Monthly Archives: August 2011

If you want to write, then write

I have read a number of articles recently claiming to provide ‘expert’ advice on ‘how to write’.  If I was going to rely on all of this ‘expert’ advice, I would achieve nothing other than becoming totally confused.

The majority of the articles I have read appear to fall into two main categories – the first advocating a fully structured approach to writing where endless hours are spent outlining themes, plots, characters, scenes, conflict, resolutions etc, and the other category advocating a ‘write first, structure later’ approach.

With two equally earnest camps expounding opposing points of view, how is anyone interested in writing but not feeling confident about their abilities supposed to get past reading all of this ‘expert’ advice and write their stories?

I don’t for a minute claim to have any expertise in the field of writing – but it is definitely something I enjoy, and more and more it is something I can’t live without.  From countless conversations I have had since I embraced my need to write rather than ignore it, I have come to the conclusion that writing is a very personal thing,  everyone’s experience of writing, and with writing is very different.

With this in mind, I would argue that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to write.  Rather, if you want to write, or need to write, then write – anywhere, anytime, anyhow.  If you get into a writing habit, without trying to meet the expectations of so-called ‘experts’, eventually you will find your own style of writing that works for you.

In fact, the one thing that all of the articles I have read recently agree on is developing a daily habit of writing.  For some people this might be first thing in the morning, for others last thing at night.  Some people will make a definite time to write, and others will steal five minutes here and ten minutes there throughout the day.  I personally don’t think it matters – whatever works for you.

So, if you are one of the many people out there who have a story or stories to tell, or one of the many who have said, “One day I’d like to write a …”, then the only advice this non-expert can give you is start writing.  A story will not tell itself, you have to write the words – even if it is only 50 words a day.

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Alive and writing

Alive and writing!

It has been months since I have posted anything here.  My loss of creativity, written about in my last post, seemed absolute.  Try as I might, no words would come as I sat down to write, and then after a while I just stopped trying.

All that has changed over the last few weeks.

Even though I have two novels and one non-fiction piece that I had been working on previously, inspiration struck like a lightning bolt out of the blue, and I have been regularly working on a new novel ever since.

The writing of it is quite different to my usual method, so I am not sure if this has helped keep the creativity alive, or if the act of writing daily has something to do with it.

When the inspiration came, I was afraid it would leave as quickly as it had arrived, so I wanted to limit as much self-imposed pressure and expectation as I could.  As I sat down to write on that first day after having felt deserted by creativity for so long, I decided to write just 1000 words.

At the time I wasn’t sure if the writing would be a short story or something more, so I thought 1000 words was achievable either way, and by then I would have a better idea.

I also decided not to think about the creative spark too much.  Instead I just sat and tapped away on the keyboard.  Whatever comes, comes, I thought, and decided not to try and direct the story in any particular direction, but instead let the story go wherever it pleased.

The result, so far, has been fantastic – not in the sense of what has been written – but in the sense of freedom I have felt as I have been writing.  No pressure,no limits, no trying to make the story fit into any particular mould.  If it doesn’t make sense at this stage, that’s okay – after all isn’t that what editing is for, to make the story make sense?

So, I am still alive, and I am busy writing.  Hopefully my next post will not be so long away as this one was from the last 🙂