• Shannon Aardsma

A Writer's ABCs

Here are some fun "ABCs" for all you writers. Enjoy! And share with your friends. Maybe they'll understand your a little better. :)

Admiration/Ambition -- It’s good to look up to other writers! Take inspiration and encouragement from their success! Turn that admiration into ambition and write your own amazing story!

Boldness/Beauty -- Be bold. Write what’s never been written (or what has with your own twist!). Find the beauty in your work. Show that beauty to the world.

Comparison/Criticism -- It’s so easy to compare yourself to other writers. But when you do, rather than getting discouraged, learn from those authors. What makes them great? Why do people love their books? And what could you do better in your own writing to achieve that greatness? Use that comparison as constructive criticism for yourself. And also, don’t be afraid of others’ constructive criticism. It’s how you grow as a writer.

Distraction/Discouragement -- It is so easy to get distracted. And when you’re distracted, you’re not writing. Not writing when you should or could be leads to guilt...which in turn leads to discouragement. But it’s ok! Everyone gets distracted at times. And everyone gets discouraged. That doesn’t define you as a writer. Turn that guilt and discouragement into motivation for writing!

Enthusiasm/Editing -- There are those wonderful days when you’re enthusiastic about your work! So enthusiastic that you drive all your non-writer friends and family insane, but that’s ok! Be enthusiastic. Be proud. Be happy. But...is anyone ever enthusiastic about editing? I know I’m not, but it’s necessary. Attack the task of editing with tenacity and enthusiasm! Your novel or poem or short story will be incredible with some hard work.

Fear -- There’s always fear attached to writing: fear of showing others your work, fear of publishing, fear of never becoming a great author. But don’t let those fears control you! Overcome them. Write! Share your work! Publish it! You could be a great author someday, but you never will be if you let your fears hide your work. Be bold!

God/Gratitude -- Put God first, and he’ll bless your writing. I’m not saying that all of your stories have to read like a tract, but make sure you still have time for God in the midst of your writing. Seek Him always. And be thankful. Show gratitude to those who have encouraged your writing, who have listened to your rants about characters and plotting and world building, oh my! I know I am so thankful for several people who have been with me through my writing journey.

Habit -- Form habits. I am terrible at forming habits when it comes to anything, but I’m trying to be better about that in some areas of my life--- this blog for one. But habits are important, even in writing. When and where do you write? How often? How much? And what strange/funny/ridiculous habits do you already have? Embrace them! And develop new, helpful ones.

Imagination/Insane -- You’ve got to have a good imagination if you’re going to write fiction, especially fantasy or sci-fi. That’s obvious. But...you’ve also gotta be a little insane. ;P Ok, maybe not really, but you’ll probably be viewed as crazy by your non-writer friends and family.

Journey/Judgment -- Writing is a crazy journey. And...along that journey you’ll, sadly, probably have to deal with quite a bit of judgment. There will be people who don’t like your writing, period. There will be those who think you should be writing something different or who condemn your writing because there was one swear word. It’s intimidating. We care about what people think, especially those close to us. But as a writer, you need to ignore the judgment. If you love your writing and it’s not dishonoring to God, who cares what others think? You should be worried about two people only: yourself and God.

Knowledge -- You’ll learn some crazy tidbits researching for your book.

Laughter/Lonely -- Learn to laugh at yourself as a writer. Maybe you’re crazy tired and write something that you think sounds incredible, but when you look at it twenty minutes later or the next morning, it’s awful! Laugh at it. Share it as something funny. Have fun! But writing can also be lonely if you don’t have any writer friends. Non-writers don’t understand writers. So find yourself a good writing community to be a part of or even just one writer friend. You’ll be glad you did!

Money/Motivation -- Two important things for a writer, both hard to come by. It’s hard to make money as a writer if you haven’t hit the bestselling list. Freelance is almost impossible when you start out; if you indie publish, you’re going to have to put in a lot of money before you get any back; and even traditional publishing isn’t going to make you rich overnight. But it’s possible if you stick with it! Stay motivated!

Novel -- The end goal! You’ll get there.

Okay/Obtainable/Obsessive -- Remember that it’s gonna be okay. There are times when you may want to give up (maybe because that’s all you hear from those around you), but it will be okay. You’ll make it if you try. If you love writing, don’t let anyone take that from you. Your dreams are obtainable! But...try not to be too obsessive… Yeah, this is a reminder to myself as well. It’s easy to go crazy with plotting and ranting about your work, which is good! But don’t freak people out or annoy them too much. Don’t go insane.

Procrastination/Publishing -- Two major words in a writer’s vocabulary. The first, we do too often. When we should write, we instead bake a cake or color or talk to someone about our writing or look on Pinterest for inspiration. A good example is this blog post--- I wrote it today, just a few hours ago in fact. Publishing is another scary word. It’s our goal as writers generally, but it scares us to death. Yet we can make it to that point!

Quantity will become Quality -- It’s better to write ten pages you can edit, than to write two perfect pages but take two weeks writing them. Your first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect. Focus on at least writing the book before you try to perfect it.

Rewarding -- Writing is rewarding. When you finish that chapter that’s been haunting you or write an incredibly difficult scene or write “the end” or publish a book, it’s all rewarding! Having readers who love your book is a spectacular reward. Getting your first bit of money from your writing I’m sure is amazing. The journey of a writer is littered with rewards, big and small. Treasure the small ones just as much as the big ones.

Schedule -- A schedule is extremely helpful if you want to form habits and be consistent. It’s also necessary for meeting any deadlines you have, whether you set them for yourself or they’re set by a teacher/agent/etc.

Turbulent -- Writing is a turbulent journey. One day you love writing, the next you hate it. One day you’re encouraged and all is going well, the next you feel like giving up is the best option if you want to keep your sanity. You cycle through being excited about your book and then depressed because you simply cannot write that next scene no matter how hard you try. But that’s ok. It’s normal. Everyone goes through swings like that, but the trick is pushing through the lows. There will always be another high if you’re persistent and dedicated!

Uncertainty -- You may often be uncertain about the quality of your writing. It’s hard to share your work, because what if someone hates it? What if it’s really bad? Again, you have to put aside the fear! What if your work is incredible? What if someone loves it? What if it becomes someone’s favorite book? Well, it won’t if you never put yourself out there. Be brave! Be courageous!

Variation -- The life of a writer is a varied life. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Highs and lows. Times of great motivation and accomplishment, and times of sitting around doing nothing related to writing at all. But variety is good.

Writer’s Block -- It’s a fact. If you’re a writer, you’re going to experience writer’s block at some point. And if you don’t, you’re lying.

Xenodochial -- Ok, not a perfect word, but I had limited options with this letter. ;) Basically, xenodochial means friendly to strangers. I’m going to twist it a little. Writers, be friendly to your readers when you’re writing. If you have alpha or beta readers, listen to their suggestions, see what characters they love, who they hate, etc. And even if you don’t plan on having anyone read your book until after it is published, think about what your readers are going to want. Who do they want to succeed and be happy? Of course...it’s also really fun to mess with your readers and kill off their favorite character. ;P But if you are going to kill any character, please have a reason. Make it a good death. Don’t just kill someone, especially a main character, for no reason.

Young -- Writers are young at heart. ‘Nuff said.

Zeal -- Be zealous about your writing. Be your own biggest fan. Encourage yourself. Give yourself constructive criticism. Polish your book until you love it. If you don’t care about and love your book, no one else will either. But, if you’re passionate about what you’re writing, I guarantee you there is someone else in the world who will be as well. And that makes it worth it. :)

I hope that was encouraging and humorous! Here's a little bonus ABCs:







Gifted Hard-working



















Until next time! And if you're a writer, you should probably go write now. ;)

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