advice to my younger writer self

I don’t know where this question popped or even why, but it did, and it’s been bouncing around my head all day: what advice would I give to my younger writer self?

For a long time I thought it’d be: relax. you’ll get there.

Now, with the forward and unstoppable motion of time, I can’t think of a single piece of writing advice worthy of sending backwards.

There’s a few honorable mentions, in the hopes I wouldn’t make the mistakes I did. But that’s the thing about mistakes–they’re the best way to learn.

Get feedback sooner. It’ll be humiliating and awful no matter how long you wait.

Finish what you start.

Write faster drafts. You’re gonna change most of it anyway.

Don’t write words, tell stories.

All good advice (I hope). And yet if I could time travel back fifteen years (or even five, when I opened up that word processor with the intent of writing and selling a novel), I can’t imagine myself talking about authorship.

How about: Self-care. Do it. Do it now. Depression isn’t mandatory. 

Or: Hey you’re actually gluten intolerant so cut the wheat and feel better. I know it sounds crazy. You’re actually sick, you just don’t know it yet. Trust me–you can still bake awesome cookies.

Because honestly, those things have helped me become a better writer because they’ve made living so much easier, and I feel like an idiot that I waited until I was thirty-something to make those changes. That’s a lot of my life only half-lived. There’s no getting that back.

Oh, wait! I have another one. Start journaling. Set goals every week and learn to keep them. You’ll be amazed by the results.

What advice would you give to your younger writer self?

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