So, looking back at some of your very first work might be cringe worthy and embarrassing (good grief, did I really write that?!), but it can be encouraging as well. You wrote that? Well now you write this! See how you fly! It's a Good Thing.
So what would you say to a young yourself if you could? If letters in a bottle floated backwards through time and you had a chance to give advice - specifically about writing - to your Young You?
Well, I, for one, might say this.
- Young Me, finish the damn book. Stop reading about others' successes and imagining agents seeking you from afar and (ye gads!) designing covers, and write the book. Seriously. Buy The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, and don't look at it until the book is done.
- You know the plot? The thing that's meant to tie the whole story together? At least know how it goes roughly before you start typing away. You don't have to plot every chapter out in exquisite detail if you don't want to, but come on - at least know what happens before the characters do. Know why? It makes everything better. You get to play with foreshadowing and irony and character development and hidden meaning and all those other literary tools that are really just reward badges for talented writers who know how to earn them. It's great.
- Seek out other writers. It doesn't matter if you're young, or even if you're crap. Other writers will help you - with contacts, with industry knowledge, and with style and voice and art. Try - please, just try - not to take criticism as an attack on your genius. It's what you need to get so much better.
- Write a few short stories. Live a little. Try genres you don't really know and styles you're not a fan of. 1500 words is enough. Shouldn't take you more than a couple of days. It's like weight lifting or driving lessons. It's not necessarily always fun, but hey, it works.
- Get out and about, Young Me. Have adventures. You get to decide what that means. You'll be a better writer if you've seen other places and know other people. Let the computer be the place you write about your experiences, not how you experience the world.
Also, buy shares in Google. It's gonna be big.
What would you say? Feel free to let me know!