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Feeling Unqualified

I’m new to the writer world, so forgive me when I make this blanket statement: I think a lot of new writers feel unqualified in the advice-giving and critiquing departments. At least, I do.

This blog is an example of this feeling for me. I’ve been sitting here all day thinking, “The blog needs some love, what shall I write?” In reading many, many, many writing blogs lately, I see other writers full of awesome advice. Advice about writing description, grammar, confidence, social networking, writing hold-ups, genres, marketing, and on and on. I have found so many of them to be helpful.

I can’t help but to think, “What do I have to offer?” I’m still learning my craft, so how could I possibly tell another writer how to write? I’m still learning the industry, so how could I possibly tell you how to land an agent (and next, a publishing contract)? Self-publishing and ePublishing are terms I learned only a few weeks ago, so who am I to advise if they are a good way to get your book out there? What else is left–does anyone really care that I ate two Cadbury Creme Eggs today (yes, yes I did)?

Well, new writers. This is my epiphany: everyone in the process has something to offer. If I have learned anything in this short time, it’s that writers help each other. Seasoned writers and newbie writers each have something to learn from the other. For instance, if you post a piece of your writing to be critiqued somewhere, the seasoned writer hones his editing skills when he corrects it (he may also learn to be kind, yet constructive). If you, in turn, critique a seasoned writer’s chapter, you will learn from his technique. If you have the chance to read other critiques of the same piece, you will learn tips for editing your own work. Don’t feel inadequate–you read, therefore you have an opinion. Whether or not you can correct every comma does not mean you can’t offer something from a reader’s perspective. Did you like something or find something confusing? Let the author know. It’s only by stepping out with other writers that we new writers become better.

As for offering advice to other writers? My blog is told from my personal experience. Somewhere out there is a writer just getting started. Perhaps she is searching for someone just like her? Someone who is also just getting started. Maybe finding me will give her the confidence to give it a go? New writer–I cheer you on! My first piece of writing advice: you will never know if you can do it unless you try. Start your blog. Start your social networking. Seek out other writers. Make it your job to learn everything you can. Tell an understanding friend about your aspirations. Develop a thick skin (seriously, put on your big girl panties). Most importantly, write your ass off. Those were my first steps. I hope I’m on the right track so far.

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5 thoughts on “Feeling Unqualified

  1. “Put on your big girl panties” bwahaha. That made me giggle.

    You are spot on here, Erin, seriously. The website linked above leads to my writing blog, as well. I’m venturing out from my comfortable little niche with The Red Dress Club (#TRDC) (http://thereddressclub.blogspot.com/) to explore other writing workshops.

    It is definitely hard to give good, sincere, profitable constructive criticism. I have learned so much from the ladies who head up TRDC.

    Also, do you belong to SheWrites? If not, I’ll send you an invitation.

  2. There are he’s too, and this he is glad that someone else is in the same boat as him.

    Thank-you for reaffirming the critiquing method. A writer’s community is a great thing for any writer to be part of, and a critiquing group is even better. I’m constantly worried I’m not offering as in depth a critique as the others. I struggle with grammer and punctuation myself so how can I judge? But I can offer a reader’s eye and style points.

    And don’t get me started on blogging…

    • True. Those statements could read he as well (or he or she).

      Pretty much everyday I feel like I’m making a total fool of myself floundering around like I’m just pretending to be a writer still. But that’s how we learn. I’ve just started doing a couple beta reads and the experience is very educational.

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