“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” – Neil Gaiman
Let’s get one thing clear.
I am not a world-renowned writer.
I have not written a book or reams of poetry.
I haven’t even written a lot of blog posts or essays.
My writing is far from perfect and it requires constant improvement and rechecking.
But ever since I was a child I have always referred to myself as a writer.
I still call myself a writer.
I write random thoughts. I journal my day. I hand-write all to-do lists and I write messages and e-mails to my friends and family on all subjects. To me, writing is an extension of my ever-present ability to talk for England. It just takes me a little longer.
But here is what I’ve learned so far on writing…
This knowledge can be distilled into one important note.
To be a writer – Just write
Put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and get going. Worry about the rest later!
There’s nothing else to it really.
Why? Surely there must be more you may ask.
There’s no point in learning about literary devices or working on a plot or thinking of the design of the page where the writing would be if there is no writing.
You can always delete what you’ve written.
You can always go back and edit it in the future.
You can always improve it.
You can’t do shit if you’ve not written anything.
You can work on your tone or writing style in the future, but if you don’t even know how you write at the moment. Then how will you make it better?
Even in this blog post, I am writing much differently than I have before – just to see how it works, see how it feels and see whether or not it’s a writing style that I can continue for this blog (or whether it’d be more appropriate for something like an e-mail list).
I like to write blog posts that would be useful for me. I read, learn, plan and write them. I see how they go. If in 2 years, I want to delete this post or I change my opinion then I can and will edit it accordingly.
But if I had never written this in the first place then there would be nothing to change in the future, I’d have one less blog post to look back on and I’d have failed to see if this writing style works in blog format (let me know in the comments if it works – if anyone sees this).
But if you wanted a more step-by-step guide…
I’ll keep this short and sweet.
Step 1: Read more than you write
If you want to write poetry, read a lot of poems.
Writing blog posts more your thing? Then read a literal crap ton of blog posts similar to what you want to write.
If crafting the next great novel is what you want to do then get that TBR pile down before you start.
Step 2: What is your purpose
Every piece of writing needs some kind of purpose, whether it’s to inform someone on how to start writing, whether it’s to invoke emotion through heart-wrenching poetry or entertain and provoke thought through a dystopian future.
Every piece of writing needs some kind of purpose and something central to guide it.
Work out what that is and just go with it.
Step 3: Plan
Or if you don’t like to plan. Then don’t. Just be warned. Your writing may go off-topic!
Step 3: Write
I think we’ve been through this. Just sit down and write. Worry about the rest later!
Step 4: Publish
If it’s poetry or a blog. Publish it! It’s better than nothing.
If it’s a novel, then perhaps don’t and try and improve it some more then publish.
Step 5: Improve
You’re now a writer. Keep writing and you’ll get better. Try and become better. Go back and edit old works, create new works. Play with different writing styles and keep things fresh. Just write. Make sure to have fun with it!
(If you enjoyed this blog post leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of this new writing style. It’s just something I’m playing with and I’d love your feedback! At the very least. This was very fun for me to write and helped me solidify my current thoughts on writing)