I don’t know whether these are unpopular amongst the writing community or forgotten but most likely, people have heard them but just brushed it off. Still, I spent countless years too as an unpublished or “aspiring” writer and I think I know for what reasons. So, lo and behold, here is what not to do if you want to be a published author.
”Don’t be too ambitious”
Okay, this one sounds really demotivating but it’s more helpful than it is harsh. From a very young age, we’re taught to be ambitious and to aspire. To create impossible goals and persist to meet them. We’re told to shoot for the moon and reach for the stars.
But here’s the thing. NASA didn’t just send a rover to mars on the first try. They sent up satellites, sent up the first men into space, went to the moon, sent rovers to other places first, failed at missions then tried again.
Writing is a skill like any other. You can’t just sit down and say “Hmm… I think I want to write a book”, open a doc and do it. It’s just not that simple. You have to build muscle before applying to a weight building contest. Practice before you go or you’ll just end up giving up/failing.
Write short stories (In your own time. The one from your highschool English class doesn’t count.), write poems (In your own time. The one from your highschool English class doesn’t count.), experiment with ideas (Your own ideas. The writing prompts from your highschool English class don’t count.), maybe write a novella at around 30 pages to get used to longer projects (Your own projects. The group research paper from your highschool English class doesn’t count.)
Point is, practice what you preach (if what you’re preaching is writing a novel), yes. But more than that, practice BEFORE you preach. Trust me, the first project you finish is not going to be a 7 book epic fantasy series with 500+ pages in each big. Start small then go for bigger goals. So, I guess what I’m really saying isn’t not to be ambitious but not to start too ambitious. Just work your way up. Don’t shoot for the stars when you’ve never even been in an airplane.
One project at a time!
For some reason, a lot of writers seem to hate this advice but you need to listen! It’s impossible, simply impossible, to write 18 books at once. And no! You are not the exception to this role.
Start a book, finish the book. If you decide you don’t like the book, put it down and give up on it (at least for now). Don’t try to start another project without setting aside this one first. Because if you do, then you won’t finish either project.
If you want to write, you have to commit yourself to it. This means you have to commit yourself to finishing ONE project. ONE ideas. If you just hop between random projects, you’ll never get published. You won’t have anything to get published because nothing is finished! You’ll just have a bunch of half-baked drafts that will never go anywhere.
If you are feeling demotivated though, then there is other ways to take a break. Write a poem, create a short story, do a writing prompt. Small stuff like this is okay. I promise you can manage another ten page story but it’s impossible to balance two full blown novels at once.
Writers have to write (even if it’s boring at the moment)
Do not, under any circumstances, give up on a project because it’s simply too boring. If it’s boring, fix it. That’s what being a writer is about. You can’t just give up because it’s boring. Trust me, a project is always to getting boring at some point if you dedicate yourself to it. Just trudge forward and finish. Come on, I believe in you!
Feel free to tune out any writing advice
Writing is an art and art isn’t exact. There is no one way to do it. Right and wrong isn’t a thing in a field so subjective. What works for you may not work for me. So by all means, feel free to ignore me. Test out my advice to see if it works and if it doesn’t, then ignore me. After all, art is a reflection of yourself. What right does a random stranger on the internet have to tell you how to properly reflect yourself?
I don’t know you. Nobody does, or at least not as well as you do. This is your writing. So don’t let anyone else dictate it.