15 Things Every Aspiring Author Needs To Hear


This is the School of Authorial Hard Knocks 101 and I’ll be your instructor, Mr. Campbell. We don’t have a sliding scale here, this course is pass or fail. Decide now.

Yep. I said them all, and you can quote me on them. If you need a reminder, print this out and tape it up in your work area (as a bonus, these all fit under 140 characters, so you can tweet the life out of them with ease).

  1. Leave them thirsty. Nobody thinks about water when they’re quenched.
  2. Characters without a story reason to be there is like a pair of bicycle tires with no frame. Pointless.
  3. You can, in fact, usually do the thing that you don’t think you’re strong enough to do.
  4. When in doubt, THROW IT OUT.
  5. Your success as an author is largely determined by whether or not you’ll do what the other wannabe author WON’T do.
  6. Study people. Understand what makes them tick, even if you don’t agree with them.
  7. Consume content. See what everyone else likes and try to understand why they like it.
  8. Work outside of your comfort zone. Inspiration strikes when you change your brain pattern. Break the routine.
  9. People will hate you because you are challenging their world view. This means you’ve done your job correctly.
  10. There is only one wrong way to write, and that is if you’re not writing at all.
  11. All stories are about people.
  12. If you don’t understand what you’re writing and why, you shouldn’t write it.
  13. It’s far easier to fix a bad writer than it is to fix a bad storyteller.
  14. Think about what your life would be like tomorrow if you stopped writing today. If you don’t like the answer, keep writing.
  15. Every author, no matter how previously successful, is afraid of releasing their work.


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