Can you share some advice with aspiring writers?
Do you want the short version or the long version? The short version is be patient and write more books. This is probably the most annoying advice in the universe.
The long version is that I could talk about writing advice all day. I could go on and on about all the big and small things I've learned along the way, and which ones I think helped me, and which ones I had staring me in the face the whole time but just couldn't quite grasp. But that would be way too long. So here's the long-ish version, in no particular order:
Finish your books. I'm definitely not a “finish everything you start” kind of person, because I think that's way too stressful. But on the flip side, almost writing a whole book isn't the same as actually doing it. You need to practice writing beginnings, middles, and ends. You don't have to practice them in that order, but you do need to practice making whole stories with beginnings, middles, and ends that fit together to make something bigger and better than the sum of its parts.
Don't be too hard on yourself. I have been way too hard on myself both before and after getting published, so trust me on this one. You need a certain amount of drive to write novels and to try to get them published. But don't beat yourself up if something doesn't work out. Easier said than done, but in the long run it will only stress you out and make the journey that much harder. It's like if you had a horse that stumbled a little, so you thought you'd break its leg. You're not going to get anywhere that way. And when you look back on it—whether it was one of your favorite projects that nobody but you could stomach, or a dream agent who said no after reading a full, or just a general “why can't I write more than 500 words a day!?!” angst—it won't seem nearly so important as it did at the time. Mourn a little bit, then find a way to move on.
Write what you want to write. This advice is a two-parter. Part one, don't follow trends, because trends change. Only write about them if they're what you want to be working on. Plus maybe you're not good at writing about vampires, and your trend-following book will only be half as good as the best-selling robots at the beach novel you could have written instead, the one that you really loved.
And part two of this advice is don't put off writing the book you're in love with. Don't save it for later or when you're “good enough.” You'll only build that book up in your mind until you're never going to be good enough. Plus your tastes will change, both as you get older and as your storytelling skills improve, and the types of stories I wrote when I was, well, for lack of a better phrase, “not that great” at writing are very different from the types of stories I want to work on now. Plus writing the book you want to write will make you a better writer than putting it off to slog through something that “doesn't matter.” If it “doesn't matter,” why are you writing it?
So there you go. Words to write by. And if all else fails, be patient and write more books.
Thanks so much for that awesome guest post Chelsea! So, now that you've read my review of Chelsea's awesome book, The Rise of Renegade X, and this nifty guest post, you're dying to read about Damien and his adventures, right? Yeah, I thought so. Well, it just so happens that I've got one copy of The Rise Of Renegade X to give away! Trust me guys, you want this book. Due to my extreme lack of funds, this contest is, sadly, only open to residents of the US. Open until September 27th, midnight. Fill out THIS FORM FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN. (Comments are very, very appreciated but won't count as entries.)