Photo by Iam Se7en,

Here are 10 things I wish I was told when I was a teenage writer:

  1. Don’t be ashamed of writing fanfiction. Even though it’s not an original story, you are still developing some elements, like additional characters, setting, symbols etc. You are also learning how to express yourself better through writing. At this stage it really doesn’t matter what you write – what matters is that you write.
  2. Don’t stress if you are jumping between stories. Experiment freely with genres, styles and themes. This is the time to learn what you like writing the most, so that you can choose on which projects you want to focus later. You don’t need to have your main genre figured out now! Give yourself time to play with writing!
  3. Your English grades don’t matter. After English lessons you are supposed to pass exams, not write novels. If you do your best and still get C, don’t despair. I assure you that if you practice writing regularly, you will become a writer.
  4. However give your novel to an adult reader. Your novel might have mistakes that you are not really aware on your own. This is why in order to improve you should share your work with someone who has a bigger knowledge with you.
  5. Start gathering audience even before you publish. Those people will buy your novel and share it with others once it’s published. You can’t do it all by yourself. You can’t expect that people will miraculously find your book in a category with thousands of similar books. You are the one who has to fight for visibility. You must be everywhere.
  6. The blog is your best friend. It’s a free platform on which you can start publishing. I recommend WordPress, Blogspot and Wix (drag & drop webpage builder with no need of programming knowledge). The basic plans are free.
  7. Learn computer graphics and website design. There are tutorials everywhere on the internet, and acquiring those two skills will save you a lot of money in the future. You won’t have to pay for covers, ad banners, book mock ups and website designs. If you are wondering which programs to use, start with Photo Filtre and later move to Krita. They are both free.
  8. Learn the difference between self-publishing companies and traditional publishing companies. Know that if a publishing house asks you money, then this is self-publishing. With self-publishing, you can’t expect your books to be available in bookstores. Your readers will have to buy them online. Indie authors must be creative and make a good use of all resources that they are given.
  9. Know that being rejected doesn’t really matter. You still have time. A lot of time. You are learning. Now is the best time to make mistakes. If you really love a book and this book got rejected, don’t give up on it. Let it rest some time and then maybe rewrite it? If not, write a new book. Keep trying. Don’t give up easily. Be stubborn.
  10. Don’t delete anything. A lot of teenage writers write something and then delete it all, and start again. Get rid of that bad habit. Text files don’t take up much space and you can always store them deep on your hard drive. Why so? Because after years, you will want to review them and maybe steal some ideas or quotes. Besides, how are you supposed to know if you’ve made progress if you have nothing to compare your new writing with? My old fanfictions, even the ones from time when I was 12 – I have them all.