What I’ve Learned About Writing

I’ve been reflecting on all the things I’ve learned – from writing articles and blog posts and, more importantly, from comments and messages contributed by all of you. For my last post, I wanted to share some of these lessons, the things that have come to seem most important about the writing life.

What I've Learned About Writing

Humility

We all make mistakes, and it takes guts to let other people see them. Don’t be afraid to join a writing group, take a class, or post work on the forum. I was consistently impressed with the people who shared work in the monthly challenges: they understood that getting feedback is more important than any temporary fear or discomfort. It’s a necessary part of becoming a better writer.

Writing Is Hard

I’m not saying it’s always hard, but if you strive for excellence, there will be times when it is. For instance, it’s hard to revise a novel for the third or fourth (or fifth) time. It’s hard to get up early on a cold morning to write, or to head to a cafe when coworkers are going out for drinks. It’s hard to be rejected by magazines, journals, or agents. These things are hard for everyone.

It’s Worth It

Moderating this site, I’m constantly reminded of why we do it: of the satisfaction in dreaming up new stories or characters; in hearing that something we wrote meant something to another person; in spending a quiet afternoon lost in a story. It’s satisfying to feel that your life has a purpose. And it’s an amazing way to connect with other people.

There Are So Many Supportive Writers Out There

You’ve all been so generous with your time and energy — you’ve been the best part of a very good job. I’ve witnessed writers all over the world helping each other with advice or criticism, taking time to write comments in the blog or on the forum. On a personal level, I have hundreds of emails, printed out or saved on my hard drive, so I’ll always remember the people I got to know through this site, or who took the time to reach out to me.

Thank all of you for some very stimulating years. Whoever replaces me is very lucky: they’ll have the best readers in the world. Good luck to all of you on your writing. May you have all the satisfaction and rewards possible from this writing life of ours. I hope to continue seeing your names and your work as the years go on. Thank you for letting me be a part of it here!

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