When Gutenberg printed the first Bible back in the 15th century, books laid a stepping stone for the evolution of mankind. Many things have changed drastically since then, but the number of books printed has been growing steadily. More than 2 million books are published worldwide each year, with thousands of young writers riding on the wave of self-publishing trend.
However, all this makes it much harder for talented author to grab attention to their work, as it takes a lot of persistence and good karma to be recognized as a writer. But most of all – young writers need some great writing! For that reason, we are giving you the 10 dos and don’ts for young writers.
Top 5 Dos:
1. Start small
Try to act modestly in the beginning and learn how to write short stories, create meaningful characters and story plots. That’s the best way to prepare for bigger projects. Short stories resemble novel chapters, so learning how to write these will essentially give you all the preparation you need for later stages of your career. Yes, Thomas Mann did start writing his two-volume novel “Budenbrooks” at the age of 22 and received a Nobel Prize eventually. But not everyone is Thomas Mann, so start small.
2. Write often and write down
Always keep your notebook with you and write down every little detail that catches your attention. You can note a sudden feeling, an inspiring moment, or write down some interesting dialogue you heard near you. Don’t let everyday duties distract you and keep you away from writing – this is what you want to do and you must always be well-prepared.
3. Act young
Alright, by now we figured that you decided to enter the world of literature, but that doesn’t mean that you should act too serious and write like a well-experienced person. You are young and act accordingly. Being young is actually your advantage! Write about your own new and fresh experiences, and let your uncorrupted mind play with emotions that you are coping with.
4. Read a lot
Good reader makes a good writer. Make sure to do your homework and read as much as possible, especially in the early stages of life and career. It will help you expand vocabulary, understand various sentence and text structures, and learn different writing techniques. After all, we are tabula rasa in the beginning and need something to start from in the first place.
5. Use your imagination
Be creative and let your imagination flourish! You don’t need to write only about the things you are familiar with because sometimes it is even better to describe situations that you did not experience. Without fantasy and inspiration, you will not become a writer, so make imagination your guiding star. After all, some of the most beautiful love stories were written by novelists who were sad and lonely – all because of imagination, not experience.
Top 5 Don’ts:
1. Never use Clichés
Don’t ever repeat the plot that we already read dozens of times before! It is not always easy to come up with unique story lines, but making a well-known pattern just a little bit different can make a huge impact. Furthermore, don’t use old phrases and common descriptions. You are not trying to produce a brand new discourse here, but you don’t want to use the same language schemes either.
2. Don’t be afraid of the critics
Nobody is perfect. Don’t be afraid of showing your work to persons you trust and be ready to accept critics. It will give you valuable feedback and quite down your arrogance. At the same time, don’t hesitate to be your own critic – it is necessary to give your work some fresh review after a while to find some weak spots. After all, you are the one who makes decisions in the end.
3. Don’t get too emotional
This is the trap that catches most of the young writers. They behave like the story is their diary and get too emotional in the process. Emotions are important, but don’t be shallow! Don’t add esoteric references to personal issues, and stay away from confusing readers with obscure introspection. You are addressing a mass audience and need to be smart and concise.
4. No redundant erudition
Young writers don’t have to write overly detailed, they should bring new strength, joy and enthusiasm to their readers. You are young and smart, but this doesn’t mean that you should brag about your verbosity and eruditeness. Don’t create pretentious paragraphs and keep the distance from pompous phrases. Of course, you shouldn’t use street slang, but your writing shouldn’t seem too scholarly.
5. Don’t be shy
You made a solid piece of work but don’t have enough courage to let the world know about it? Well, don’t be shy and feel free to let it fly! Send e-mails to literary magazines or publishing companies; make contacts with relevant agents or simply let it go online. You write diaries for yourself, but you make literature for both you and your audience.
Young writer is a delicate soul – it takes careful nurturing and hard work to make it shine. It is never easy to overcome your internal doubts and polish writing skills, but once you do that the result is very satisfying. Follow these dos and don’ts and you’ll be on the right path to get yourself in that position.
If you get 100 pages into your legacy project before you turn 20, only to find it isn’t working, don’t worry about it. You might turn 50 and then remember that old thing, start from scratch, and write something great. I’ve seen it happen. Everything you write is practice, and you’ll need to do a lot of that. I’ve played hundreds of scales on my piano, but you won’t catch me recording the things and trying to publish them. You might, however, catch me wishing my piano had a backspace key.