“If you could talk to the person you were when you were writing your first-published novel, what insights and guidance would you give yourself about the writing life?”
When I first read this question, I started compiling a list of all the MANY MANY things I could tell my young self as I started plunking away at Draft 1 so many years ago.
I’ve come up with moral support and technical pointers, assurances that all will be okay, in spite of the heartbreak, tears, crumpled up rejection letters, and the negative advice I kind of picked up in the vibes of anything I read about trying to publish: you never will. It’s impossible.
Joining the writing community earlier on than I did would be a good suggestion for the younger me. More so, learn the ABCs of plot development, which will save a ton of rewrites. Above all, keep submitting those manuscripts in spite of disappointment, because it will happen, I can tell you that assuredly from where I sit. So chill, girl!
But on further reflection, I guess it would be folly to try to change who I was, because who I was is who I am, and the road I travelled had to be travelled. I kept writing in spite of ignorance of the rules and my doom and gloom expectations. So now I can say it was steeliness, or gumption, or foolhardiness, or some such thing that got me here, rather than a promise dangled from a future self.
The only bit of advice I would be tempted to tell myself is: Open your eyes a little wider; explore, ask questions, listen, take pictures, make note of the geography. You may not be by this way again, and that person you’re talking to may be gone tomorrow ( believe it or not, people do die).
What you’re experiencing right now is pure gold. Live it!
I probably wouldn’t have listened, but that’s what I’d tell myself from here.