Writing your first book? Prepare to make mistakes! It’s going to happen lots of times and the important thing to remember is to not get discouraged. You will be told there’s too many books and not enough readers, that it’s too difficult an industry to get into and other excuses why you shouldn’t get started or keep at it. Avoid negativity, understand that this is a process and there will be ups and downs, times you have to focus and times you need to walk away and take your mind off of it. Here are some things you need to avoid when you get started:
- Don’t be anti-social: Interacting with people is great for two reasons. One, it allows you to build a following of fans who will read and share your work. Two, it will help you understand what your audience is in to, what they are looking for and give you the insight you need to write something they love.
- Be inspired, not influenced: You will find great ideas everywhere, listening to people’s stories, sitting in the park and watching them interact, going to the gym or even at a restaurant. However, moments should inspire you, not force you to make drastic changes to your work because you want people to like it more.
- Focus on more than one book: One thing I learned early on is that if you want to be a successful writer, you need to write a series. When reading a book, people get attached to characters. They want to connect with that character even more and follow them around from story to story. If you have an idea for a great book then do it. But if you have an idea for a series, go for it as well.
- Don’t ignore the characters: Just as the reader will connect with the character, you need to as well. You need to understand how they would feel and think with each situation, what they would do or say if they were in the same situation that you are.
- Don’t be afraid to go back: If something is bothering you from the beginning or early part of your story then don’t hesitate to go back and change it. Time and time again you will find that where you are would be so much better if you tweaked where you came from.
I wish you all the best on your journey. There is nothing like the moment when you hit “save” on your final draft and know that it’s completed. A lot will happen after that moment but it’s one of the most thrilling and proud moments of a writer’s life.