Although recently published, I’ve been writing for over five years and in that time I’ve learned a few things about this craft. These are some tips I would give to any writer at any stage of their career.
First, if you like to read and you like to write and you’re considering writing a story, just do it. Don’t fear rejection, bad comments, or anything of the sort. Just do it. You’re not going to pen the best material of your life as a first time writer. Or maybe you are. Maybe you’ve read so much that you’ll be able to pen a story that is so amazing, it’s picked up by a publisher off the bat. If not, don’t worry about it. Your first story teaches you what not to do when writing, and it's all about trial and error. It also shows you your writing style. Everyone has a writing style that becomes their signature.
Second, join a writing group. Yes, this is a must. If you want to know how people will respond to your work, put it out there. Now, there are many different places that you put incomplete or complete works for review. People are always willing to read free work. Why? Because it’s free. And often they’re willing to leave honest reviews. Why? Because everyone’s a natural critic at heart. :-) Once the reviews come in, take them in stride. Some people will tell you that you’re horrible, some will tell you that you’re wonderful, and the best readers will give more constructive (detailed) feedback. Take the constructive feedback, learn from it, and keep writing.
Third, never let someone else tell you how to write your story. Remember, you are the author. You are telling the story. Some people won’t like parts of the story and will tell you that it should be different, but in the end, you need to love the final product. Keep true to your writing, and your style.
And that’s my advice. I hope it helps someone.