As many of you may know, I’m an editor and content writer in addition to being a self-published author. And as with many things in life, I’ve met a lot of people and interacted with a lot of different kinds of literary media in these capacities. But what I’ve seen in all these situations, is that so many mistakes are repeated. Why is that, you may ask? Well, that’s because there’s still a lesson that must be learned (be it in writing, or in living). And I’d argue that both of those are equally important in different ways.
That’s why this month, I wanted to share a few lessons I’ve learned with patterns I’m intentionally avoiding repeating. This isn’t to call out anyone or anything in particular; I just wanted to share what I’ve experienced to possibly give someone else a heads-up and boost ahead in the right direction (which, is also totally subjective, but I digress).
#1: Don’t assume that you know what you’re doing.
Hey, still trust your gut – but don’t be so full of it that you can’t tell your butt from your elbow, ya know? You might have the best intentions with your manuscript. There’s a great concept, and you have this innovative new style of writing that you’re passionate about. But then you meet an editor like me who tells you that writing an entire story in 2nd person (“you…”) is a crazy idea. Before you shrug and say you don’t care, take the time to learn why a professional like me might say that.
And as for life, look for patterns. If you notice that you always end up in the same undesirable place, re-trace your steps until you figure out what might be causing that. It doesn’t mean you keep messing up, but there may be a better path to get where you want to go. So don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled – you might find yourself somewhere pretty great. I learned recently that my mindset in relationships makes it hard for me to connect with people sometimes because it’s hard for me to take things slow and stay present. But that’s something I’m working on, and I can say that I’m already feeling more confident and better than ever.
#2: Don’t get locked into one concept too early.
Life takes time to develop, and so does your manuscript. The key is being ready to pivot to take everything into account. If you find yourself stuck on one idea, you might really miss out on the next great thing. Be ready to change things up whenever inspiration strikes. This could be as simple as adding or removing a new character, or working in a dramatic plot twist that adds immeasurable value to the story as a whole.
When things happen to you that you didn’t expect, it can be tempting to wallow and cry about it. Instead, look at challenges like opportunities to grow into your best self. Find your mojo again by joining a gym, trying a new sport, or taking up that hobby you’ve been dreaming about for months. The world is your oyster (although I admittedly have never fully grasped what that means, it seems to fit nicely here). Just be ready for anything and jump when the time is right. You don’t have to force it, you’ll just know.
#3: Don’t get lost in the noise.
The drawback to taking the above advice, is that you run the risk of losing your vision in the process. What causes that is a good old-fashioned case of forgetting what you’re working toward in the first place. Whether you have a huge dream in life to be a rockstar, or join the local fire department keeping your community safe, you gotta chase that. Sure, things in life sometimes happen to make that tougher, but that’s no reason necessarily to give it up. But sometimes it is.
What I’m trying to say here is that you gotta know what you want, and what you’re willing to give up to get it. The minute the scale tips in an imbalanced direction, you might have to pivot. You get what I mean? Nothing in life (and very few things in writing) are totally black-and-white. So much of it is a lovely shade of gray, and it’s up to you to balance light and dark in equal doses.
Hopefully this little rant helped you learn a few things about life and writing. But even if it didn’t, thank you for reading this far anyway. I hope you have a wonderful journey wherever you’re going, and that maybe our paths will continue to cross.
Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok @angelinasingerauthor if this resonated with you 🙂