1. fred22
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    fred22 New Member

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    advice to a younger self about writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by fred22, Apr 22, 2016.

    Everyone is different. However, if I could go back in time and give myself advice when starting to write,
    I would say this:

    1. Go into a room and write for about an hour, or about an hour and fifteen minutes five days a week.
    When finished, leave.

    2. Write short stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. They can be about anything - about an object in the room - about two mice falling off a step. It doesn't matter. Make it up.

    3. Writing is a craft, then an art. Learn the craft first. They are like the walls of a house. The art is the roof. Write. The first couple hundred stories build writing muscle. Keep going.

    4. Understand basic grammar.

    5. Read good short story writers.

    6. Lower your ambitions. It takes time.

    7 . Cultivate patience. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

    8. Make a commitment. It is unrealistic to be motivated every day.

    9. Avoid distractions when writing.

    10. Get the rent paid. Sort out your hierarchy of needs. If your situation is unstable, writing is difficult.

    11. Don't let a sense of failure in writing leak into your sense of self.
    And don't dwell on the past.

    12. Write in good light. You will damage your eyes in time.

    13. Stretch. Exercise. Writing will damage you if you let it.

    14. Keep writing and the idea of being a writer separate. It is all about the activity.

    15. Measure success by effort. Do your best. Therefore, it is always in your hands to succeed.
    Do not base confidence on the belief in your own ability. Base it on doing your best. Doing your best is different from achieving your best.

    16. If you can, take the occasionally holiday, or short break.


    I think Stendhal nailed it - 'Had I mentioned to someone around 1795 that I planned to write, anyone with any sense would have told me to write for two hours every day, with or without inspiration. Their advice would have enabled me to benefit from the ten years of my life I totally wasted waiting for inspiration.'
     
  2. A man called Valance
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    A man called Valance Active Member

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    I'd tell young Valance to follow his own path and believe in himself. Not for glory or gain, but for himself.
     
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  3. Lilith Addington
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    Lilith Addington Member

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    Hmm, let's see...I'd tell myself to:
    1. Stick with it! Quit giving up on your stories.
    2. Don't compare yourself to other writers.
    3. Write every day.
    4. Write more.
    5. Just, write
     
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  4. Miller0700
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    Miller0700 Contributing Member

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    Research more into the writing field so that you can make a livable wage from it.
     
  5. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    Get a writing mentor
    major in english

    Thats about it.
     
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  6. DoctorDoom
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    DoctorDoom Member

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    Stop tangenting off on barely related scientific details because they interest you. The story is not a text book, people don't read sci-fi to learn about quantum physics, they read it for the characters and the story, therefor those should take precedence over what interests you. Also, just because Michael Crichton does it doesn't make it a good idea. That's not a valid excuse.
     
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  7. tumblingdice
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    tumblingdice Member

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    "Stop reading trash and start reading good authors" :D
     
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  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    FINISH EVERYTHING!
    make commas your friend
    never type in all caps
    always make paragraph indentations because future-me can't read your crappy drafts, girly.
     
  9. RavenHeart
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    RavenHeart Member

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    To younger me I would say;

    1. Keep writing!
    2. No matter what they told you or tell you, writing isn't a stupid dream.
    3. Stop worrying, procrastinating and listening to others, just keep writing.
    4. Finish things! Short, long, good, bad doesn't matter. Give it a beginning, middle and end and get it done!
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Stop taking rejection so personally.
     
  11. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    What somebody said on another thread:
    "Don't let success go to your head. Don't let failure go to your heart."
    To which I'll add something somebody else said:
    "Realize that the first thousand pages you write will be crap. That's your training period. Remember that when you learned to walk, you fell down most of the time, and only after many months of practice did you get to the point where you could confidently walk without falling down. Writing is just like that."
     
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  12. Dearest Mothership
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    Dearest Mothership Member

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    Push yourself. Persist. Hold at all costs.
     
  13. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would say to take the path of lesser path (money, items, BOOZE) Because I believe that is what truly has hindered me in early life. I was owned by everything and spent so much time treating myself like a slave for it.
     
  14. fred22
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    fred22 New Member

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  15. fred22
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    fred22 New Member

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    Hallo again,

    Interesting to hear people's experiences. I am more keen to hear the hindsight gained by people based on their own experiences.
    Although I realize the difference between this and general advice is almost indivisible.

    I would add:

    17. Try not to graze.

    If you are on a break, or if it is not working out for you that day, or week, try to avoid the habit of snacking - food, coffee, tea, etc.

    It adds up over the years.


    good luck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Older Me to Younger Me.

    Do all the stupid shit that you're going to do. Yes, even the stupid shit that almost landed you in prison. Do it. It will make great fodder for writing. Trust me. ;)
     
  17. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Stop being cynical about the spectacled writers of the college magazine, the student union, and get among them, bozo.
     
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  18. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Take fewer drugs.

    Take more drugs.

    Listen to your mother (she said I was good with words, though she would, wouldn't she?) and write (I didn't and only remembered twenty-five years later that she'd said it — nothing like having a second wind).
     
  19. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    With me it were father...who said, 'write sonny,' he said, coughed, died, and never kissed my mother, though she kissed him after.

    Drugs are the greatest disappointment, come back, bite you on the arse when you are an old fella. Liberal with your spliff and tab, talking - the hypocrisy of politicians, always talking on the bean bag.

    Next generation comes to you, waves crack in face, opiates, reading Chemistry for one reason. Nothing is so dull. I burned every Lou Reed record, the prick. Fresh air better, and gin.
     
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  20. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Fresh air better. There is a small one. He looks at me with big eyes and speaks of his brother-not-yet-born-but-we-all-know-his-name-and-he's-coming-oh-so-soon. I don't know what I'll tell them when they ask. They will ask.

    'Write!' I will say. 'If you want... or football if that's your bag. If it is, I'll make it mine as well.'

    Advice to young self: write. Maybe bad advice. Had nothing to say back then.
     
  21. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Project a raging conservatism in all behaviour, become furtive in malpractice. Treat boys like dogs, send them to the army.

    [No, no, no no no.]

    ..just a thought, twenty-one year old man rules my face currently, I cook his sausages to order. Such is love.
     
  22. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Such. Is. Love.

    Father was in the army. Maybe boys will be too. Maybe it skips (runs screaming from) a generation.

    Threadjack.

    Done.
     
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  23. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    This feels a bit like hubris since I am not writing that long seriously but oh well ;)

    Older self to younger self - writer: Stick with one story and finish!
    Older self to younger self - generally: Just disagree! Row, shout, get angry, and grow backbone damnit!
     
  24. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Don't worry about it being a novel. Just write it the way it wants to be written.

    Worry less about coming up with a unique plot and spend more time creating really interesting characters.

    Travel, study people and don't be afraid to talk to women more. :)
     
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  25. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. don't waste time building detailed character profiles, and
    2. buy a &*%$ing dictionary!
     
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