I love to write. As Gloria Steinem says in this article: “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” I feel like that. One day, I hope to have someone bring me food and occasionally brush my hair so I can write as interruptedly throughout the entire day as possible. But writing, as another writer so beautifully put it is really “sitting in front of a blank page until drops of blood form on your forehead.” Sometimes, getting the words out is freaking hard and sometimes you get stuck.
Over the former 10 of trying to write fiction* (only to find out I have no knack for it!), the past 6 years of blogging in English, and the last year of trying to write non-fiction, this is what I found out about writing and how to make it easier for yourself.
- Writing is rewriting. No text drops out of your head from your fingers onto the page in its most excellent state. I re-edit my posts at least 4 times: spelling, weird sentences, off tone, less jokes, more jokes, less adjectives (you never add more. You hear that, Stephenie Meyer?).
- If you don’t write down what you already have stuck in your head and just leave it in there for too long, it will never come out as brilliantly as you had it at first. Write it down. Now. Whether you use it now or later, write it down. That way it can’t rot in your head.
- Writer’s Block? I visualize/meditate on having access to the Universal Database, where every excellent idea ever and all good material comes from. Then I go do something mindless like exercise or cleaning and ideas usually start to pop up.
- Did I mention that when you don’t write down what you already have in your head, you won’t have any room for new ideas? Write everything down. Now.
- Turn off the Internet. For Fuck’s sake, turn off the Internet. Do you have any idea how many writers get lost procrastinating on the Internet forever? Turn it off. Write for a few hours, and then go dick around on Tumblr or 9Gag.
- Pay attention to what people love about your writing: Not because the reader rules the writer, but because information is power. But pay attention to what readers love about your writing: It is loved for a reason. That information can guide you towards the golden tone, your most passionate subjects and a style that’s most you.
- DON’T pay attention to those who steal your work. Whenever I see my old content pop up on someone else’s website, it’s either one of two things: One, someone genuinely likes my stuff, credits me and gives a lovely, unique personal touch on it. That’s great. I love it when that happens. But I do not love it when someone pretend they’ve come up with it themselves without so much as a hiccup they know I exist. Repeatedly. Took me a while to let go of my indignation but now I am relatively relaxed about it. People who can’t come up with their own original content really aren’t worth the frustration.
- Write as much as you can and use different materials. Anytime, anywhere. Always carry something to write on. Switch up your paper notebook with your phone, tablet, laptop, old college notebook, napkins even. Write on anything and everything at all times: It keeps your head limber and switching it up will generate new ideas.
- Accept the wonderful truth that what goes for anything in life (but especially for writing): If you keep doing it, preferably daily, you’re going to get better and better and better.