Getting started can often present its own challenge. There are a lot of false truths about writing, and the arts in general, which discourage people from trying. The first is the myth of talent. People often think of talent as the difference between those who can and those who can’t. I believe anyone can do it, if they are willing to put in the time. A person may start out with a natural advantage, but the real test is their commitment to keep at it. I like to say that talent is an innate desire to work at something, slowly improving your skill, even if the only reward is your own growth and satisfaction. When in doubt assume you have talent. Next comes skill.
The second mistake is excessive expectations. People read a good story and they want to write one just as good. They want to write the next great story, the one that makes the reader really think after they’ve finished reading.
This kind of pressure can stop an aspiring writer in their tracks. Write the story you want to write, whatever that means. Don’t try to be the next Tolkien, Koontz, or King. We already have all of those authors. They can influence your writing, but ultimately your stories should be an expression of your ideas. Write out the rough draft, get something on the page, then revise it, refine it, and then start another story. The goal is not to perfect one story, because nothing is ever truly perfect. Revise it, polish it, and then start writing another story. Over time some authors get in the habit of working on several projects simultaneously, each in a different stage of the process, so that if they get stuck on one project they can hop to another.
People often think “It’s easy for others so it should be easy for me.” You don’t actually know if writing is easy or difficult for someone else, and it shouldn’t matter. Your writing process will have some similarities with how other writers work, but it is your process.
People often look for that one secret piece of advice that will suddenly make it effortless. There is no secret. There are things that work for some people, but nothing is universal and there is no shortcut. It will take a lot of time and effort. With that said, you should learn from others. Authors and publishers offer a lot of information in the form of interviews, articles, and panels. Sift through their ideas and see what works for you, but don’t lose sight of writing. Study, learn, but keep writing.