What I Wish I Would Know When I Started Writing Fiction

I’ve been writing fiction for over 15 years, but I didn’t become a full-time freelance writer until the middle of 2018. Before that, I worked as an editor at a small publishing house and wrote when I could. The thing is, writing fiction was always my passion I never imagined that it would also be my job, so when it did happen it was very exciting! 

But along with the excitement came challenges: challenges like learning how to manage my time better so that I could write more consistently; challenges like figuring out how to edit effectively while also doing everything else that goes into publishing books (marketing them and promoting them).

And challenges like learning how to handle rejection gracefully while still feeling discouraged by it sometimes…and those are just some examples!

In this blog post (and two others), we’ll explore more about what it takes to get published as both an author who writes fiction and as someone who works behind the scenes making sure their work gets out there into the world. 

We’ll look at some of these things together through the lens of someone who hasn’t yet made her dream come true but knows she wants to try again someday soon!

How to Start Writing a Book ✍️ The 8 Things I Wish I Knew
Key Takeaways
1. Embrace Imperfection: Understand that first drafts don’t have to be perfect; the magic happens during revision.
2. Consistent Writing Routine: Establish a regular writing schedule to build momentum and creativity.
3. Seek Constructive Feedback: Value feedback from peers and mentors to refine your writing skills.
4. Character Depth Matters: Develop well-rounded characters with depth, motivations, and arcs.
5. Persistence Pays Off: Keep writing, learning, and growing, as success often comes from perseverance.

Money Doesn’t Buy Love

Money can’t buy happiness. It can, however, buy a lot of things that make life easier. For example:

Hot tubs. They are expensive but they are also pretty great and I wish I had one right now!

Roombas! I don’t even have to vacuum my apartment anymore because this robot does it for me! It’s amazing.

Also, if you’re ever in the market for some new furniture or home goods (or if you just want to spruce up your space), then there are plenty of websites where people sell their used furniture for cheap often cheaper than retail stores would charge for it now!

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Self-Editing Is Hard

It’s hard to be objective about your work. It’s easy to get caught up in the details of your story and forget that those details are what make it great. It’s easy to think that one more sentence will make all the difference between an amazing book and a mediocre one when it really won’t (and if you’re over editing, this can hurt). 

And ultimately, it’s hard to know whether or not the story you’ve written is good enough or if publishing it would just be a waste of time and energy for everyone involved.

Rewrite Like An Editor, Not A Writer

Rewriting is often a painful process, but it’s also a skill that can be learned. The first time you rewrite something, you may have to do it in one sitting. You might have to go back and fix everything at once. As you become more practiced at rewriting, though, you will find yourself making small improvements all along the way.

As an editor and writer myself, I find myself rewriting all the time whether during my initial draft or after my book has been published for readers to read for themselves. 

Sometimes I need help with this skill; there are times when I don’t know how to fix problems myself (and am too proud). When this happens, I reach out to beta readers or hire an editor who knows what they’re doing (and isn’t me).

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Know The Story Is Important, Even If It’s Not Perfect

When I started writing fiction, I thought the most important thing was to learn how to write and edit. After all, that’s what makes a book good, right? Not really. Knowing the story is more important than knowing how to write or edit. Knowing the story is more important than knowing the business side of things such as publishing and marketing your book. 

If you don’t know what happens in your story, no amount of editing or publishing will help you write a great book. And if your characters aren’t well developed or believable (and they must be both), no amount of marketing will sell your books either. 

Writing fiction requires many different skills both technical ones like grammar and spelling as well as storytelling ones like characterization and plot development but at its core, it needs an idea that pulls the reader through from start to finish with increasing interest until they turn those last pages feeling satisfied by what they have read. 

Satisfied because you have succeeded at making them care about these fictional people who live only within those pages but who are real enough for us readers because we recognize ourselves in them; because we feel their joys and sorrows; because we want to know what happens next as much as our own lives depend on it!

There Are No Givens When It Comes To Publishing

There are no guarantees. There are no rules, just guidelines that have been passed down through the generations by smart people like me who’ve been doing this for a long time. 

You’ll read about how to write your first novel in five easy steps and feel good about yourself, but then you’ll go out on your own and start writing something else and realize that there’s no way I could know enough about what’s going on in your head right now for me to be able to tell you what would work there and if I did know, wouldn’t I just be writing YOUR book?

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Don’t Be Afraid Of Rejections

Rejection is a fact of life as a writer, but it doesn’t mean that your submission was bad. Even if you get 50 rejections, that’s a good sign! It means you are getting closer to finding the right publisher for your work. And when you do find that perfect fit? Don’t be discouraged by rejection from other publishers it’s just business, after all.

Try Not To Beat Yourself Up Over Rejections

Writing fiction can be hard work, and it’s important to remember that you’re not the only person involved. Your editor is another person who has opinions and needs to meet deadlines. You may need to balance their needs with your own, but they should never take precedence over your writing, or you’ll end up resenting them instead of working together.

When a rejection comes, I try to remind myself that this is my job I’m supposed to write stories; when people respond negatively (or positively), it’s because I’ve done my job well enough for them to feel something about it. 

If a piece of writing makes someone feel something powerful enough for them not only to have an opinion about it but also go so far as to take action based on their reaction, then I’ve done what I set out to do: make someone feel something through words on paper. 

If those words aren’t necessarily positive or negative (though sometimes they are), then so be it! This means that there’s something good happening here and maybe just maybe one day soon someone will love everything about what I wrote back then too.

You can’t get better at everything overnight, but reading a lot of similar books will help you recognize common elements as you write your book.

Once you’ve read a lot of books in your genre, you can start to see patterns in the writing. You’ll notice that some things are common to many books and some things aren’t. What’s more, as you read more and more books, you’ll begin to recognize elements that are specific to certain authors or genres.

For example, if an author uses a particular phrase in every book they write, then maybe that’s something worth considering for your work and if another author has never used the same phrase before (and doesn’t seem likely to), then maybe it isn’t worth including at all!

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Don’t Think That Anything You Write Is Unpublished, No Matter How New It Is

I wish I’d known that every word I wrote was an important step toward getting my work published. This idea is something I’ve heard many writers say, and it’s so true.

When you start as a writer, you might not feel like anything you write is “publishable.” But the truth is that all of your writing even if it’s just one sentence per day is a valuable practice for becoming better at writing fiction. 

Just by putting words on paper (or screen), you’re learning how to write better sentences, paragraphs, and scenes. You’re also learning how to edit your work as well, which is especially helpful during those times when you find yourself struggling with a story or character development problem in your novel or short story.

If there’s one thing all writers must do if they want to get published someday: Write regularly and consistently!

Keep Reading And Writing After You’ve Finished Other Things Just Because You Enjoy It

There’s no way around it: reading and writing are essential to improving your writing. It’s a good idea to read widely, not just in your genre but across genres and in all kinds of media. And it’s an even better idea to write regularly, whether you’re working on a novel or just keeping a journal.

Reading helps you understand what other people are doing with language and structure, which will improve the quality of your work; writing gives you practice with words and ideas that can help inform what stories you want to tell (and how). 

Reading is fun! Writing is fun! You should do both because they’re good for your brain not just because they’ll make you better at writing fiction (although they will), but because they’re enjoyable activities that give purpose and meaning beyond themselves.

It’s more important to have a passion for writing than to have a passion for paying bills or making money from it.

Writing is a hobby, not a job. It’s something you do because you love it and it makes you happy, not because you’re trying to make money from it or pay your bills.

Writing is an opportunity to express yourself creatively, learn about yourself and the world around you, and connect with other people who share your interests. Writing is also an opportunity for self-exploration: through writing, we can learn more about our language (e.g., spelling) and culture (e.g., colloquialisms).

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So, what have we learned? Well, first of all, you should never think that the process of writing is easy. It’s not. But it can be fun and rewarding if you’re willing to put in the work and keep at it. 

Second, remember that money doesn’t buy love that is, people won’t love your work just because it makes them money. Thirdly (and most important), don’t give up! Keep writing and editing until you reach your goal of becoming an author who publishes books other people want to read

Further Reading

Explore these additional resources to enhance your writing journey:

What I Wish I Knew When I Started Writing Novels: Gain insights from experienced novelists who share valuable lessons and advice for aspiring writers.

10 Things I Wish I Knew as a Beginning Writer: Learn from established authors as they offer guidance on key aspects to consider when embarking on your writing journey.

15 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Writing: Discover pearls of wisdom from a seasoned writer, highlighting 15 valuable insights to help you navigate the world of writing.


Have questions? We have answers.

Q: What are the best practices for starting a novel-writing journey?

A: Successful novelists often stress the importance of thorough planning, strong character development, and setting clear goals before diving into your novel.

Q: How can I overcome common challenges faced by new writers?

A: Embrace rejection as a learning opportunity, seek constructive feedback, and practice perseverance to navigate the hurdles of writing.

Q: What key aspects should I consider as a novice writer?

A: Focus on honing your writing skills, creating a writing routine, exploring various genres, and nurturing a passion for storytelling.

Q: How do experienced writers manage writer’s block?

A: Writers combat writer’s block through techniques such as freewriting, changing writing environments, and stepping away to find renewed inspiration.

Q: What is the significance of learning from experienced authors?

A: Seasoned authors share their journeys, offering valuable insights, tips, and guidance that can accelerate your growth as a writer.