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Writing Advice I'd give Younger Me

by E. Paige Burks

I started my writing journey when I was young; the earliest I remember writing was in grade school. It wasn't super sophisticated, just a story about a puppy named Brownie and his adventures. But by the time I reached the 6th grade, I was writing every day and carrying a notebook around with me to write during free times/before and after classes.

As I grew up, my knowledge base grew, and my writing got better and better. One would expect this from someone who devotes their time to a craft, and I assume that's what it's like for most writers. You write until you get it right, and you can see that evolution over time. Over course, being an introverted and bookish kid didn't prepare for some aspects of my writing journey.

So, thinking back on this, here is a list of three things I would tell younger me:

1. The work is important, but so is the goal. I often would just write and write and write and never had an ending in mind or a stopping point for the story I was working on. This meant that a lot of my early writing is just meandering and drama for the sake of drama. One key thing to learn is when to end your story, which lends to a larger question of what story are you actually telling?

2. Learn to talk to people. Marketing your book is hard. One of the easiest ways to build a following is to tell people about what you write. I never shared what I wrote with anyone and guarded it like a dirty secret. I think I was afraid of judgment, which leads to my last point.

3. Be confident in what you like and what you create. There are tons of people who love the same stuff I do, and there are tons of people who would enjoy the stories I write! I wish I had had the confidence as a kid to realize this.

These are still things I work on today. I have a bit more confidence and a bit more life experience, so I realize that not everyone will love the same things as me, but some people will. I also have the confidence to know that I should enjoy what I do, because I only have one life and I want to be happy living it! And if writing and sharing my writing makes me happy, that's what I'll keep doing!

So now it's your turn! What advice would you give to your younger self?

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