- Write the stories you want to read.
Don’t worry about what others will–or might–think.
- Read everything
Fiction, nonfiction, books outside your genre–read it all.
- Learn to read critically
The best way to learn how to be a better writer is to examine how the authors you love write. How do they show emotion? How do they describe action scenes? What kind of language do they use?
- Fan fiction is valid
Fan fiction is a great way to explore other worlds, hone your craft, and get feedback on your writing. It can also help you built confidence, make a habit of writing, and help you get used to writing on deadlines–after all, you can’t leave your readers hanging.
- Talk to other writers
This goes back to number three, but talk to other writers and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can learn a lot about the business, how others work, and make a lot of friends in the process!
- Educate yourself
I don’t just mean researching your subject matter. I mean researching the industry. What does an agent do? How does a book go from your hands to the shelves of a bookstore?
More importantly, however, learn how you work best. Are you a plotter? A pantser? Do you work best in the morning? Do you have to write your first draft long hand?
- Learn to take–and give–constructive criticism
This is something all writers need to do, unless you want what you’ve written to stay hidden in a drawer forever. Post fan fiction or original fiction online. Join a critique group (online or in person). Find a critique partner or beta reader. Just find someone (other than your mom) to read your work and give you honest, critical feedback. Not just what you can fix, but also what you’re doing right.
Like what you see? Check out The Writing Process, Part I: Introduction