Quill pen and inkwell on old book

Getting Started Writing

Do you long to be a writer?  To create your own script, turn that amazing story into a great novel, or put that beautiful poetic prose down? Beautiful! Lean into it.  Be a writer.

“LESSON ONE: DITCH THE DREAM. BE A DOER, NOT A DREAMER. Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen.”

Shonda Rhimes

How to be a writer

Is there this drive and passion inside of you to be a writer? An inner voice that won’t quell? Are stories just bubbling out of you? So, what’s stopping you?  Is it your own internal dialogue telling you that you aren’t any good?  That you don’t have the time or the training?  That you don’t know even where to start?  Listen, you can make up every excuse in the book. The truth is, you can do anything you set your mind to. You have to decide to start.

“The only failure is not trying.”

Robin Sharma

First, let’s tackle that internal, negative naysayer in your head.  That little voice that says you can’t write is crippled by fear of failing. Writing is personal. In everything you write there will be a piece of your heart and soul and sometimes your twisted mind on display for everyone to read. Often the fear of letting the world see these vulnerable parts of you can be a bit unnerving.

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“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” 

Allen Ginsberg

No time to write

You think you do not have time to write.   What are you making time for that is NOT important? Be honest with yourself. Often people think there is not enough time in a day. However, if you check your screen time, many people can shave off at least 15 minutes to follow their dream instead of getting caught in the rabbit hole of watching others’ dreams on social media. This is your life, and YOU are the leading role- so get to it! MAKE it part of your day.

You have no real training to be a writer? Okay, you may not have a Ph.D. in Creative Writing. Anything we try, we have to start somewhere.  Regardless of your age or what you studied previously, you can be a writer.  Be patient with yourself and keep it easy by starting small with a simple form of writing, like short stories, blogging, or essays, somewhere you can develop your skills and build your confidence.  At the heart of it- we are all beautiful, unique individuals and have great stories within us worth sharing with the world.

Would you like someone else to keep you accountable or want some help getting started? Try taking a course, hire a writing coach, join a writer’s group, collaborate with a friend who is also a writer. There are numerous options out there, some free, some paid. If you decide to hire someone, I recommend supporting your local artist’s community.

“Most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying.”

Elon Musk

Read, read, and read

A great skill set to be a writer is to read. Read and read and read some more, and then listen to audiobooks. Diversify your reading: read articles, screenplays, newspapers, blogs.  Read works from Shakespeare to Grisham, to Kerouac, to Austen, to Melville, to Doyle.  Read the Bible, the Vedas, and the Koran. Not just the books related to your particular genre. By branching out, you will be adding life to your future stories and characters.

What next? Stay tuned for more articles, where I’ll discuss creating your writing discipline, building your story, getting down to the nitty-gritty of writing (aka the technical stuff), and ways to work through writers/creative blocks.

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RELATED: Check out Mackenzie’s article how to start to be a painter – OH, Dear… WHERE TO START?

Remember, everything takes practice. You have to try to fail, and then you have to get up, try, and try some more because you have to fail to succeed. It won’t get any easier, and you won’t get any closer to the finish line until you start.

“Failure is Success in Progress.” 

Albert Einstein

Perseverance:  The hard work you do after you get tired of the hard work you already did. 

You got this, keep going, trust yourself, and follow your passions.

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