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10 Things New Writers Need to Know

10 Rules for Young WritersThere’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 full article here, or see my 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.

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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.

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[Typewriter image from Shutterstock.]

Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 592 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

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