There are many things I wish I’d known when I became a writer. Here are a few:
Writing is hard work, even when it comes easily. Just because I can sit down at a stretch today and write 2,000 words doesn’t mean I can do the same thing tomorrow. Or that those 2,000 words won’t be deleted, revised and rewritten several times until they no longer resemble anything close to what they did in the beginning. And that’s okay.
You need to get someone else to read your writing, even if you’re an editor! Preferably several “someone else’s.” It’s next to impossible to objectively look at your own writing and identify its flaws. Sure, you can do that to someone else’s work, but you didn’t put in the blood, sweat and tears to create it in the first place. And an objective eye is invaluable, no matter how much it hurts.
Join a group of writers, preferably a group of knowledgeable ones. In addition to the advice you’ll receive, the camaraderie is great. Writing is a lonely pursuit and you need the interaction with others.
Writers are, for the most part, nice. Meet them. If you like their books, tell them. You never know how you might benefit from being a nice person (aside from the fact that it’s just the right thing to do!). Don’t be afraid of writers.
Know the rules and when to follow them. That’s right, there are times when it’s okay to break them. It’s not something someone can tell you; you have to figure it out on your own. But sometimes, breaking the rules is okay. Editors, publishers and agents know that.
Writing is a profession, even if others might not think so. That means you have to act professional. Use manners. Don’t take things personally. Be nice to everyone. Don’t talk about anyone in a way that you wouldn’t want to get back to them. Do your research. Double check your spelling. When in doubt, don’t make that joke!
Have a marketing strategy. If you can’t create one yourself, get help from those more experienced than you. Your book won’t sell itself.
What do you wish you knew?