Seven Things to Know as You Begin Your Writing Journey

Everyone knows New Year’s Resolutions are rarely kept. Either they weren’t planned out well enough, became too cumbersome, or the planner realized they planned more than they could accomplish.

If your New Year’s Resolution is to begin writing, you may very well end up not sticking with it. Writing is difficult. Hard. Tear-worthy. And that’s before you begin editing and looking to submit. It’s a challenge, but a worthy challenge.

Writing will always prove difficult in some aspect, but there are some simple ways you can make your writing journey easier.

1: Your Method of Writing

There are three types of writers: plotters, pansters, and plansters. Plotters plan, pansters wing it, and plansters are somewhere in the middle. There are varying degrees to each category.

I am a planster. Seventy percent plotter, thirty percent panster. I have a base outline to follow, and always write chapters in order, and while I have about sixty percent of what will happen planned, everything else comes as I write. My mom is a panster. She writes chapters as they come to her, meaning she might write Chapter Thirty before Chapter Ten.

Neither method is wrong. When you find yours, it will help you integrate into the groove of writing.

2. Ignore “Write What You Know”

No disrespect meant to whoever coined this term, but for fictional writing, this is pure blabberdash. Poppycock. Malarkey. If I wrote “what I know”, I’d be penning lengthy novels on the intricacies of loading the dishwasher and how to write essays for college.

This does not mean never investigate and never research. I can guarantee most who write fantasy don’t know the proper techniques of knife fighting or the various herbs and plants you can use to kill and harm save characters. Likewise, someone writing historical fiction needs to know about the happenings of that time. You must go even further in-depth if writing about particular time periods, like the Oregon Trail or any war.

Know and know. One is something you have detailed knowledge of due to everyday life. The other is knowledge gained from research for your book. Don’t let the first one trip you up and hold you back.

3. Write What You Love and What Piques Your Interest

It doesn’t work to write what you hate. It really doesn’t. If you hate fantasy, don’t write it. If you hate writing about a certain period in history, don’t write about it. Instead, tap into your passions. This will only increase your desire to write. My mom loves historical romance and suspense, so that’s what she writes. I love history, mythology, and weaponry, so I incorporate those into my fantasy manuscripts. You will never catch my mom writing speculative fiction, and I will never begin a suspense novel. That’s okay. Write about topics you are interested in, topics that help fan the flame of creativity.

4. Plan – Part One

Beginning a book is more than opening a word document and typing “Chapter One”. You need to know your characters. You need to know your world. This is not to say you must know every detail about your MCs, or every unique plant if you’re writing speculative fiction, but have in mind general appearance, personality, and your world’s flora and fauna.

Planning can be accomplished through various methods, which include beginning a Pinterest board dedicated to your WIP or pasting pictures and links into a word document easily accessed as you write. Incorporate music for characters and scenes and aesthetics/pictures that provide inspiration, like scenery or clothing. I draw a map before I begin a WIP so I know where my characters are going and where each clan or kingdom is located.

5. Plan – Part Two

Word count. That haunting, daunting, and bone-chilling phrase that taunts writers as they frantically pound the keyboard. To ease the burden of fretting about word count, plan. Set a goal for daily, weekly, and monthly aspirations. Planners are delightful for this aspect of writing. For each day, set a word count you’d like to achieve. Don’t make it unreasonable, and while I can guarantee you won’t reach it every day, try the best you can. This will hold you accountable and keep you from getting off track.

This does come with a warning. Don’t let this control your drive for writing and limit your word count gain. If you have the time and mental ability to surpass your daily goal, go for it.

6. Tough Times will Occur – Be Kind to Yourself

Dry spells happen for multiple reasons. Emotional and/or physical exhaustion. Life’s unwanted interference. Et cetera. It is beyond difficult when your plot, word, and idea wells run dry. This does not mean you are no longer a writer. It simply means you are in a dry spell. I’m recovering from one as I write this. Ended my fourth completed manuscript in March where, subsequently thereafter, my mind went blank. I just again received true writing inspiration on December 30th.

This is okay. This is acceptable. This means you are now a writer. Words will not endlessly flow. They must be fought for, suffered for. Dry spells are not uncommon, and every writer, no matter their experience, suffers from them.

7. Seek Words of Wisdom

I’ve been going through a rough time for writing, partially due to the dry spell mentioned above. Another major part is self-doubt, something else every writer experiences. Is my writing good enough? Will others like it? Am I even qualified to write? What if I receive another rejection – what then?

This is why it is so important to find mentors. They don’t have to be writers or authors, although that is certainly helpful. They can be friends over the internet, relatives, or people at church. I was speaking with a dear, Godly woman at church last Sunday when she asked about my writing. She imparted these words of wisdom: “If God gave you the ability, He will help you accomplish it”. Likewise, my mom has repeatedly told me, “God’s given you this passion. Don’t stilt it. He will always use it, just maybe not in the way you think”.

These words of wisdom came at the right times and hit me like a punch to the gut. Mentors are beyond important. They impart wisdom and encouragement, and genuinely want you to succeed.

Writing will always have its difficulties, but don’t let them deter you from sticking with it. Resolve to keep your New Year’s Resolution. Seek mentors and their words of wisdom. Have patience and plan before beginning your manuscript. Write about your passions, your interests. What what you love to read.

If your New Year’s Resolution was to begin writing, I’d love to hear about it. Best of luck on your writing journey!

Other posts pertaining to this topic:

Advice for Beginning Writers

When Motivation Goes on Strike

Free Resources for Writers


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