Writing is Tara Moss’ passion and compulsion. She believes she was born to be a novelist and that she can make a living from her writing. She believes she was good enough to pursue writing as an occupation and not just a hobby.
Moss put her faith – in herself as a writer – into action, which was richly rewarded. Since 1999, she has written 11 books that are published in 19 countries and in 13 languages, including the bestselling and critically acclaimed Makedde Vanderwall crime fiction series, which features a feminist heroine, and the Pandora English series.
Moss published her first non-fiction book, The Fictional Woman, in 2014 to critical acclaim. In 2016, she published her second non-fiction, Speaking Out: A 21st Century Handbook for Women and Girls, in which she calls on women to speak up more and participate in public debate. Her non-fiction writing has appeared in various publications, including Vogue, ELLE, and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Aspiring authors who want to follow in the footsteps of Moss should heed the following writing advice from the prolific author herself:
- “Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now.”
How could you develop the habit of writing if you do not write today? If you have an idea, then put it down on paper, even if it’s just a draft. Don’t say “One day, I am going to write that book” or “I’ll write when I have the time”. Write. Just write.
There is no better time than today to write. If you do not write today, where will you be tomorrow? There might not be even a tomorrow for you. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can write today.
- “Don’t write it right, just write it –and then make it right later.”
Two pointers here:
- Write first, edit later. Don’t write and edit at the same time, especially if you want to finish your book quickly. The inner editor in you can wait. Don’t let it distract you from your writing.
- Write the draft even if it’s bad. That’s why it’s called a rough draft, something you will return to fine-tune it later – only after you are done writing, not while writing.
- “Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one.”
Let your ideas flow freely. Write as you go. Write as if it’s the last thing you would do on earth, as it’s something you want to do before you die. Write that book, write that story as if you’re doing it for your beloved.
- “Be wary of “writing rules” and advice. Do it your way.”
But if you want to be like Tara Moss, heed her advice, especially this one.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow writing tips from famous authors but they are intended to help you become a better writer not by copying what other writers do but by applying their tips on your own terms or according to your own writing goals.
Your aim is to become a better writer, not better than other writers. You are better with your own story – and you are the better person to write about it. Famous writers share advice to help emerging writers experience their own writing.
- “It is better to do what you love for work, but if it is your day job that enables an unpaid passion, then your life is still sweeter. What is important is that you make time for your dreams, not whether or not you get paid for it.”
Whether you pursue writing as a job or a career, if you love writing, you would write, not minding where your next meal will come from and when. It is your desire to write, your passion for writing is all that matters. If you don’t write, your dream is as good as dead and you would not want that, right?
- “Read widely and write often.”
If you want to be a better writer, read more. Writers who read a lot are more likely to be successful. Today’s readers are tomorrow’s bestselling authors. Enough said!
- “Write a little each day if you can, even if you never plan to show it to anyone.”
If you believe you are good enough to write, you will write every day, even if you won’t publish it, because you have the burning desire to write.
You will find opportunities to write. It’s what you need to do because it’s what your heart tells you to do. You write because you actively pursue ideas, not wait for them to come to you.
“Writing is a gift,” adds Tara Moss. For some writers, it may even be their calling. How will you make good use of your gift? How will you respond to your calling?
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