10 Things Writers should know


There’s only so long you can coast on that first burst of writerly inspiration. Then, if you’re serious about writing, reality sets in — and the work begins.

For the novices, Michael Nye of The Missouri Review put together a list of things young writers should know from the start. For folks who’ve been writing a while, it never hurts to be reminded of these rules — as they can just as easily apply to experienced writers.

Check out the summary below.

10 things emerging writers should be aware of early in their career

1. Talent is overrated. Hard work and dedication are the keys to success.

2. Don’t be in a rush to publish. Anyone can write. Take your time and get it right!

3. Force yourself to be social. Even in the internet age, handshakes and in-person hellos are important.

4. Make the time. It’s not easy— but make the time to read and write every day.

5. Own up to your mistakes. Be honest with yourself about your writing. Don’t get defensive. Fix stuff that needs fixing.

6. Don’t waste time reading stuff that you hate. But DO throw the book across the room.

7. Build a network that is large AND strong. Your reputation matters. Connections matter.

8. You need at least 3 mentors. They will show you the way — even if you’re only imaging what their solution would be to a problem.

9. Imitate your idols — unless they’re jerks. This is another way of giving yourself creative options for particular writing or professional problems.

10. Read more books. Don’t forget what inspired you in the first place. Go back to the source.


What rules would you add to this list? Anything you wish you could tell a younger version of yourself? Let me know in the comments section below.


9 thoughts on “10 Things Writers should know

  1. Damn. My first comment evaporated. The gist of it was that I’d never seen a list until this one that included finding mentors. I am curious as to your take on how that is accomplished.


    • Mentors come from all walks in life. They don’t have to necessarily be a writer. One of my mentors is writer and the other a prof of Edwardian Lit. Anyone that fills you with inspiration. I think they make the best mentors. Thanks for your comment!
      All My Best,


  2. All good points. Number one is very true. The writer needs to write and write and write. It is that hard work that makes the writer not really the talent. Talent doesn’t get a novel finished, really. Only hard work and dedication does.


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