Dear Aspiring Writer Me... (Amy K. Nichols)

Dear Aspiring Writer Me,

Remember when you were young and you realized there are people in the world who write books as a career? Here's a secret: you're going to be one of them.

If you follow this advice.

1. Stop whining about someday. Someday doesn't exist. Start today. Start now. Put down the Gameboy and pick up a pen. Write.

2. Stop telling people you have this "crazy" dream. Wanting to be an author isn't crazy. You have a dream, period. Embrace it. Take pride in it.

3. Who cares what other people think anyway? I mean, really. Who cares?

4. Finish what you start. Even when you know what you're writing is complete and utter garbage, keep going until The End.

5. When you reach The End, celebrate. It's okay to nerd out over your work. You created something that until this point never existed, and that's really cool. Pat yourself on the back. Eat chocolate. Smile.

6. Stay humble. Be gracious. No one likes pretentiousness. No one likes a narcissist. Search out authors who do this job well. Study them. Follow their lead.

7. Nothing you write will ever be perfect on the first draft. The sooner you realize this the better. The magic happens in revision. Say it again with me, slowly: And sometimes it takes a lot of revision before it starts feeling anything close to magical.

8. The key to writing is keeping your butt in the chair. Use superglue if necessary.

9. Try to think of rejection like fishing. Sometimes you go to the lake and the fish just aren't biting. Sometimes the fish are already full. Your goal is to find the one hungry fish who wants the food you're dangling on your line. Make yummy food that will tempt the fish to bite. And keep going back to the lake.

10. Don't give up. Never ever give up. If you give up, you'll never get to see what it's like from where I am now. Trust me, you're going to want to see what it's like on this side. Keep going, even when it's hard and feels pointless. Even when you feel like a hack. Just keep your butt in the chair and keep writing.

You're gonna make it. And when you look back, you'll see how everything fit together to become the journey meant for you. The timing, the happy accidents, those brave moments and the times you wanted to crawl in the corner and cry--all of it will come together, forming a path behind you that could only have been meant for you.

So one last bit of advice: stick to your own path. Don't try to walk someone else's. That's their job. Leave theirs to them. You walk your own. And enjoy the journey.

Now stop reading this and get to work.



  1. "Someday doesn't exist." No, it doesn't.

  2. Took me soooo long to learn that. *sigh*

  3. That's my biggest regret -- that I decided Someday was well into my forties instead of way earlier.


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