Since I have decided to begin writing fiction, I have been aware that I know even less about it than I thought. I have been reading and researching and still no clear picture has come to me as to how to begin or how to proceed. Although much of the advice out there is probably very good and useful, some of it seems complicated or even vague.
As a new writer, and when it comes to fiction I am, you have many doubts about your ideas, your skills and your journey. How to start out and how to arrive where you want to be? That is the question.
So instead of trying to figure this out on my own, I am consulting the real writers. You know- the ones who have made it. The professionals, who are earning money by plying their trade. Those who have mastered many of the skills, though we know it will take a lifetime to be proficient at all we do when it comes to writing. Beginners are not expecting to be experts or sell everything they write, but they are looking for direction, so the experts will advise us.
The first person I wish to introduce to you is a beautiful person and an imaginative writer. Her name is Ksenia Anske. She appears to have fun and she is open and giving to all she comes in contact with-and those are just her non writing skills. She is an encouragement to others who would live this life of writer. She works faithfully and that is one of her secrets, but I will let her tell you in her own words.
Advice to beginning writers
I can really summarize this in two very simple things you have to do, if you are just starting out.
WRITE EVERY DAY.
READ EVERY DAY.
That is all there is to it. Writing is like exercising a muscle. If you don’t do it every day, you don’t get better. If you don’t feed your brain by reading what others write, you’re not growing. Yes, you can write without reading other fiction at all, and I often hear moaning from beginning writers who are terrified to read anything because it might influence their own style in some way. This is bullshit. Number one, all reading influences you in some way. Hell, sniffing flowers influences you in some way. Everything you do influences you. What you take from it is what determines who you will be as an artist. What you notice is what’s important, what you learn. Without reading you won’t grow, or you will grow, but very, very slow, and you won’t expand your understanding of writing if you won’t study how others do it. You will see the rules being broken, the stories singing to you, or you will be disgusted and will throw books at the walls or at your fridge because you hate them that much. All of it is fantastic. Read everything. Think of it as an input into your brain, and writing as output. You’ve got to feed your creative beast, otherwise what will you create? Same stuff, over and over again.
Another thing, too. Reading will teach you to trust yourself. This is the biggest hurdle all beginning writers have to overcome, the fear of writing however they want to write. It’s tempting to do what others do, tried and true techniques. Pick a genre that’s hot, or a writing style that’s hot, or whatever. In order to grow, however, you have to write a lot of bad stuff to start seeing what exactly it is you’re good at. If you copy someone else, something else, you will end up copying their mistakes. You have to make your own. This is why reading is so important. You will see what other writers did. Better yet, pick one writer and read an early book and a more recent book and see how that writer grew and changed. You can do the same. Here comes another piece of advice.
There will be times when you will be tempted to just give up, thinking that no matter how hard you try, you will never get better. Let me refer you to this Ira Glass quote. Print it out and put it up over your laptop or the place where you write, and every time you doubt yourself, read it:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
This is it! Do these three things, and it will happen.
1. Write every day.
2. Read every day.
3. Never quit.
You can read more about this author and her professional life at
Find her on Amazon-
Friend her on Facebook-
Join her on Twitter
Please support Ksenia buy checking out her blog, buying her numerous books and listening to someone who has already found many of the answers.