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So You Want Some Writing Advice?

Anarion

By Anarion

Atlin Merrick asked me what kind of encouragement or advice I'd offer unpublished writers, and it took me a while, but here are the two things that were important for me.

Writing Advice 1: Choose your friends wisely

writing advice hands

Most of us don't work in a vacuum. We want feedback. Yes, I write what I want to read, and my writing brings me joy even when nobody else reads it, I even tend to forget to post once the story is out of my brain and real life gets in the way.

But!

It is glorious when someone you love gets excited about your art. Yes, comments from people I don't know are nice, especially in the beginning when I felt like I wasn't doing very well (and wasn't, I was still very much learning), but I most enjoy having my loved ones enjoy what I wrote. Like, Atlin once hit me out of excitement for a story. My dad cried because he was so touched by one. Verity wept tears laughing. Rox is always like "Are you doing it? Have you done it?" whenever I mention a new story idea.

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It makes me feel that what I do is also important to other people.

I guess my point is: Find people who encourage you to go on, even when it gets hard or you get stuck. Find people who ask after your art. "Hey, how is your writing?" or "Hey, are you still working on that story?"

Writing Advice 2: Find someone who inspires you

In that regard I guess I was just incredibly lucky. I found fandom before I got published. Lots of things and people have inspired me in small ways, but fandom, I don't know, it's different. For one, me and my fandom friends come up with the best ideas to get me writing (a 221b a day, picture prompts), but it's more than that.

I could have had the biggest writer's block but as soon as I was with Atlin or Rox or Verity, it was gone. I think part of it is that whenever I see them, I step out of my every day life and there is more space in my brain for other stuff, but also, I don't know, the writing part of my brain seems to fire up whenever it sees them.

A Murmuring of Bees, ed. Atlin MerrickIn short my advice to other writers is this: Find something or someone to inspire you. That can be fandom, an online community, a loved one, heck even your cat!

Anarion specialises in writing 221Bs, short stories of two hundred and twenty-one words, the final word beginning with B. Her stories have appeared in Improbable Press' A Murmuring of Bees.
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