1. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Where should I be in writing at 25?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Alex R. Encomienda, Feb 7, 2016.

    Well, for the sake of our time, I'll only mention my recent thoughts.

    I've been a writer since I was 11 and over the years I progressed drastically. Since, I've taken several writing classes and poetry classes to sort of "grow" as a writer but I've only started my first WIP novel last year after attempting one several years before. I've self published two short stories on smashwords and I've been marketing myself on Facebook, but what else should I be doing?
    I know that when I finish my novel, I going to send queary letters and submit manuscripts to agents and publishers via email, but that is then- what should I do now besides write my WIP?
     
  2. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    First, if you've already decided you really want to write, that's the biggest step. So once you've decided that, just write furiously and let the years pass by and you will find a natural path along the way.

    Really, I wouldn't worry about comparisons so much. I say if you've already committed to it at age 25 that's WAY ahead of many people. I didn't even decide to start until I was 30. Then it took a while to actually figure out how to get started. (with a few wrong turns I've mentioned in other threads)

    Here's a fun point of exploration: do you know why you asked that question to begin with? (from the subject line)

    That will be your real answer.

    :supercool:
     
  3. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Because I want a promising future of writing as a successful author.
     
  4. Eric Steiner
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    Eric Steiner New Member

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    I signed up not even 5 minutes ago and this is the first thread that I have read. I'm 42 and currently considering a path in writing though I haven't written much more than college essays and lengthy Facebook posts that often go ignored. Recently I wrote a life examination paper for my philosophy class that earned me 100 points and comments from friends and family that I should write more.

    I found this helpful. At 42, I'm struggling with the self-induced notion that there's no where left to go. I need to hear things like this to give me the push to just do it. And besides, I feel so much better after getting my thoughts out.
     
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  5. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    Me too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  6. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    What does age 25 have to do with that?

    I asked you why you asked, to prompt you to ponder it deeply, not offer a quick reply.

    If you introspect on that question, you will see what is really behind your desire to write.

    :)
     
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  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Finish your WIP. Polish it, get it beta read, etc.

    Focus on the work, right now. There are a lot of writers who never even finish a book, let alone get it published. Don't waste time on other stuff until you've got something completed.
     
  8. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    As Tea@3 mentioned, deciding to be a writer at 25 is probably ahead of most people but age isn't something you should focus on. It's just a number, life experiences are what really matter in my opinion and definitely help with writing along with lots and lots of practice!
     
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  9. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Writing is an imaginative journey and it's never too late to venture it:)

    Sometimes it can be a tedious process but I know the feelings and moods that come with it will all be worth it !
     
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  10. Samuel Lighton
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    Samuel Lighton Contributing Member

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    Keep writing, keep putting it out there. The fact is, failure should be recognized as progress for you. I read a book my father gave me, "The Elements of Storytelling: How to write compelling fiction." by Peter Rubie.

    In his first opening pages, he details that every failure is a success, as you learn from each misstep. Don't ever feel down about what would seem a lack of progress, as the real effect it has on you is to change how you write until you evolve your writing style naturally based on those failures. Don't seek recognition, appreciate the people who offer criticism, no matter how awful it may seem. I myself am 28 and decided to get into writing...a few months ago. And stupidly, I decided in my stubbornness to write a novel from the outset. Unfortunately my writing style is changing almost page to page, and I recognise this.

    Another point he made, was that you should simply just write. Anything and everything. Eventually you'll write something you like, even love and it will just carry on from there. When that gets to a point you feel less inclined towards it, go back to the last part which made you love it and start from that point forwards.
     
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  11. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Alex R. Encomienda,

    A few thoughts.

    Continuing to work on your WIP is primary. You cannot reach any measure of success if you don't finish a novel, if that's to be your goal. You indicated you completed a couple short stories, and have published them on Smashwords. That's a good start. As an aside, I would recommend publishing them on Amazon, and elsewhere. I believe Smashwords does potentially distribute them to B&N and Kobo and maybe iTunes. My publisher does this...so it's not something I am more than passingly familiar with, but if you're not on Amazon, you're missing out on a potentially large set of readers.

    Finishing that first draft of your novel will provide a major boost, but I'm confident you know, that is only the beginning. You will be revising and editing, and maybe sharing with beta readers before you're ready to send it for representation of an agent or to publishers directly.

    During the process of completing the novel, there is nothing wrong with reading up on how publishing works, a little about contracts and how to write good cover and query letters. It is never too early to start following blogs and such that interest you. Participate, say commenting on occasion with a reviewer or two's blogs. Establishing an online relationship might open doors to having your works reviewed by them...although your publisher should help with this...some will fall upon your shoulders. Good review sites are overwhelmed with review requests, so that might be a way to open a door that would otherwise be closed. Also, if it a review site or two that you find of interest, you might learn something about what readers there are looking for or interested in, and maybe cross paths with some other author s as well. Networking through participation with readers and authors and editors and agents (they have blogs too) can help you learn.That's just one thought or idea for you to consider.

    You might define to yourself what a successful author is. It will vary greatly from one writer to another. Some...if they sell 100 books a year, that's successful. Some want to earn a modest living. Some want to be invited to be events and conventions. Some want to be a best seller. Some, if they get just one novel on the bookshelf at B&N, they'll have met success.

    While your goals may change...a goal should be measurable, attainable, and one where you can an impact on reaching that goal. the first two are pretty easy to take care of. The last, officially, not so much. You have limited control over what other people choose to do (an agent representing your novel, or an editor offering a contract). Even if you, in the end, decide to self-publish, you have limited ability to get people to read and enjoy your novel.

    But, what you can do is set yourself up, but becoming knowledgeable and writing a darn good novel and doing what it takes to get it published, so that you have the greatest opportunity to achieve. Because, in the end, there is some intangible luck involved.

    Keep learning and keep writing and persevere. If your first novel doesn't find a home...keep on going. I know that's easy to say, but to have any chance at success you have to complete works and press on until you find the success you're looking for. That's my two cents. :)

    Good luck!
     
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  12. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Welcome Alex and Samuel!

    I wrote in my school years and toyed with it a bit in my twenties. Had a few non-fiction pieces published in magazines and even got a sizeable check (once) as a result. Non-fiction writing bored me though, and a marque book on cars became stillborn. Fiction was where I needed to be for my creative side but it took me until I was 49 to actually sit down and start writing my first book. I've done three so far with more in the planning stages. Self-published them all as e-books and have felt real satisfaction simply from completing them (and getting great reviews). Sales? Not worth talking about so far as the market is flooded. So why do I do it? Why should you do it?

    Not for money. Not for fame. You should only write for the sake of writing. It has to be the thing you love to do. Your chances of becoming a full time, self-supporting writer are honestly very small. We all hope to hit the big time with that one sensational page-turning best-seller but you have to accept that such good fortune is extremely rare. That is the reality. Should it stop you from spending a year writing a novel? Absolutely not. If you never try, you'll never know.

    I started several novels when I was younger but never finished any of them. I was not prepared for the sheer work or commitment it takes nor did I have any clue WTF I was doing. :) I'm older/wiser now and know when I'm writing crap or writing something that makes me giggle, cry or shiver because its so freaking good. You may be there now or you may get there in twenty years. The most important thing you can do is to simply write. And read!
     
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  13. Samuel Lighton
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    Samuel Lighton Contributing Member

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    Thanks ddavidv.
     
  14. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Get yourself a day job!

    There's a line in Fawlty Towers where Polly is asked whether she sells many of her drawings...

    "Enough to keep me in waitressing."
     
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  15. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Don't worry about it. Everyone's different.

    Some writers manage to publish in their teens, others take it up when they retire.
     
  16. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know. And don't take me as an example because at 25, I was still functionally illiterate. :)
     
  17. Eric Steiner
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    Eric Steiner New Member

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    I'm such a procrastinator, I'll probably publish posthumously.
     
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  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    One thing to consider here is that writing is not, from everything I see, a career where you can take certain steps and plan on making a living. It is perfectly likely that you will (1) write, and have published, some moderately successful novels and (2) still need a day job.

    In fact, it's much more likely than not that you will need a day job permanently. If you plan on such runaway success that you can make a reliable living from your writing, you may find that you're chasing a phantom.

    Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat Pray Love runaway success) had several novels published before Eat Pray Love, and she still kept her day job, only quitting it when that novel exploded. I'm not pointing to her as necessarily a great writer--the point is relevant whether you like her or you don't like her. And the point is that authors, outside a very tiny subset of runaway successes, just don't earn that much. That's not about your talent, it's just the way it is.
     
  19. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Hmm, thanks for your insight.

    But how likely would it be to simply have my work generally known or read by many. I'm not talking about money because honestly I don't have a desire to even gain a cent out of my work! But to have at least one book well known, what would one need to do? Submit constantly to agents/publishers? Self publish? Make it an ebook?

    Thank you for your time!
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Get better and better and better, and submit to agents. The odds of a self-published book, either paper or ebook, being well known, are low. Most self-published books, especially fiction, sell very few copies. Even if yours is glorious, it is likely to be lost in the sea of bad self-published books.

    Advocates of self-publishing will disagree with me. I suggest that you do your own research, but don't be over-influenced by a tiny number of success stories.
     
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  21. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is true. Andy Weir is the exception rather than the rule. Great exception, but still an exception. :)
     
  22. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You should think about submitting short stories to paying markets and start building a name for yourself. Having paying credits to your name can really help boost your writing career. Other than that, keep reading, writing, and submitting. Good luck!
     
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  23. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    This. Being able to send a letter to potential publishers/agents saying "I've had short fiction published in these respected magazines" underlines how serious you are about it, recognises that you produce work of quality regularly, and makes them more likely to take a chance on you.
     
  24. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that it makes more sense to submit short stories than to self-publish them, but just in case this advice is being taken as universal rather than specific to the OP -

    Writing short stories is a whole different thing than writing novels. If you're naturally good at short stories, great, write and submit them, but if you're not? It probably makes more sense to work on getting better at the kind of writing you ultimately want to do, rather than treating short stories as a building block. There are lots of successful novelists without published short stories; they're far from necessary to a successful career.
     
  25. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Quite so - personally I tend to play with short stories in between larger projects, when I'm stuck in my main work, or when I've had a bit of time without writing due to other commitments to get back into the swing of things, but I appreciate not everyone works this way.

    What might be a bit more universalised is that having some published short work might make you more attractive to agents and publishers. As far as I can tell, that's more or less true in all cases, isn't it?
     

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