Writers on Writing: Your Past You

Post From the Past: 5/23/2016 (originally published on Inject Creativity blog)

If you could give career advice to your younger self, what would you say?

Mercedes M. Yardley: Follow the path you’re taking. Working for a magazine is terrifying and you’ll feel horribly unqualified, but it will fast-track your career. You’ll learn how to thicken your skin and what works in a story. Stop stressing so badly, and breathe a bit. You’ll love it.

Jonathan Janz: Better days are ahead. Stop worrying so much about everything and try to enjoy yourself. Yes, you should listen to those who really know what they’re talking about, but stop listening to everyone. People love to give advice about the craft, but the fact is, if they truly knew what they were talking about, they’d be more successful in the business because they’d apply their own advice and have success with it.

Brian Hodge: Write even more. Don’t be such an anal-retentive perfectionist, and give yourself permission to suck on drafts that nobody will ever see. Network more. Come up with better coping mechanisms for times of depression and despair. Take time management seriously earlier on, and don’t waste so much of it. Take up weightlifting and meditation and yoga and martial arts sooner, because these things will make you more effective and resilient at everything.

Jasper Bark: When I was in my late teens I watched an interview with the then Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman. He was a very old at the time of the interview and, for some reason, they pushed him to the top of a grassy hill in his wheel chair. The interviewer asked him if he had any regrets? “Yes,” he replied with a wry smile. “Not having enough sex.” This had a great impression on me as a young man. I hated the idea of reaching my dotage and wishing I’d had more sex. As a consequence, my twenties and early thirties were a time of hedonistic overkill. Some time in my late thirties I had an intimation of mortality. I wondered what I would regret most if I died at that point. As it happened, I realised that the thought: “gee I wish I’d taken more drugs and had more cheap, meaningless sex,” would never cross my mind. Instead, it occurred to me that what I’d really think is: “I wish I’d written more.”

So that’s my advice to my younger, sluttish self’ ‘write more’. Put down that bong, put your clothes back on and go and write. In fact that’s probably the only advice I could give. Publishing has changed so utterly and irrevocably since I became a journalist in my twenties and an author in my thirties, that I might as well try giving writing advice to Homer or Euripides. As it happens, ‘write more’, may not be bad advice for the ancient Greeks either.

Kealan Patrik Burke: Always get paid for your work, and don’t publish it before it’s ready. Be patient.

This Blogger: Get writing sooner! Force yourself to learn self-control and use it to be more productive with all that free time you had before you had a kid.

(Originally Posted 23rd May 2016 by The Horror Librarian)

For author bios, take a look at the first question in the series.

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