What do you wish you knew when you started writing?

Q&A With Shay Each Sunday

Q: What do you wish you knew when you started writing?

A: Obviously there are a lot of standard writing rules that I learned along the way. I’ve become a much better writer in the last few years and there’s still always room for improvement because you can’t see your writing as clearly as other people can, or maybe you see it too clearly at times (the message anyway).

However, when I first thought about writing as a career, I thought if I put in the hard work and improved my craft, that it would be enough. I was so wrong. I wished I knew just how hard it was to go about publication. I knew there would be rejection, but I didn’t know the amount. I didn’t know how hopeless it could feel and that I would lose interest in my writing because of this. I’ve barely written much for the last year, working only on my editing projects basically. Now, I am back to being motivated and I am annoyed that these outside factors have the ability to influence my desire to write! I’ve heard about so many writers who have no problem staying motivated or doing the actual writing, and if that’s true, I commend them. Writing is hard work like anything else, and if you are already extremely anxious or have “unrelenting standards” (Mom knows what I mean), then you might unconsciously think that doing nothing is the cure to failure. I didn’t notice that may have been what I was doing, and maybe it wasn’t, but I do know that factors other than simply writing had an effect on me.

I used to write because I needed to, but for the last year or two I was so crippled by the outcome that I lost that. Now I recognize for myself that it isn’t about the agents and publishers and social media following. As great as that would all be, I have to work extra hard to hang onto my desire to write for me. That’s what I wish I knew when I first started out. No matter the outcome, the readers, the reviews, and feedback—writing is my passion and I know to never forget that now!

Also, you know, on a smaller scale I wish I knew things like avoiding cliches and adverbs and minimizing the use of the words “very” and “just” but that’s JUST part of improving as a writer. It does make me cringe when I discover some of my old writings though. But, at least I was writing, right?!

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Shay SiegelComment