Making mistakes and learning from them.
I read the books. So much writing advice all stuck in this head. I’ve used it all. And now I will talk about what has helped me and why I think some exercises have worked. No, I haven’t published any of my short stories (though I have tried) or a novel (in the process of one) but I have written over a hundred blog post so I hope that gives me some credit. I think it was easy to write short blurbs of information when it was for work. It’s work. Need to get things done or you don’t get paid. Even unpaid work. I was writing and strangers I never met were reading it. I wrote celebrity news, food news, and style news and I gained experience. I learned that when it was for work I could write. What I struggle with is writing creatively.
Practice With A Schedule.
I have waited for inspiration to strike and I have barely written a poem. By sitting down and forcing myself to write everyday I have noticed I write better and faster. Try to write at the same time everyday. Make a schedule. Everyday, every other, or three times a week. Writing is a muscle in the brain and it needs working out like any physical muscle. Train your brain to switch the creative juices on. Just write. Doesn’t have to be a story. Can be in a journal. Everyday tasks or delicious meals you had. I found by writing more often the Muse visited me more often.
Find your time.
Some have a belief it is better to write in the morning and others believe they write better at night. I say, at least you’re writing. I did find after trying different time periods throughout the day I am a better morning writer. Unconscious, one eye open writing keeps me from editing while I’m writing. Just too tired to care.
Bird By Bird.
I read this book by Anne Lamott titled Bird By Bird and one thing stuck with me. She talks about her brother at ten years old. He had three months to write a report on birds which was due the next day. Surrounded by a number of books, and papers on birds and overwhelmed there father sat down next to him and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” I can get overwhelmed with everything I want to write. I don’t where to start, how to end, and jump ahead to just get everything down. Sometimes just the thought of 50,000 words stops me from writing completely. This book taught me to just slow down, take a deep breath and work on one idea or image at a time. Bird by bird equals moment by moment.
In school I had no problem writing. With impending due dates I knew I had to finish a report/short story or not get a grade. Even then I was guilty of waiting until last minute. After I left school I had no one encouraging me to write. I had to learn to mentally kick myself into action, sit down, and write. Make myself feel guilty if I enjoyed a prize which I had no effort to show. Learn to encourage when I needed compassion. If you grew up with a great work ethic or someone encouraging you just realize how lucky you are.
Stop Being A Perfectionist.
“First draft of anything is shit.” Ernest Hemingway. All writers write shitty first drafts. I’ve had friends who want to read my work but I tell them, at least, not until the second draft. The first draft is where I pour all my ideas out onto a page. I don’t erase anything, write scenes out of order, and don’t correct my spelling or grammar mistakes.
Be inspired. Notice what you like reading and try your hand at that style. Also, when you read the use of language, vocabulary, and grammar are seeping into the brain. Of course, reading is fun!
Don’t know why I wrote this. Guess I read something that inspired me. Writing this helped me see how far I’ve come as a still struggling creative writer. Maybe, it can help you too.