Three Things I Used to do as a Beginning Writer (But Now I Don’t)


Welcome to the next part of the Three Things series! Want to catch up on some other Three Things?

Three Things I Ask My Critique Partners 

Three Things I Give My Critique Partners

I’ve been a writer for a long time – all the way back to when I started a literary journal in seventh grade. And I’ve been a member of SCBWI for over 10 years! I’ve learned a lot over that time, and picked up some very useful habits.

But there are a few things that I used to do as a beginning writer that I don’t do anymore. Why don’t I do them? Sometimes it’s because I’m lazy. Sometimes it’s because I forgot that I used to do them and just got out of the habit. Maybe I should start doing them again! And sometimes it’s because I learned a new, better way to handle things.

Here are three things I used to do that I don’t do anymore.

  1. Write out my story by hand first. I used to love writing by hand. I filled notebook after notebook. But as I got to be a better typist, I could type as fast as I was thinking. It was hard to keep up with my thoughts when I writing by hand. I still journal by hand, but I usually start my stories by typing now, and usually in Scrivener.
  2. Worry about starting in the wrong spot. I don’t do this anymore, because I know I can always go back and change things. I just start writing my story at what feels like the best spot. Yes, sometimes this means when I’m revising, I will go back and delete the first two, three or even four chapters. But that’s better than rewriting my first chapter over and over and over and not making any progress. It also helps that I outline my stories first, so I generally have a strong idea of the right place to begin.
  3. Complete a full character profile sheet on every character before I start a story. Uh oh, does this sound like blasphemy? Oh well. I don’t do it. I don’t interview my characters or write out their full backstory. But I do know their wants and needs, their misbeliefs, and their funny habits. I jot down a few important things, then I move forward. I used to try to do these things, but it really became a big source of procrastination for me. So I stopped doing them, and my stories have turned out just fine. Sometimes it’s important to figure out what works for you, instead of doing what every other writer says is required.


I wish I could say that while I used to have imposter syndrome, I don’t have it anymore, but that’s not true. I think there is always going to be something in my brain that makes me ask, “am I really doing OK at this?” It has gotten a little easier to answer, “yes, you are doing fine.” And I hope that it gets easier for you, too, if you have the same issue.