It’s me (confusing I know, but hang in there kid). This is a message from the future – woo-oo-oo! – and I’m writing this to give you some advice that will stop you worrying quite so much and allow you to just enjoy the thrill of being a writer.
That’s right, I said writer. And before you start to argue with me – er, you – just listen: you are a writer, right now. Not in a few years’ time when you’ve found an agent, been accepted by a publisher and seen your first book in print, but this very moment. Even though to date the only people you’ve dared to show your writing to are a dodgy ex-boyfriend and a scary workmate, you’re still a writer. So here’s my first piece of advice: stop agonising about whether you should call yourself a writer and just be one. Enjoy creating worlds and dreaming up characters to populate them. Let your imagination run free and be fearless in your pursuit of a cracking story.
Next, stop apologising. Ignore the people around you (you know them well) who tell you that writing is lame, childish or ‘not a sensible career choice’. Take no notice of the doomsayers who gleefully proclaim the odds of being published: the mountainous slush piles filled with dying hopes of aspiring authors, the impossibility of finding an agent, the sacks of rejection slips waiting to be delivered to your door. Don’t belittle the fruits of your own imagination by trying to conform to the narrow confines of someone else’s. Walk into any bookshop and see how many new books by new authors are being published – if it has happened for them, it can happen for you. Anything is possible.
Finally, write like you’ve made it already. Nobody knows your story like you do and there is no better person to tell the stories in your head than you. Be confident, believe in yourself and the worlds you create on paper (or on the screen). Be your biggest fan, your most vocal cheerleader and your marketing manager. Make your writing accessible to others – be brave and put it ‘out there’. Start a blog, join online writing communities or real-life writers’ groups where you can meet like-minded people for whom listening to voices in their heads is perfectly normal and not an indicator of sudden onset madness. And above all, be brave. Half the battle in getting published is being seen. The more places you can showcase your writing, the more likely someone will notice. It can happen for you – probably sooner than you expect.
It will all be worth it: the drafts, the revisions, the all-night writing sessions, even that mortifying episode when your computer dies and you have to email that ex-boyfriend you’d hoped you’d never see again to ask him to email the chapters you’ve lost…
Go for it. After all, what have you got to lose?
Love, Me xx
Miranda Dickinson is a Sunday Times Bestselling Author. Her latest book is It Started With A Kiss.
You can visit Miranda’s blog here