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Swoon Author Danika Stone: So You Want to Be a Writer...

There was a long stretch of years when I described myself as an “aspiring writer.” I had this notion in my head of what a real author did. It involved a lot of sitting in dark coffee shops and doing fancy book tours (but precious little writing, now that I think of it.) Whatever the vision was, I definitely didn’t fit it, and for a long time I didn’t get any further than a few moleskins full of unfinished scribbles.

Eventually, this changed. Writing fanfic was part of that process. (Avid readers are great because they remind you that you aren’t done yet.) The second was a change in perspective. I decided that I was going to finish a book… period. And I (finally) did.

Here are the things I learned along the way.

1.) You can’t finish what you don’t start.

Yes, I had all these stories running through my mind. Many were long and complicated. Some had entire sub plots. But I hardly ever did anything with them, and until I made the choice to begin, I was stuck at the starting line.

2.) Perfectionism is a socially acceptable version of procrastination.

Starting to write was scary, but not nearly as frightening as continuing. With each word I wrote, I came closer to the end and that meant having my book judged. That TERRIFIED me. I wrote… I rewrote… I fiddled with plots. Sometimes I stripped out characters altogether and tossed in new ones. For years I rehashed the same story with the idea of creating a “perfect” finished copy and it wasn’t until I came to the realization that “fixing” my book was part of my problem that I finally moved on.

3.) Finished is better than perfect.

Sending your book baby into the world is a scary prospect, but you need to let go. Your first book may not be published. (Mine wasn’t). But you’ll learn from the experience and the next one will be even better.

“Why?” you ask.

4.) Excellence requires more practice than talent.

This, more than anything else, is the mindset that matters the most. Look at what kind of writer you are now. Imagine what kind of author you want to be. Now, go and practice. It’s the only way to bring those two visions together.

How about you? What tricks of the trade have you discovered for keeping yourself writing? How do you keep yourself going when your inspiration is low? Share your writing hacks in the comments below!

Author spotlight

Danika Stone

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of …

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