Hi! Lisa here.
There was a recent movement on Twitter for people to message their younger selves bits of advice, notes of encouragement, etc. I loved it, and decided that we writers should have one that pertains more toward our craft. What would you like to say to your younger, blossoming writer self?
Dan: I'd actually go back farther, and tell myself to get into writing sooner. I was always interested, but never buckled down and got serious until my late twenties. I didn't know how important it would become to me, nor did I recognize how long it would take to get to where I am now. Which, admittedly, is not really that far. I wish I'd started sooner.
The other bit of advice I'd offer my former self concerns critique partners. Now, I fell into an excellent writing group when I started out (the members of my fiction writing classes). We still critique short fiction for one another. But it took me a long time to realize that my novels could benefit from that kind of feedback, too. It's a lot more to ask of someone. It also requires finding the right partner for you and your writing. But CPs, once you find them, are worth their weight in gold.
Karlie: I would definitely tell my younger self to lay off the drama - looking through old manuscripts of mine always makes me cringe. Most of my stories read like soap operas then! Thankfully, with great advice from awesome betas like Lisa, I learned to tone it down and make it fit the story. Like Dan, I would also tell myself to write more. It took me awhile to really appreciate the wisdom of writing every single day, even if it was just a sentence or two.
Caitlin: I think it would be to tell myself to not be so afraid of being a bad writer. I've been into writing for a long time, but I think I could have been more prolific (and still could be), if I allowed myself more freedom to just "play." We all have limited time to devote to writing, so I never want to "waste" it, but I think that pressure of trying to only work on "worthwhile" projects actually hurts my productivity level. If I had figured this out a long time ago, maybe I would have written more.
Tell us what you think of our advice to our writerly selves. What's your advice to yourself?