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Advice wanted - New writer

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I'm a new writer so naturally, I'm looking for any and all advice I can as I start up this new and exciting chapter in my life (pun intended) so if anyone has any unusual advice or maybe something I may not have thought of then I welcome anything you have to tell me!


Thank you!

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Not unusual advice per se, but here goes...


1) The best thing to do is to read as much as you can. Sounds simple, I know, but you'd be surprised how many aspiring writers don't actually do this. It might help to restrict yourself to the genre in which you are writing, in order to get a handle on the tropes/limitations etc. (the old chestnut being you can't break the rules until you've learned them), but reading more widely never harmed anyone. By reading, you are absorbing things like structure, rhythm, flow etc. without necessarily realising it, and after a while you will begin to see patterns and familiarities that will help you when you start to write your own stuff.


2) Don't treat "how to" books as gospel, and consider sticking to ones written by people who've actually achieved something. I've read a fair few of these "Write A Novel"/"Write A Screenplay"-type jobs and always found that the best and most useful advice has come from established, published writers who've been slogging away at it for years. Also, it's fine to read these guides and think some (or all) of what they're offering is b*llocks - take from them what you find valuable and discard the rest.


3) Point 2 also applies to training courses/workshops/degree courses etc. Think long and hard before you commit to spending cash on these things. I've been there and done that - i did a master's degree in screenwriting - and a couple of years down the line I'm of the mind that it was a complete waste of money (which I'm still paying off). Obviously it depends on the quality of the teacher, but my course was severely lacking in this area and I didn't learn anything that I couldn't have gleaned from studying scripts/writing myself.


4) When you do start to write, get a draft done as quickly as you can. And this is coming from someone who finds this difficult, gets bogged down, and dedicates months to projects that are often abandoned soon after.


5) Joining a writing group might help, depending on your personality. It can be very beneficial to have other writers read your work and offer criticism, but it can also be debilitating! It's probably better to wait until you've done a full draft before you share it - you don't want to be second-guessing yourself while you're writing. Also, it's probably better to seek the opinions of people who know what they're talking about - friends and family will struggle to be objective and find fault, and there's no real value in knowing what the postman thinks (unless he's a writer himself :) )


Best of luck, and don't worry if you find it unbearably hard. For most people, it IS hard.

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