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10 Things All Aspiring Writers Should be Doing

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What are some writing tips for young aspiring authors? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Steena Holmes, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author of Saving Abby and 27 other titles, on Quora.

I'm a little jealous of young aspiring authors - there is so much ahead of you, so many stories to tell, so many possibilities that you don't even know about yet!

If I could give you a few writing tips to help you start your journey it would all begin with one piece of advice.

Never stop believing in yourself!

The words might not always flow. There will be times when you'll doubt yourself and times you think your writing sucks...and at times, that might even be true (it happens, accept it, don't beat yourself up about it) but if you can keep that faith that you are doing what you need to be doing right now...then you'll be fine.

No one else will believe in you like YOU.

No one else will love your words as much as you will.

No one else will see and understand where you are going with your story, than you.

If you believe in yourself first, others will too.

Now, onto the tips:

  1. Keep a journal - whether it's pen and paper or online. Write every day in there, share your thoughts, your feelings and secrets. Be honest with yourself - no matter how ugly that honesty may be. Those raw emotions will help you later on when you're writing.
  2. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Trust me - we all make them. Over and over and over again. Make the mistakes and learn from them.
  3. Ask for help. Don't be afraid to approach other authors you know and ask for their advice.
  4. Find a writing group of like minded peers and meet with them as often as you can - even if it's just online.
  5. Don't be scared to share your words. They are awesome. You are awesome. You have a story inside of you that is amazing and it's probably not as bad as you think it is.
  6. Learn how to write. No one starts knowing all the rules. Browse writing blogs, follow your favorite authors, read books on how to write. Learning your craft is the most important thing you can do, other than to keep writing.
  7. Your first draft always sucks. ALWAYS. The true magic happens during me.
  8. Don't edit while you write - just write. Let that story pour out of you, get it down while you can. Once you're done, then go back and edit it. Rewrite sentences, find better words to use, dig deeper into those emotions. Don't be afraid of the revision process.
  9. 'Said' is okay to use as a dialogue tag. They don't need to say things angrily or excitedly or any of those other flowery words your teachers tell you to use. SHOW the emotion behind the words - you can show the character is angry without telling me they said it angrily. Did their fist clench? They did punch the wall? Show me.
  10. Believe in yourself, in your words, in your emotions. I know, I said this already but it's the one thing I regret more than anything when I had that passion and desire to write when I was young. I didn'tbelieve I could, that my words were enough, that I was enough.

YOU are enough. You are good enough. You are talented and know exactly what you are doing when you write your story. Be excited about your passion and don't let anything quench it in you.

Good luck!

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