Now we’re finally getting into the one thing I love more than life itself: writing.
One common question a lot of people ask is how they can write and where they can start. The task may seem daunting since you have to deal with plots, characters, genres, avoiding cliche ideas, etc. But the process of starting to write is much easier than you may think.
I don’t know if I mentioned this already, but I’ve been writing since I was twelve. It started with poetry and eventually it transitioned to fan-fiction and later my own fiction. The reason behind why I started writing was because I needed an escape. I was going through my normal preteen bullshit and I thought the world was crumbling at my feet so the only way to salvage my life was to put the pen to the paper. The reason I kept going though was because I had a story to tell and I loved what I was doing. I didn’t care if anyone read my stuff and I didn’t care if it sucked. All that mattered was that I was enjoying what I was doing.
So the best advice I can give anyone who wants to be a writer is to just start. Even if it’s trash, you have a story to tell. Put the words on the page and enjoy the journey. Don’t worry about people liking it and don’t worry about the fundamentals right away. That’s what first drafts are for.
Of course you have to learn the basics of storytelling and how to have in depth characters but all those things come with time and practice. Instead of trying to cram your head full of what you should do, take the time to learn from the process and have fun with it. Writing is supposed to be a journey of self-reflection and joy.
This is something that I’m trying to pull myself out of almost seven years later. Now that I’ve published a novella, I find it harder to enjoy the process of writing as much because I’m so worried about having a finished product that people can read. My inner critic comes out with a vengeance and before long, I’m quitting a story that I’ve invested over 20,000 words in and I’m bouncing to the next idea.
You’ll never get anything done by doing that.
I always think that every word and every sentence has to be perfect. That every character has to know the right thing to say. That each scene should be carefully crafted on the first try.
First drafts are supposed to be messy so you have a chance to explore your own creativity. So if you’re new to the writing scene and you’re scared to start that story for whatever reason, here’s your sign to do it. Love it. Breathe it in. And later when you’re finished with it you can go back and edit it, but for right now, just have fun with it.
And if you’re a seasoned writer like me who’s in this slump too, it’s going to be okay. Be patient with yourself and find a way to push through the road block. That same joy is still there, you just have to find a way to unleash it.
As for how to come up with an idea, pay attention to the world around you. Look at how people talk and walk and interact with each other. Look at nature or the way someone’s face looks when they’re just getting off of work. Pay attention to the experiences you go through and use that as fuel. Look at the news or film to gain insight into what you want to write and how you want to write.
But the biggest thing you need to do is read. I can’t stress this enough. Reading is so important if you want to figure out your voice. You have to study the style of people’s writing in order to find your own. And even then it may change as you grow more seasoned or you may find yourself adopting other people’s styles of writing. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.
Even for me, my writing style differs depending on what I’m writing about. Sometimes my writing may shift into purple prose (which is considered to be descriptive language) or it can be simplistic and straight to the point. But at the end of the day I’m always learning because I force myself to read and look at the world. It can really make or break your ability to write and to tell an effective story.
I’ll be covering the fundamentals of writing like plot, story, character, etc in later posts, but for right now, this is a good stepping stone to begin your writing journey.
Good luck and happy writing!