comes with a whole host of lessons we learn throughout the process. I came across an article on The Huffington Post’s blog by Maria Ross that perfectly captured some of these greatest lessons. Not only do we become better writers, when writing a book, we become better people as well. Writing affects us in more ways than one, both in our writing world and in the real one.
- Have Discipline
~Writing Life: Create a schedule for your writing, don’t expect to just be able to “fit it in” when you have the time. Treat writing as a job and make time for it. Most importantly, keep that commitment to yourself. There’s very little that we actually accomplish without holding ourselves accountable.
~Real Life: When you make a commitment, honor it. Do what it takes to get it done. Turn thoughts and intentions into reality by creating goals and following through with them.
- Open Up To Family and Friends
~Writing Life: Let your family and friends know that your time will be limited while you are writing. Don’t just let yourself disappear without reason or fall into the pressure of committing to too many plans while writing. You don’t need to give up your life, but you also need to know when you need to skip your lunch date and write. Let your friends and family know about your writing goals so they can support you and hold you accountable as well.
~Real Life: Let the people close to you into your life. Share your goals, dreams, and aspirations. The more support you receive, the more likely you will get to where you want to go. You will probably be much happier too.
- Invite Feedback
~Writing Life: Find people to review your ideas and writing for honest (yes, honest) feedback. Just because something sounds amazing or makes sense to you, doesn’t mean that everyone else will feel the same way. Be smart with who you seek feedback from though. Seek help from critics, editors, writers, readers, or friends with the same interests as you (or as your target audience) or with the appropriate knowledge of the genre/audience you are trying to reach.
~Real Life: Always ask for help and seek advice from those who have been there before. Even if you think you know what you are doing, you probably don’t. No one knows everything. You never know which small piece of advice could change your life forever.
- Be Your Own Audience
~Writing Life: When you are writing, pretend you are your targeted reader. What would you want to see happen, what questions would you have, what thoughts would cross your mind, what would interest you? Incorporate the answers to these questions into your writing.
~Real Life: Always put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It is much easier for you to be critical of yourself when you are looking at what you do through different lenses.
- Prepare For Criticism
~Writing Life: News flash- not everyone is going to like/enjoy your writing. Even people you thought would love it, might not. Guess what? That’s perfectly alright and perfectly normal. Not everyone likes the same clothing, same shoes, same decorating style, or same hobbies. Diversity keeps things flowing. At the end of the day, write what you feel and you can’t go wrong.
~Real Life: Not everyone is going to be on your side, not everyone is going to agree with you. People have their own goals/beliefs and we need to respect that. We can’t expect everyone to support everything we do or believe in everything we say. Respect it, embrace it- don’t hate it.
- Self-Doubt Will Happen
~Writing Life: There will be many times in the writing process where you will question what you are doing, what you are writing, your credibility, and your future success. Are you wasting your time? Are you writing about the right topic/genre? Do you have the credibility to say what you are writing? These questions are good. They mean you care. Those nervous butterflies prove you are doing the right thing.
~Real Life: Always seek improvement and never get “comfortable.” The moment you stop questioning yourself, pushing and challenging yourself, is the moment your dreams remain dreams and nothing else.
- Trust Your Story
~Writing Life: Write with your heart, write what you feel, and believe in it. It doesn’t matter how many other times it has been done. If you feel it, if you believe it, then it’s worth writing about. Everyone has their own take on the same topic or scenario- make yours heard and don’t look back.
~Real Life: Trust your gut and believe in yourself. If you feel like something is right, like you are meant do something, if you can’t stop thinking about something then do something about it. Take others people’s advice and hopes for yourself only so far. Live for you- with no regrets.
Like many other things in life, writing is a priceless experience. It allows you to grow, to discover, to reflect. You can learn extraordinary things when you least expect it. Life, and writing, is a beautiful thing. Write on.