It’s not uncommon to take life lessons from a hobby that you greatly enjoy. Writing is no different. I’m currently working on my fourth book, and along the way, I’ve learned a lot of great things that have translated into the rest of my life. Some of it might surprise you.
Don’t be afraid to tear things down
This is a big one. Personally and professionally, I’ve seen people who work so hard on a project and grow attached to every aspect of it. They’re afraid to change anything just because they’ve invested so much time and energy in whatever. I get it–they just don’t want to see any aspect go to waste.
With writing books, you cannot nurture that kind of mindset. When you write a first draft, it’s usually very rough and overly long. Cutting away stuff that you spent hours writing is usually a necessity. I’ve deleted thousands of words in each of my books. Sometimes as I’m writing I’ll highlight pages worth of copy and slam the backspace button. It’s not about destroying the work I’ve done, it’s about scraping away the unnecessary and focusing on what works.
If you want to read a great book about cutting away the unnecessary in your life (in a healthy way), check out Essentialism by Greg McKeown.
Sometimes you need a second opinion
You probably have some great ideas, but your great idea is being projected from a single perspective: yours. In a world teeming with diversity, you have to get other opinions on your work to make sure it’s ship-shape before you release it.
I see this most often in beta readers. Having beta readers for my books has proven to be invaluable. I saw evidence of this the most as I was working on my third book, Purged. I really liked my first draft, but after I showed it to one of my beta readers, he gave me some feedback that proved incredibly helpful. He saw things that I didn’t notice before, and a lot of his recommendations made it into the book. The book is much better because of his insight.
A little bit daily makes all the difference
Consistency, consistency, consistency! If you’re trying to accomplish something meaningful, making small efforts on a regular basis will add up to big dividends over time. There’s a scripture I love that says God teaches us that “through small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6). I strongly believe that this applies into every aspect of our lives.
Want to have a healthier body? Eat at least one fruit and vegetable a day. Want to become more educated? Read 20 pages from a good book every day. Want to write a book in a year? Write 700-1000 words per day. That last one actually takes about an hour every day, but it’s fun and I enjoy it, so I’m here for it. Regardless, applying yourself to do a little bit of something regularly will help you accomplish a huge thing over time. And that’s a fact.
Not everyone is going to like you
The majority of my reviews are very positive. People love my books, and I take pride in that. But this isn’t always the case.
I have gotten some negative comments on occasion. One lady named Kitty gave Foreordained a one-star review on Goodreads, saying that the book often repeated itself, which caused her to drop it before she could finish. Granted, that was my first book and I published it when I was twenty-two, so I know it’s not perfect and I don’t take it personally.
You’re not going to please everybody, and you shouldn’t try to. You’re one person. And especially when it comes to creating art, if you love what you’ve done and you feel proud of it, it’s already mission accomplished.
Listen to your gut
A lot of writing feels instinctual, no matter how much I plan things out. Before I write every book, I start off with a detailed outline, but by the time the book is done, I’ve drifted away from that outline more often than not.
That’s because as the story develops, it makes sense to deviate and do things that go against what I originally thought was right. That’s life, man! You have to adjust and be willing to change! Don’t be afraid to listen to your gut, even if it may deviate from what your brain tells you “makes sense.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten going writing a story and deviated from what I was planning because another path made sense. And it has always paid off.
There are other things that I’ve learned, but these are essentially the top five. What are some life lessons that some of your hobbies have taught you? I want to know. Drop a comment below. 🙂