Life Wise Hints

Want to be a writer?

I am leaving ‘wellbeing’ behind for the moment and writing on the topic of writing. My question to you is ‘do you want to be a writer?’ If the first thought that came in to your head was ‘no’ I have news for you. You are a writer. We are all writers, some just do it more often than others.

Of those who write more often, many will write full-time, and make a career out of it. Some people even get paid for writing, that is the ‘good ones.’ But how do we get good at writing? The short answer is ‘keep writing’ but yes, it is more complicated.

However, if you want to be a writer, that is, take writing more seriously then I have some ideas to get you started. You might have the passion to write, to be a writer, a published author, but is passion enough?

For decades I wanted to be a writer. But life and work got in the way leaving no space for writing. Then I began to write articles and submit these. I did not know whether I met the journalistic standard, but I got published. I began as an untrained writer with passion and not much planning. Yet, this set me in motion and began my journey to follow my passion of writing.

But writing is not passion alone. I might love words and how they interact with each other to tell a story. I might have all the passion harnessed to strengthen my desire to write. But is passion enough? The simple answer is ‘No.’

If I want to write. If I want to get published. If I want others to take an interest in my passion of finessing the written word, I need more than passion. I must make words speak. Words need to join hands and make a story.

Take a notebook with you wherever you go. Inspiration sneaks up on you. When it does, write it down. Do you like to hand write your stories in a notebook? My preference is the keyboard. However, I must adopt the habit to keep a small notebook in my handbag.

I can tell a story, but I must draw in the reader. The reader is my judge. If I engage the reader, they will read beyond the first paragraph, beyond the first page. The words must entice and embrace the reader to read more and more.

Writing is work, solitary work. Writing might be my passion, but no, passion is not enough. Passion is like a conjoint twin, it needs planning. Other things interfere with my passion. I am distracted by other interests. I am drawn away from my passion of writing because I do not plan.

Writing is like my passion for travel. I could be passionate about a holiday in France but unless I plan the trip and buy a ticket, I will never make it. Planning is part of the writer/author journey. Writing is work and work cannot happen without planning.

I am aware of the adage ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ Thus, I plan to write, to be creative with my writing, through practice and practice. By editing and editing. Planning helps my focus. To achieve my writing goals, passion and planning must work together, hand in hand.  

How much time will I spend writing in a day? How much time will I spend writing in a week? The art of writing is a craft and I can only hone my craft by writing. But before I write I plan the story, the characters, the plots. I also just write, let my jumbled thoughts tumble out onto the page.

Then I can take a break to daydream, before the daydream takes on its own life, through words on the paper. I have the passion. I connect it with planning. I write.

But what about writer’s block? Read more here.

To be a writer, first become a reader. Be curious and ask questions. Write them down and do not be afraid to doodle.

There are many ways to become a writer. Here are a few ideas:

  • Write, write, write. Then edit, edit, edit.
  • Submit articles for publication/competitions.
  • Study journalism at university.
  • Join or start a writer’s group for support.
  • Become a better reader.
  • Start a blog.
  • Enrol in an online writing course.
  • Join a creative writing group.
  • Ask a published author to be a mentor.
  • Do your reading and research, before you write.
  • Daydream for creative inspiration.
  • Write, write, write. Then edit, edit, edit.

There are no fixed rules for successful writing, so go ahead make up your own rules for your writing journey. If you fail, try again, and repeat the cycle. Failure is just a stop on the journey to success.

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