So you think you want to be a writer?

So, you think you can write a novel, or become a bestselling author?

I’m Andie Marie, writer, part-time employee, and PhD student. I write paranormal romance and western suspense. I’m also working on a YA romance series. I have been writing for a year now and here are five lessons I’ve learned…

1. Things “they” don’t tell you.

Your story has already been told.

Don’t switch point of view from one character to another within a scene.

Stay in one tense.

Pick a genre you know something about.

2. Having realistic dreams

When I got my first rejection letter, I cried for maybe two hours. They are very honest and blunt. (Think, “ This is poorly written.”) Rejection is always hard, but when you get feedback, that’s great—listen to it!. My family actually got my first rejection letter framed, and I have it on my wall to make me work harder to perfect my writing and someday receive that acceptance letter.

3. Completing your first manuscript

My first manuscript, Dancing Shadows, took me long, hard hours to complete. I think I even accidentally fed my cat some coffee! I was working full time at my job, a roller derby, and also had homework, but I still found time to write. I wrote on napkins, notebooks, and receipt papers. I sent over a hundred text messages to myself. I took off one week of work closer to the submission deadline so I could work on my novel full-time.

Though some women can manage to write bestsellers and still find time to cook for their families, I lived on take out. The Wendy’s down the road knew me personally.

I say this to emphasize that it’s not easy to sit and write. People have normal everyday lives, and completing 20,000 to 100,000 words takes some serious time. When I finally finished my manuscript, I submitted. I waited two weeks to find out that my story was not chosen, but, you know what? I completed a manuscript at 23,000 words in three weeks. I am super proud of myself.

4. Finding an agent

Honestly, for a beginning writer it’s much harder to convince an agent to take you as a client. Writing takes time and experience, so the best advice I can give is to start small. Look for different calls for submission. Write short stories. Get your name and work seen by different people first. Then when you have that experience and name recognition behind you, contact a agent. They are needed when you are trying for bigger publishers like Random House or St. Martin’s Press.

5. Having a support network

You need your family and friends. At times, this career can become overwhelming and you need to relax. With the support and help of loved ones, you can jump hurdles as they come toward you. I have my two cats, three dogs, family and friends behind me. I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.

What lessons have you learned that most changed your perception of being a writer? Who or what is in your support network?

P.S: Here’s a little something to keep your spirits up

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