Friday, July 20, 2012

Guest Post with Australian Writer Lynda R.Young

Today, I have one of my earliest blog buddies, Australian writer Lynda R. Young on my blog. Lynda was the first person to read the first chapter of the manuscript I am querying. I had won the first chapter critique on her blog. She urged me to find a crit partner. Its thanks to her critique and encouragement that I had the courage to seek crit partners.

Firstly, I'd like to thank Rachna for inviting me to appear on her blog. I've known Rachna through blogging for a couple of years now. It's a great honour. Despite the title, this post is not only about writing, it's about gaining the confidence to do the things you want to do in life, and do them well.

How to Trust Yourself as a Writer

Learn the Rules: Whatever it is in life you want to do, you'll first need to learn how to do it. The same goes for writing. Sure, anyone can string a few sentences together and call it writing, but not everyone can do it well. Learning the craft will give you the confidence to be the writer you want to be.

Find Support: Find a supportive writing group, a family member who believes in you, a friend who will cheer you on. Keep going back to these people to find the encouragement you will need. They will keep you positive in the face of rejections. They'll hold you up and tell you the words you need to hear, such as: Yes you made the right decision to pursue writing. Yes you can do this.

Don't stay in isolation: Writers tend to have a distorted view of their work. We fluctuate from thinking our work is pure genius, to thinking our work is dog's body. Critique partners, beta readers, editors, and mentors will help to give us a clearer picture of our work. And they will help to improve our work, which in turn will give us confidence. The more we share our work, the easier it becomes.

Be Realistic: Give yourself realistic, achievable, measurable goals and your confidence will remain high. The moment you start getting unrealistic, like thinking you'll become the next J K Rowlings, is the moment you've set yourself up for a fall.

Don't compare yourself to others: because your work will never measure up.  Why? Because you'll never be able to write like someone else, and neither should you try. Everyone is different. Everyone will take their own time to reach their goals. Comparing yourself to how fast others reach their goals will only hurt you.

Write everyday: The more you grow accustomed to the habit of writing, the easier it becomes. And the more you write, the more you'll improve and grow in confidence. If you can't write every single day, then at least try to write regularly.

Remember to enjoy what you do: When I enjoy doing something, I worry less about the little things associated with it. When I remember to enjoy my writing I don't get bogged down with worrying whether or not my words will measure up. My writing is a gazillion times better when I let go and fall in love with the process.

What helps you to trust your writing?

 P.S. For those of you who have not yet met Lynda, you can always meet her at her blog. She has a wonderful blog, full of great writing advice and tips.


  1. Thank you so much, Rachna, for inviting me to post on your blog. I really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this great blog you've created :)

  2. Excellent tips! I really wish some writers would follow tip #1 before they go onto the publishing wagon ...

    I'm very much in the isolated writer camp at the moment, though I really need to get out of that soon.

    Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

  3. These different perspectives are helpful and your blog serves the purpose very well, Rachna !

  4. We need the encouragement of others. We'd never do it otherwise!
    Excellent advice, Lynda.

  5. @ Lynda, its a pleasure Lyn, to have you on my blog.

    @ Jamie, I wish I had followed tip #1 before I jumped onto the publishing bandwagon. I did not know any rules, when I started writing.

    @ Rahul, I am glad that you enjoyed the post. Lynda has a wonderful blog.

    @ Alex, agree with you that other writers' encouragement and support is important. As is their crucial feedback regarding our stories.

  6. Great advice. My main appraoch is 'you learn by doing' which includes a healthy dose of failing.


  7. These are great tips Lynda. Thank you!

  8. I agree with this last. So many people lose when they compare themselves with others. Each manuscript is so different--one person's success isn't the cause of my failure. And I've been much happier since I began writing nearly everyday.

  9. great tips, Lyndy!
    And I'd so put a long, glamorous red carpet hairdo on that pretty face of yours :)

  10. I began to trust my writing when I wrote daily, and eventually received feedback that made me realize I was heading in the right direction. I do find that words roll from me when I am excited about the topic! This is a helpful post. Thanks!

  11. You really have some great points here. I know that my writing has improved since I started writing everyday. Also, having great writing friends online has kept me going. Thanks for this post!

  12. Lynda, Very good list. You do need to learn the craft of writing and learn how to use the words to paint pictures and emotions. More than stringing words.


  13. All great tips, Lynda!

    The more you practice and learn about the craft, the more confident you become.

    For me, trusting my writing means to follow my heart as I write...

  14. Yes. Practice makes better. Believing in your stories helps and yourself.

    Good post, Lynda!



  15. What a great list of advise. One thing I'd add has to do with writing every day. Yes, I know most writers and writing instructors stress the absolute importance of putting posterior in chair to write every single day, but accepting that as gospel can backfire on us, too. Skip a day, feel like a fraud. Miss two or three, and feel like an utter failure. Can't do it every day? Might as well quit altogether. Most of us have more than enough self-doubts, as evidenced in your comment about sometimes suspecting our work is "dog's body". (Great way to put it!) So I think we should all make an effort to dedicate writing time every day, but it's foolish to let failure to meet those daily intentions derail our work. We have to cut ourselves some slack, and realize that life has a way of interfering with our intentions at times. And sometimes, we simply NEED to take a break in order to gain perspective.

  16. Yes, yes, Lynda these are such great points. Also I have learned that successful people never give up on themselves. Great post Lynda & Rachna.

  17. Support is essential, and good critique partners. Having a talent for writing and learning to write fiction are not the same thing ... so we all learn along the way. It's important to be open to learning even when we think we know something.

  18. Great article with excellent advice! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Sound advice, straightforwardly put. I have to say that the one about being JK Rowling made me laugh because that's what every blinking person seems to say to me if I mention I'm a writer! Sorry, but I don't WANT to be! Which leads into your next point, of course...

    And I definitely agree about not being able to clearly see your own work. I have no clue about it. Outside eyes are indispenable!

  20. Jamie, ha, yeah #1 shouldn't be underestimated.

    Rahul, I agree, Rachna's blog great

    Alex, so, so true. Thanks.

    Rachna, hugs

    Mooderino, Good approach. I'm a strong believer that no writing goes wasted.

    Heather, thanks

    Theresa, it's amazing how much of a difference writing close to every day makes.

    Dezzy, Ha! I used to have a long hairdo. It takes too much time to look after!! I'm too busy writing to bother ;)

    Liza, yes, tapping into that excitement on a project bolsters the confidence.

    Clarissa, writing friends are so important for that much needed support and encouragement.

    Sia, exactly! Words are magic if we know how to weild them.

    Loree, yes, following your heart does a lot for a writer because it means they are writing the stories only they can write, and those are the ones that will stand out.

    Shelly, Exactly. Thanks.

    Susan, absolutely. In short, we need to be kind to ourselves. Well said.

    Madeleine, so true.

    Mary, oh yes, I agree. I actually think that talented writers are one step behind, because there's a tendancy to rely on that talent alone. Big mistake.

    Sherry, thanks

    Nick, lol, yeah, I've had that too. I have to laugh.

  21. Superb advice. Follow it, and it's difficult to see what more one could do.

  22. Great post!

    A lot of my trust in my writing comes from belief in myself. Then of course, critiques also help me. :-D

  23. These are excellent tips. My critique partners and the writing community have helped me so much. Sometimes I feel quite alone in my little office, but I just have to hop online and you're all out there. :)

  24. It's easy for me to fall into the comparison trap. Thanks for the reminder that we will never write like someone else. God has made us unique!

  25. Great post. Just what I needed to hear today.

  26. Wonderful tips, Lynda! I have lots of online critique partners. I moved away from my face to face partner. I've found some people where I live now that write, but they don't have the skills my other cp's have.

  27. Great tips. I'm learning to trust the little voice inside. The more I trust it, the less I have to revise. I still have to edit, but grand revisions are becoming fewer.

  28. Great post, especially the part about being realistic. I think that the fact that so many aspiring writers are unrealistic (they expect instant publication, movie deals, crowds at their booksignings every time) is why so many of them quit. And I think that a lot of them don't even enjoy writing; instead, they write because of those unrealistic goals.

  29. Dave, all we can do is our best and our best is always a little better when we have confidence.

    Misha,critiques are invaluable.

    Christine, gotta love this writing community!

    Jarm, He has indeed! So let's celebrate that.

    Tonja, thanks. Hope it helps

    Sharon, yes, it's crucial to find a CP with the skills to critique. Not everyone has that skill.

    Carol, yes, not needing to make as many huge revisions makes writing so much easier.

    Workaholic, well said. That's unfortunately so true.

    Richard, thanks.

  30. Love your tips Lynda, especially the 'Don't stay in isolation' one. It can get you down going through it alone:)

  31. Hi Rachna and Lynda!

    Great advice--no comparisons, write, enjoy the gift...thank you for the reminder!

    Blessings right back! :)

  32. So many of these tips are such good reminders. Learning the rules does make you more confident in what you're doing (as well as improving the work), and comparison to others is deadly to creativity. Writing regularly, yes. It's so crucial to keeping those channels open. But you said it all so concisely. Thanks, Rachna, for inviting Lynda. I always look forward to reading your blog.

  33. It's great to see Lynda here! Thanks, Rachna, for hosting her. These are great points, ones that writers at any level should review from time to time.

  34. Thankyou! Great post. Very encouraging. Xx

  35. Cheryl, it's always good to be reminded.

    Elizabeth, it all interconnects, each element has an impact on our writing and our confidence.

    Karen, regular review is a good thing because sometimes we can get settled.

    Michelle, thanks :)

  36. Such incredible advice to be had here. Soaked it up like a sponge. Thanks for having Lynda over on your blog, Rachna. :)

  37. Enjoy what you do. The best advice. How sad to write if you hated it. Great tips Lynda. Thanks for hosting Lynda, Rachna.

  38. Excellent, excellent advice. Thanks Lynda and Rachna!

  39. 'The moment you start getting unrealistic, like thinking you'll become the next J K Rowlings, is the moment you've set yourself up for a fall.'

    So glad I'm not the only one who does this ....


  40. It's great seeing Lynda here.

    I've struggled with all these points and for the most part have come to term with them all. My biggest problem was writing in isolation. For many years I didn't go to conferences and was unaware of critique groups around me. I've seen my writing change so much from other people's input and support.

  41. Sorry I missed this on Friday. Very helpful insightful advice on writing and a great spotlight post.

    Rachna, thank you so much for following my blog. I'm sorry I'm so late in commenting here. My schedule has been crazy. :)

  42. Hi friends, thanks for the visit and chiming in with your views. Lynda's advice is spot on, unrealistic expectations are a huge cause of our unhappiness, as is not learning the rules. Writing a little everyday is a great way to get closer to our goals that is a complete manuscript.

  43. I love this.
    Encouraging and sound advice for writers from all walks of life...
    Thanks for sharing!

  44. Fantastic advice! I especially like "Don't compare yourself to others." Everyone has unique skills and abilities to bring to his or her own writing.

  45. Happy Birthday, Rachna, hope it's the right day!

  46. Thanks, Carole. Yes, you got the day right :)

  47. As usual, great information here. Good straightforward, no-nonsense tips; Thanks Lynda.

  48. David, thanks for your kind words. Hope it helps.

    Denise, I can't even imagine not enjoying the writing process. I'd have quit years ago if I didn't enjoy it.

    Lydia, thanks

    Suze, hehehe, yeah, I think every writer entertains those thoughts at some point.

    Medeia, isn't it amazing how it all changes when we step out from isolation?

    Melissa & Michelle, thanks so much

    Cynthia, that's one of the crucial ones because it's so easy to do.

    Anthony, thanks so much :)

    And once again, a huge thanks to Rachna.