23 Things I Learned About Writing and Life Before 23

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Today is my birthday and I’m officially 23. While I know in the grand scheme of things I am young, I still feel like I’ve learned a few things in my brief moment on Earth. I present to you my musings on everything I’ve learned about writing and life before 23.

1. Writing is really freaking hard. Even if writing comes easy, the editing is hard, or finding the perfect story is difficult. Never let anyone tell you writing is easy because it’s a lie.

2. Often people come in your life for a season, not forever. Once they’ve completed their purpose, you have to let them go no matter how terrible it hurts.

3. Inspiration is temperamental. If it strikes and you don’t use it, it will move on to the next creative person. 

4. You can’t force anyone to love you, including friends, family, and romantic partners. When someone does love you, cherish it.

5. The best writing ideas come on work commutes. Problem is you can’t always write them down while driving.

6. Be grateful. Life becomes full of happiness and wonder when you take the time to appreciate what you already have and what is coming to you.

7. Characters have a mind of their own. If you create them well, suddenly you will find yourself having conversations with them and wondering what they would do in a situation.

8. Pets will be there for you when no one else will. They love you unconditionally. Even when you feel like you belong in a trashcan, your dog thinks you’re a princess.

9. Criticism is difficult to swallow. If you learn to separate yourself from it and really listen, it can actually help your work.

10. Take lots of photos, even if you hate them. You’ll appreciate the memories later on.

11. Read. Read. Read. Don’t write in a vacuum.

12. Every moment doesn’t have to be on social media to be real. It is okay not to film every concert, party, date, or hang out. 

13. Just write. Second guessing yourself has killed some of your best ideas. Ignore the stress and fear that comes with the blank page.

14. Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes you beat yourself for the most miniscule things.

15. It’s hard these days to come up with a completely “original” idea. So write that apocalypse novel or mirror that famous nonfiction essay, because it came from you it will be fresh and new.

16. You have to love yourself before anyone else. You can’t expect your partner to fix every hang-up you have.

17. Writing with music is fun, but make sure it’s your type of music. You are not the kind of writer that can write with regular music. Listen to instrumental, so lyrics don’t jump in your essay.

18. Karma will catch everyone in the end, including you. Treat everyone how you would like to be treated and everything will turn out fine.

19. The best characters have soundtracks, so give them one, even if you’re the only one to listen.

20. Always say what you need to say to your loved ones. Sometimes tomorrow doesn’t come.

21. Just sit down and write. Stop procrastinating.

22. It’s perfectly fine to watch Mulan in any situation. First flight, general sadness, happiness, nostalgic—Mulan can fix it.

23. Time passes by quickly. Savor each moment. One day you fall asleep at 18 and wake up and you’re 23.

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