One Thing I Wish I Knew When I Started Writing

Today I’m participating in the Teens Can Write Too blog chain for July.


The title is a lie, people. I’m going to talk about more than one thing because I’m just multi-talented like that. Here we go.


First drafts suck.

No, really, take it from me. I am the Supreme Goddess of Writing. If I had known this when I was a tiny young writer, I would have been a lot less arrogant. No, you are not the exception to the rule. Your first draft will not be perfect. Like the rest of us mere mortals, you have to rewrite. For me, that usually means the whole novel *whimpers quietly*. Even if your first drafts are less of a mess than mine, they will need extensive revision.


Teen writing does not suck. Beginning writing does.

Just realised I’ve used “sucks” in the first two of these. Oh well. Anyway, there is this misconception that teen writers suck at writing, which is just untrue. Any beginning writing sucks. Like anything, it takes practise. Sure, some may be better at it than others to begin with, but even those people need determination and perseverence in order to…not suck.


There is a whole community of writers out there on the interwebs.

Twitter is your best friend. Seriously. There are SO MANY writers on Twitter it’s not even funny. And I’ve learnt a bunch from other writers. Whether it’s from pitch contests, blog posts or Tweet-sized tips on writing, there’s so much there that’s helpful. I wish I’d had Twitter when I first started writing.


Writing is hard. But that’s no excuse.

You may not want to write every day. You may want to cry. Frequently. You may blame writer’s block as the excuse for not writing, but you just have to push through it. The only way to defeat writer’s block is to write. Or to write a different scene. But if you keep making excuses for not writing, you’ll never do it.


It’s all worth it.

I wish I had known this as well – that no matter how hard it gets, no matter how bad you think your writing is, there will come a day when you read back some of your work and you think…hey, that’s not too bad. And you think…hey, I wrote that. If you can read back your writing and not want to scratch your eyeballs out, then that’s pretty awesome.

And for me, it’s all worth it.


And here are the rest of the lovely people participating in the blog chain! You should definitely check them all out. And tell me in the comments: if you’re a writer, what’s one thing you wish you knew when you started out?

5th –

6th –

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21st –

22nd –

23rd –

24th – – The topic for August’s blog chain will be announced.

10 thoughts on “One Thing I Wish I Knew When I Started Writing

  1. I wish I’d known this too. 😦 I wish I’d known A LOT before I started writing (although I wonder if it’s because I know things now that I struggle to write??! lol!) Most particularly I’m still learning the different that teen writers don’t suck…beginning writers do. I’ve read a lot of books published by teen authors this year and most have failed to impress me. I’m sitting here judging we teen authors as a whole, but really: it’s debut authors. Sometimes they’re just not as good! But doesn’t meant the next book won’t be brilliant, right? Practise. Anyway….love this post so much.

  2. This is an awesome post, Emily — and so, so true! I wrote my first full-length novel when I was twelve. I thought it was awesome. It sucked. It was truly horrendous. Like sometimes I go back to that first draft and literally wince at some of the words I’ve written. But you’re completely right — in order to become a better writer, you need practice, practice, practice! Essentially, I needed to write that first novel to know that I sucked, so than in later drafts and subsequent novels, I could learn how to revise and write better. 🙂

  3. I actually published my post for the blog chain on the same day as you. Ugh. Time zones are so confusing. I agree that first drafts suck. I recently realized that in my first draft, I suddenly dropped this character that was supposed to show up again but never showed up, I completely forgot about rescuing another character, and my characters have only eaten two times in the story. Worse yet, all they’ve eaten is cereal and raw fish! I’m sure there are many other mistakes, but I have to fight the urge to edit and realize that it’s just a first draft and I can fix it later. And yes, I also agree that it is all worth it. I haven’t finished a novel yet, but I’ve finished plenty of short stories and essays, and I know the satisfaction of sitting back and thinking “Did I really just write that? That’s really good!”. I remember in school we had to do a timed writing and afterwards, I thought I did horrible. However, I think that that was just my nerves and the fact that I had to rush to finish it that made me think that, because when I got it back, I read it and I found that it was actually pretty good and I had gotten a perfect score.

  4. ummm..
    so the fact that I despised the stuff I wrote for NaNoWriMo is not my fault? And that everyone’s first drafts suck? That makes me feel infinitely better. I think this year, NaNoWriMo may be funner (since I actually have a proper story planned). But I may just come out hating what I wrote.. AGAIN. All that effort for nothing *sigh*.

  5. I love all of these, especially the last. 🙂 For me, knowing there is a writing community online is a major double-edged sword. On one hand, AWESOMEWRITERPEOPLE to help with critiques and inspiration and general support. But on the other hand, it means so much procrastination. I remember how I wrote my first novel, a solid 75k words, in like three weeks because I had no idea this internet community existed. Now I spend all my time procrastinating writing online (DAMN YOU, TWITTER). But it’s so true–it’s all worth it in the end.

  6. Pingback: This Week: Much NaNoWriMo, Very School | The Loony Teen Writer

  7. All these points are so true. When I wrote my first novel, I did not know number one and actually sent it to a couple of relatives with very very minor revisions (face palm). I’m just glad that was the only novel I let them read.

  8. Pingback: Writing, Revising and Character Development Advice For Teens | More Than Just a Girl – Fierce Femme

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