Everyone gives advice, right? ….so here’s the overall version:

Always be yourself. Never try to hide who you are. The only shame is to have shame. Always stand up for what you believe in. Always question what other people tell you. Never regret the past. It’s a waste of time. There’s a reason for everything. Every mistake, every moment of weakness, every terrible thing that has happened to you. Grow from it. The only way you can ever get the respect of others is when you show them that you respect yourself and most importantly, do your thing and never apologize for being you.

Take the chances you dream of taking so that you can reflect on life and know that you have done your best. In all that you do, devote yourself as fully as possible. No one becomes successful without investing and sweating more than they wish. Surround yourself with people and things that support your efforts and lose those that do not.

And…this is for all of you who write:

I am in no way an experienced writer. Nor am I the best source of advice on the subject. I can speak only from what I know and read myself, which may or may not be helpful.

If you really want to write, the most important thing you can do for yourself is…write. Duh! Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you don’t think it works. Even if some other activity is calling your name…and so on. Don’t let others talk you out of it. Set the time aside, schedule it, and don’t get sidetracked. Like any job, if you want to actually be good at it, you will have to pay the dues and do the work to get there. 

Secondly, be proud of your writing. Originally, I was afraid to show my efforts to family and friends for fear it would offend. Some of my work gets pretty intense. Then I realized something – how can I expect others to believe in me if I don’t? Here’s the thing – you WANT people talking about your work, just don’t do it all the time yourself (that’s annoying). You REALLY WANT them sharing it.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in this world that want to write a book….less than 10% of them ever start writing and even less finish a single manuscript. That very fact makes it something to be proud of. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who think writing is easy yet never make the effort to do it well. I’m also amazed at the number that really want to help you succeed–embrace those resources.

There will be readers that love your work and readers that hate it. Don’t let that stop you. Do you think the great authors in this world let people prevent them from writing simply because they have different taste? Try to write what interests you and keeps you driven to complete the work and you’ll be happy.

For those that don’t support you in your efforts, ignore them. For those that trivialize it or laugh, pity their ignorance…and keep writing. It’s easy to criticize that which we don’t do. Normally those that speak negatively never take the very chances that they critique.

No matter what people say, writing isn’t a simple thing. Writing requires detailed attention, constant revisions, dedication, and a highly creative mind. But then, I thought almost every job did that!

What’s my point? As Nike so eloquently said – Just Do It! But I want to add this – Do It and be proud of yourself for the effort. The written word is a gift.

Lastly, no matter what you attempt in life – Give it everything you have the first time around. Too many people put only half-effort into their work or goals and assume they’ll always have an opportunity to change or fix later. Another try so-to-speak. Never leave anything with less than your best – you may not get the opportunity to re-do what was left half-done. There may never be another chance–so make yourself proud and do your best the first time.