Hello everyone, it's Elodie here! For my second writing team article, I decided to write something that will hopefully be helpful to all the aspiring authors out there. Remember that everything written in this article is from my own experience, and is not trying to say that every bit of advice will work perfectly for everyone. Writing is insanely personal, so I encourage you to take pieces of what I say and learn what works best for you.

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So a little bit about my story. I started writing my first book in April of 2017. I finished writing it in November of last year and it got through heavy editing and rereads in about two months. I ended up publishing that same book, The Violet Theory, at the end of February this year, before I finished high school. Here are some of the things I learned that helped me to achieve this.

Outline

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Before you even start your story, you should outline. Although outlining can be annoying, it helps you be much more efficient when you sit down to write. Here are some of the things that you should determine in your outline.

  • What is the conflict/plot that will drive the story?
  • What needs to be accomplished by the end of this story?
  • How many characters do I have and when do I need them to be introduced?
  • Write down the major scenes

I like to write my outline out in parts and decide what needs to happen in each part. Some people don't like to outline, and that's fine too! BUT, you should at LEAST know the conflict that drives the story, or else you might end up with writer's block because your scenes will lack meaning.

Let People You Trust Read Your Work

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Honestly, some people would tell you to never show anyone your work ever until its finished, but that wasn't the case for me. This might sound crazy, but trust me in my next words. Find someone that would never tell you your work is bad, and then find someone that will be critical. The first person I let read The Violet Theory was my best friend. Before I allowed myself to become vulnerable and let more people read it, I honestly was just writing to write. I had no intention of publishing. My best friend was/is my hype man, and gave me confidence in the fact that maybe my work was worth pursuing. I let her read it, and then I let other people in my family read it that told me the things that needed to be fixed but still lifted me up. Sometimes, you just need to hear that your story is worth telling.

Schedule

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The biggest excuse people, especially us in college/high school, have for not writing is that there's not enough time. Don't get me wrong, I totally feel your pain, my friends. BUT! I believe it's Kim Chance that says, "Dreams don't work unless you do," and the truth in that is so powerful. You might have to stay up late some nights or wake up early, or even both, but trust me it will be worth it.

How I schedule to work more efficiently:

  • Tell yourself, "I want to write X amount of words by the end of this day/week/month" and attack that goal with all that you have
  • I usually write out the major scenes I want done and knock them off one by one
  • Write out everything you have to do that week and set aside time for writing. Do not skip writing time!
  • Have in mind the number of words you'd like the entire story to have. This can change, but it gives you a larger goal to work towards.

Believe that it is Possible

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I once read an article that said teenagers can't write beautiful, flowing prose or pieces with intricate plots. So I did just that. You are capable of so much more than people say you are, the only thing stopping you is yourself. Believe me when I say that it is possible, and you can do it. Yes, it will take a lot of hard work and perseverance, but if you really dedicate yourself towards reaching that goal, no one should ever be able to tell you no.

Read Like your Life Depends on It

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If you are having trouble with a certain aspect of writing, read articles by authors who are experts in that field. Pinterest is an amazing site that I utilize a lot for this. There are thousands of blog posts out there that cover almost every aspect of writing that you could be struggling with. Read them and take advice from writers who have overcome that obstacle already. You can learn so much from simply reading.

Keep the Ending in Mind

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There were times when I truly thought that I would never make it. Self-doubt is the greatest threat towards reaching your goal but I plead with you- fight through it. On days when you think that the mountain is just too steep to climb, remember that the feeling of reaching that summit will be worth all the aches and bruises that you gained on the way up. I believe in you!
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elodie iver
elodie iver
@authorelodie  
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this article has provided you with a bit of help. Feel free to message me any questions you have or requests for future articles!

This article was written by at @authorelodie on the We Heart It Writers Team