First-time writers are fun. They are full of energy because they are crazy enthusiastic about the stories they are creating. I have found this particularly true of those who write fantasy. It is interesting what holds many of these writers back, and it is a problem they can overcome.
Some people think that the biggest problem with new writers is that they don’t edit their writing well, or that they don’t spend the time revising and changing things in the manuscript to craft a stronger story. But both of these things are symptoms of the bigger problem and the most common issue with writers who aspire to be published authors.
There are so many times that I have been approached by aspiring authors. They have many questions related to publishing, selling their work, and editing. I have been told that I am an approachable person and I do try to be. When someone has questions and enthusiasm for writing I want to help them. Writing and publishing are long, challenging processes filled with mystery to the outside observer. When possible I like to pull back the veil, revealing the ins and outs of the process so that others can more speedily learn what I struggled with.
Often, but not always, I run into an issue when this happens. The writer will ask for my advice and I will give it. But they are quick to dismiss what they don’t want to hear and zero in on what they want to hear. They have trouble accepting professional criticism.
A writer’s first work is going to lay the groundwork for their career. If you have taken professional criticism and polished your work it will make a good first impression on readers. But if you have not then you will lose readers’ trust, your work will barely sell, and your future writing career will prove even more difficult to build.
Professional criticism is the single biggest boon to an aspiring writer. If a writer is unwilling to humble themselves to accept criticism they will not grow, they will not improve their craft, and they will have little to no respect among their writing peers. Certainly they will hold no respect with publishing industry professionals.
I liken these writers to a vacationer making a mountain trek through the snow. Instead of following the footprints of their guide they choose to strike out on their own, seeking a better path.
It is foolish to neglect criticism and to listen only to what we want to hear. We only grow and improve when we are uncomfortable. It forces us to change things, it forces us to conform to a better way.
Certainly there is the challenge of retaining our own unique creativity, but ultimately writers are born not made and if we seek counsel from mentors accomplished in what we are endeavoring to do, we can succeed.
Find a guide who has gone before you and listen humble to their advice. If you want to be like them someday and succeed as they have you will need to listen to their advice.
Q: Do you look for mentors to help you grow in your life?
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