1. Read as many different types of books as possible. Read in a wide range of genres. Read classics and modern books on bestseller lists. Read craft books and autobiographies, too. Read everything you can get your hands on. Don’t feel like the time you spend reading is a waste because it’s part of the learning process. You need to learn the market. You need to learn what works and what doesn’t work. You need to see what people have done before you — and figure out what you want to try next.
2. Don’t try to become the next Stephen King. Don’t pick a writer you love and aim to write exactly like them. You need to create your own style. You need to come up with your own stories. You can borrow elements from different authors you admire, but you should never try to copy them completely. You’re not going to tell their stories as well as they do — but you’ll be able to tell your own stories in the most beautiful way possible.
3. Write whenever you have a spare moment of time. Don’t spend so much time planning out your story and researching your story and daydreaming about your story that you forget to actually write your story. There comes a point when planning becomes a form of procrastination. It’s scary to put your pen to the page (or your fingers to the keyboard) but you’re never going to become a writer unless you actively write.
4. Don’t expect the first draft to be a masterpiece. Chances are, you’ve never read a book in its first draft. You’ve only read final drafts. You’ve only seen stories after they were buffed and polished. Remember that when you’re writing. Remember that your initial attempt is going to be far from perfect. The words you’re writing are going to get edited. They’re going to get chopped. They’re going to get better. So don’t spend too much time worrying about whether what you’re writing is perfect. It won’t be. Not yet.
5. Get involved in the writing community. You should follow authors and editors and agents and publishers on social media. Make friends with them. Network with them. Or simply listen to them. They’re going to understand what you’re going through better than anyone — and they’re going to teach you some important tidbits in the process.
6. Eliminate distractions. Writer’s block doesn’t exist. If you want to write, you need to clear your mind and clear your room of distractions. Shut your door. Turn off your phone notifications. Turn off your internet. Don’t allow anything to tear your attention away from your writing. Let yourself get lost in the story.
7. Never give up on yourself. You’re going to face rejection. You’re going to receive criticism. You’re going to experience moments when you doubt whether you’re ever going to succeed in the field. But if you love what you’re doing, quitting will never be an option. You’re going to keep going, even when you fail, even when you hit roadblocks, even when you feel like no one wants to read what you have written. Talent isn’t the main thing that’s going to get you published. Patience and persistence are.