I'd like to address the budding authors who read this blog, those of you who have yet to publish your own work or even complete a writing project. This is the time when you must work the hardest to establish yourself and prove to the world that you're a writer worthy of notice, that you can and will be the writer you've always dreamed of. You have the potential inside you, we all do. It's just a matter of realizing that potential yourself.
But this is also the time where you'll encounter the most resistant, from sources within and without. I know from personal experience how hard it is to own up to your dream and make writing a priority. After all, we're not exactly engineers—it's not as if we’re destined to make a fortune by our trade. There will be obstacles and setbacks on your path to achieving your dream, but I implore you to hang in there.
Allow me to offer a few specific tidbits of advice.
Don’t be afraid to write your passions
One of the biggest deterrents on a new writer's path to success is their hesitance to write what moves them. Many writers focus instead on what they "should" be writing about; they worry about what genres have the best chances of earning them acclaim and fame rather than writing about their passions. This is the impulse that drives an ambitious writer to try to recreate the successes of blockbuster sagas like Harry Potter and Twilight, even though they might not even like that kind of fiction. My advice is to start out writing what you know and what you love.
Spend as much time editing as you do writing
Far too few author/bloggers address the necessity of editing. When authors offer their writing tips to beginning writers, they usually stick to points regarding conventional style and grammar, or they write a few paragraphs on proper story development. None of the compositional elements of a writer's work will make any sense if they don't take the time to go back and edit that work with a critical eye. Editing is the other half of the writing process. You'll have a hard time marketing your work if you can't learn to pare down and shape your writing so that it makes sense to your readers.
Connect with yourself and your spirituality
I believe its absolutely imperative that writers develop a good relationship with themselves and with God if they want to find success in their work. Developing that relationship involves regarding yourself and your work positively, and to refrain from being too hard on yourself. Many beginning authors think they can write an entire novel in a single sitting, and then when they don't meet that expectation they beat themselves up for not living up to unrealistic standards. Respect yourself and trust in God that you'll find the right path to writing, and everything will work out.
This point might seem like it comes out of left field, but hear me out. I've written as a freelancer for many years now, and I can safely say that the experience has made me a better writer. With freelancer I learned to adapt my writing style to fit a variety of projects; I learned to assert myself and feel confident about my skills when I consult with clients; and I learned how to crank out high quality work under pressure. It's my hope that most aspiring writers attempt freelancing at one point in their lives so that they too can realize its benefits.
Nancy Wood is a writer and freelance blogger for onlinecollegeclasses.com. Nancy writes about higher education policy, online learning, writing, and spirituality in her numerous posts and columns. Feel free to send some comments her way!