Posted by: Glenda Bailey-Mershon | May 3, 2009

Advice to New Writers

A call for submissions recently caught my eye:

Give six words of advice to a new writer.

Here are mine: Get better and wiser every day.

It interests me that my advice would be the same to someone born yesterday, a child or a friend. I really believe when we stop growing and changing––in whatever ways our circumstances, means, and dreams might determine–we die. I always want to learn, to grow, to climb that mountain. And to have a nice cup of tea, a glass of sparkling wine, and a chat with a friend at the end of the day.

Growing as a writer to me means we have to look for opportunities to learn our craft, be willing to change to a new vision, to struggle with failure and grow towards our goals. Doing what is at first uncomfortable, and learning to do it better so that we become comfortable with the task–say, dealing with our computers or writing query letters–is where the wisdom comes in, and the courage.

What would be your six words of advice?

And after we’ve written them, we can all send them here:


  1. Advice to young writers:

    Ignore the notion of ‘writers block’.

  2. Dave, that is good advice!

    I think “writer’s block” is merely censoring ourselves, trying to write what will be approved, rather than what our hearts and minds tell us we need to get down on the page. Sometimes we keep secrets, even from ourselves. If we give ourselves permission to put on the page what we think about, we can decide where it’s going from there. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Jane,

    I completely agree about the self-censorship. You nailed it when you said, “trying to write.” I run into this a lot in my professional work (working with small business owners). Lots of people “want” to write, and unfortunately they’re all too quick to begin arguing for their limitations, and not allowing themselves to make a mess on the page before whittling down to the core nugget.

  4. Dave, I think your response about people quickly arguing for their limitations, and not allowing themselves to make a mess, both in writing and in small business, is so spot on. Hmmm, I feel a blog posting coming on, comparing an experience I had teaching a 70 year old lady to ski with writing. It all has to do with defying the naysayers and working around our limitations.

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