Dear past self,
I know you are doing your best—or what you think is your best—at this writing thing. You are very motivated and passionate, which is very good. But I’m here to tell you something very important. Something you already know deep down inside.
It’s not enough.
I know, since I was you, that you’re not studying your craft deeply or seriously. You think you already know enough. That all you have to do is get yourself to write and that’s all it will take to create a masterpiece. You’re impatient and antsy. You rush through your drafts, racing against time and fear—as if that’s how you beat it—and settle on whatever you create with minimal revision.
This is your biggest obstacle to becoming the professional you wish to be.
You’re in luck because you have me to point this out for you. Trust me. I know. I’m you, already there. There’s still time. If you want to reach where I am, you have to relax, slow down and yet, at the same time, work smarter.
Study your craft as if it is your LIFE. Just because you had 5 years of college doesn’t mean you already know everything you need to know about writing. You’re still green to storytelling and the technical side of things. Stop relying on your natural talent. You don’t have that much and it will cripple you.
Read. Study. Practice. Write. Repeat. Out of order, in order—over and over.
Get feedback. Ask for help. Don’t do this alone.
Remember: Any outside job you take is a SUPPLEMENT to your writing career, not the other way around.
Get serious. You can become the great author you wish to become. I know, because I am you.
So get to work.
Amber J. Gardner
Successful Novelist, Screenwriter and Illustrator.