What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Janice Lierz People will offer you mountains of advice. Some of it will be excellent. Some of it won’t. Here’s the crux of what you’ll hear: You must read; you must write; and you must study the craft of storytelling and writing. Of course you should read to understand what moves you. And there are plenty of books and workshops that teach our craft. Some teachers are talented; some aren’t. I’ve studied with both. Yes, read and study the craft, but the key for any writer is to keep writing. If I could go back ten years, here’s what I’d tell myself: Get off your butt and climb that mountain. Don’t let fear stop you in your tracks. Sure, you have a bunch of excuses why you can’t or don’t write. Don’t let self-imposed boulders stop you. When you’re stuck, write. When you think you have nothing to say, write. When people throw rocks, duck and keep writing. When you don’t like what you’ve written, write some more. Don’t expect to be perfect. None of us are. And don’t let gatekeepers stop you. Anyone who takes risks is bound to attract people whose aim is to knock you down or block you. Ignore them. Go around them. You have nothing to prove to them. This is your mountain. Move forward one step at a time. Trust your gut. Don’t write about the world ending just because others tell you to. Don’t write a love story that ends happily ever after because that’s “the formula.” Write your story. Write what moves you. If it moves you, I’m betting it will move other people, too. So tell me your story. Climb your mountain, because only you can know what it looks, smells, sounds, and tastes like, how it feels underneath your feet. Have faith that others will want to go there with you, too.
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