Two days ago, I told you that you weren't a writer unless you read. I even gave you an extra day to catch up on all the reading you were behind on.
One thing I failed to mention was that you shouldn't just read in your genre. You should read in EVERY genre. Historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, sci-fi, thriller, true-crime, short stories, novels, biographies, journals, chicklit. All of it.
I'm not a huge fan of romance, but reading romance is good because real people, and hopefully my characters, will fall in love. Even as curmudgeonly as I am, I've fallen in love, and reading romances will help me understand the methods that romance authors convey that to their readers.
So you've read 100 books in your chosen genre, right?
Good, let's move on.
Now that you are well-read in your genre, and you've branched out and read another 100 books in other genres, you're ready to write.
At this stage in your career, you're not really sure what kind of writer you are going to be. this is the time when you just start writing and see what happens.
How often should you write? I would say start now to make it a daily habit. This is something I've struggled with my entire career and it's one reason why I've decided to write daily blog posts for 2017.
Starting a daily writing habit, even if you only write a paragraph, is one of the best things you can do for your career. It doesn't matter what you write, the important thing is the habit.
You can do journal entries, character bios, dialogue between two people, descriptions, backstory. It really doesn't matter.
The most important thing to remember at this stage is that everything you write will be shit. It really will. This simple concept trips up a lot of would-be writers. Too many people get it into their heads that they should be writing their masterpiece at the beginning of their career.
The issue with this mentality is that writing is a skill, as much as an art, and while you might be an expert at the artistry of it, you are not an expert at the skills of writing. That takes practice, and practice takes time.
You can't pick up a set of ice skates when you're 35 and expect to be competing in the Winter Olympics in a couple of years.
Don't put that same expectation on your writing. It's a skill. Your writing sucks, so the best thing to do now is develop the habits that will set you up for the best chance at success.
So that's about it. Write anything you want, write consistently, experiment with different styles, genres, and methods. Try everything and note what you like or dislike.
And don't forget to read. At this stage, and to be frank, from here on out for a very long time, you should be spending as much or more time reading as you do writing. As important as not writing till you had a solid base in story was, you need to continue that going forward.