Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

17 Writing Lessons to Remember

Post by Positive Writer contributor The Magic Violinist

With all the information we have at our fingertips, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start and what to do and how to remember it all when it comes to writing. You might read eight different articles in a morning, all with various advice, and struggle to keep it at the forefront of your mind as you go about your day.

Because of this, I’ve compiled a list of 17 writing lessons you can access in one spot. These are all tips that have resonated with me recently, and hopefully, they make a difference with your writing, too.

  1. Write for you.

This was the first thing I wrote about for “Positive Writer.” Don’t try to please everybody else. You’ll just make yourself crazy. Write what you love and write for you.

  1. Write every day.

On days with more free time, write pages and pages. On busier days, a few paragraphs. On the extraordinarily busy days, a sentence. That’s all it takes. Just a few taps of a keyboard or scribbles of a pencil every day to stay in the habit.

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Your personal goals are different from the goals of others. Your capabilities, circumstances, habits, all of those things will be different. If you’re over the moon because you finally filled a page but somebody else wrote fifty in that same amount of time, don’t let that get you down. If your accomplishment makes you happy, you did something great.

  1. Try writing in different genres.

You never know what’ll spark your interest. Maybe poetry was never something you thought to try. Write a few stanzas. Who knows? You might have an affinity for it.

  1. If you’re going to procrastinate, use that time wisely.

We all procrastinate. Don’t try to deny it. Some of us may do it more than others (I certainly procrastinate more than I should), but it happens to all of us. When you do procrastinate, though, do something else that’s productive. That means closing Facebook and Twitter and picking up a book or taking the dog for a walk.

  1. Reach out to writers and authors online and in your community.

Find a critique group at a local library or coffee shop. Say hi to that blogger you admire. Writing can be a solitary or even lonely activity, but it definitely doesn’t need to be. The writing community is alive and thriving. Make yourself a part of it.

  1. A critique of your writing is not a critique of you.

Once in a while, a critique of your work can sting a little. Or a lot. Especially if it paints something you thought was amazing in a negative light. The important thing to remember is that just because someone didn’t like something you created doesn’t mean they don’t like you. It also doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong. And it certainly doesn’t mean everything you write will be horrible and you should give up now. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on.

  1. It’s okay to be in a writing slump.

You can’t always write the next bestseller. Sometimes for weeks at a time, everything I put on paper is garbage. I might hate my current work in progress. Nothing I do keeps my interest. All of that is perfectly fine. Just put something on paper. Hate every minute of it, if you must. The only way to get out of the slump is to claw your way out, word by word.

  1. Read, read, read.

Read widely and read often. Read good work and terrible work. Read classics and poetry, but also read children’s books and whatever’s popular. Read something short and something long. Read articles and fan-fiction. Re-read your favorite book. Read something in your genre. Read, read, read, and learn from it.

  1. Your writing will not be loved by everyone.

Don’t send yourself into a never-ending spiral of negativity by trying to please everyone. You won’t. Some people will hate what you write. That’s okay. Don’t some people hate your favorite book? Of course they do, but their dislike of the book doesn’t diminish your love for it. Your writing will be loved by those who need to read it most.

  1. Good work takes time, energy, and multiple drafts.

My best writing has come out of the projects that have been hardest for me to finish. It could take years of effort to complete something work sending out into the world. It won’t always be enjoyable trying to polish something up, but it’s always satisfying to make progress. It’s worth it in the end.

  1. There’s nothing like a little music to get the creative juices flowing.

It doesn’t matter what kind of music so long as it inspires you. The lyrics tell a story. The composition tells a story. Sometimes those stories are the hidden, not-so-obvious ones. Tell those stories.

  1. The best ideas come to you when you’re supposed to be doing something else.

Don’t necessarily take this advice, but reassurance. If you feel like your work is stale and repetitive, don’t worry. A new and interesting idea will come to you eventually. It just might happen while you’re doing the dishes or homework. Make sure you always have pen and paper nearby for those situations.

  1. You will make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them.

I won’t even try to list possible mistakes because there are so many, but you’ll make at least of one those. It won’t be fun, and it might take a while to stop obsessing over it, but you’ll move on and learn how to avoid making that mistake again.

  1. Be on the lookout for opportunities and go after them, even if you think you don’t have a shot.

I got my first regular writing position at twelve. When I applied for the job, I didn’t believe my age would be an issue, because no one had ever told me it could be. Now, I was lucky to have supportive parents who never tried to discourage me, even if they might have thought I was a little young to do what I was trying to do.

If you do have those doubts, whether they stem from yourself or others, try your best to block them out. Apply for internships and enter writing contests. Sometimes your greatest achievements come from those you thought were least likely to happen.

  1. Have other creative outlets besides writing.

It’s important to stay creative and keep thinking like an artist, even if writing is going so well for you in the moment. Have something else you can turn to during those times. Sing, dance, act, draw, knit, sculpt, sew, paint, cook. What interests you?

  1. Your writing is better than you think it is.

We are our own worst critics. Our writing might bore us sometimes because we’ve been working on it for such a long time. The plot twists seem predictable because we came up with them. Our characters aren’t interesting because we have to spend time with them day after day after day. As scary as it can be, sometimes showing your writing to a trusted friend is the best thing you can do for yourself.

You have people in your corner cheering you on, and those people love nothing more than to read what you’ve written and shout from the rooftops about how talented you are. Your work is not as bad as it seems. Take a step back and really look. You created that, and there are so many great things about it.

What writing lesson sticks with you? Leave a comment!

About The Magic Violinist

I am a home schooled teenager who daydreams, writes, reads, and does nerdy stuff in my free time. I have two awesome parents, a wonderful little brother, and an adorable, crazy dog named Scout. I blog at The Magic Violinist. I'm also a contributor to The Audacity to be a Writer. I'd say that I want to be an author when I grow up, but I don't think I can wait that long.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins

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  • Mary Flaherty

    I’m amazed at the wisdom you have at such a young age, and I’d like to be like you when I grow up. “The only way to get out of the slump is to claw your way out, word by word.” So good. I’m forwarding this to a friend, printing it out and posting it on Facebook. Great advice.

    • Aww, thank you. 🙂 And thank you for sharing! Hopefully I could be a help to you.

  • Sharon

    You are amazing. Thank you so much for the 17 facts. Keep writing, Never let anyone or anything derail you.

  • N K

    Wow such wisdom at such a young age 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Best wishes <3

  • ThePastryPoet

    This was amazing, and I feel like I have written this myself, because it is just way too relatable. Being a high schooler and passionate writer and bookworm myself, I really understand everything you’re saying, ESPECIALLY the part about being your own worst critique. Thank you for this! I am actually going to print this and put it up on my wall of motivation. Who knows, I might fulfil my dream of being an author one day, all thanks to you!
    ThePastryPoet

    • Thank you! It’s always nice to meet fellow young writers. It can a while to stop being so critical of your own work. I hope these tips continue to help you. 🙂 Good luck!

  • Great post! I work with many first-time book authors. So many times they are all wrapped up in the technical aspects of writing and trying to edit their thoughts before they write them down. Your list of lessons contains many of the truths I share with my clients to keep them writing in order to successfully complete their book project.

    The one that comes up the most often in my work is #11. It is indeed rare to write one single draft and the book is ready to publish! It’s at that point when the first draft is finished that the next level of writing begins!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and expertise. Very helpful information!

    • Thanks so much! Lots of writers (myself included) have a hard time staying patient enough to edit and revise work that we’ve written until it’s as good as it can get. But it’s always worth it in the end.

  • S.Ramalingam

    Good post because the points are realistic.

    • Thank you! 🙂 I hoped lots of these tips would be easy to follow, no matter what kind of situation someone was in.

  • Morgan

    I really loved this article and it really resonates with me. I was always a bookworm who loved to read. Reading and such got put on the back burner with college, but recently my desire to write came back stronger than eve. So, I have just started getting back to writing down my dreams and thoughts on my blog rockaripple.com. All your tips were realistic and helpful. Thank you so very much!

  • samcarter44

    This was a great article and is going into my folder of posts to save. I also homeschool my kids and thought your writing was very impressive. Thank you!

  • sanjay kr lshiri

    I loved it. Inspiring and a true guide.

  • Great Post. It’s really helpful to me and other new writers.