If you are an aspiring writer, no dream can be more beautiful that writing your first book. There is a strange thing – everyone, except the writer, thinks that writing is easy. It’s not. The journey ‘from your beautiful dream to the reality’ is long and tough. Naturally, you are most likely to make mistakes (and learn). Need some guidance?
Here are six things you should avoid when you are writing your first book.
- Seeking perfection in your first draft
The term perfect sounds good, but your desire to make your craft perfect will lead you nowhere- especially if you are just starting out. Don’t expect much from your first draft. Collecting your wandering thoughts and ideas is more important. Finish your book first. You can polish it later. Finishing your first draft is an achievement whether it’s good, bad or ugly.
2. Don’t save your best for later
Be the best version of you when you are writing your first book. Don’t save your ideas for your next book. Once you settle as a good writer, you will get plenty of amazing ideas and opportunities. Your next book is a dream. The book you are writing is your reality. Put your ultimate effort and write as if it’s your last chance to impress the editors.
3. Don’t rush to get your work published
Publishing your first book is a beautiful feeling. It brings a sense of contentment and joy, but there is no surety it would bring success too. Choose your publisher wisely. Finding a suitable publisher is difficult. Much more difficult than writing a full length novel. And, this difficulty evokes impatience.
Don’t get impatient. Always remember that it’s the quality of your work that speaks for you. Just a published book is not enough. A good book will establish you as a writer. So, don’t rush to publish your first book (You will feel the urge to do so, but hold on!). Polish your work until it shines. Craft it carefully and skillfully before approaching the publishers.
4. Don’t love your writing too much
As a writer, you will fall in love with your craft. It’s natural. You will feel attached to your characters and you are most likely to think that your are writing the best story of this world. Sadly, it’s not always true.
As a reader, it’s easy to spot mistakes in someone else’s book, but when it comes to catch the errors in your own manuscript, you are most likely to miss several slip-ups (without even realizing). Allow a fresh pair of eyes to review your work. Technically, find a good beta-reader. Beta-reader is someone who reads your manuscript and suggests the scope of improvements in terms of plausibility, style and execution etc. Make sure your beta-reader is brutally honest. Don’t get offended by her remarks. You don’t have to agree on every point but it will help you to realize your flaws and to see your own work in a different light
Also, edit your work mercilessly no matter how precious you think your words are. Removal of unnecessary things will make your writing crisp.
5. Don’t use flowery words
As a first-time writer, you will feel the need to make your work as beautiful as it can be. Surprisingly, purple prose (literary term for flowery language) doesn’t work. Don’t complicate your writing in order to look intellectual. Readers prefer simplicity. Use simple words and short sentences. Make your voice reader-friendly.
6. Avoid the temptation to make last minute changes when proofreading
This is related to the first point. You tend to make last minute changes to satisfy your urge to bring out a perfect manuscript. Perfection is difficult to achieve, however your last minute changes can disturb the process of editing. It’s important to keep your manuscript error-free. (Never think it’s editor’s job. It is, but a well edited manuscript enhances your chance of getting published). So, if you can’t control the urge to make changes, make sure that you proofread your manuscript twice, sans any last minute changes.
Tarang Sinha is a freelance writer and author of We Will Meet Again, a mature love story. Her writing has appeared in magazines like Good Housekeeping India, Child India, Woman’s Era, New Woman and Alive. A science graduate, she holds a Diploma in Creative Writing in English from IGNOU. She is an avid reader and blogs at tarangsinha.blogspot.in