I like writing. I like writing more than I like pretty much anything else. And I've always done it. It's my go to- when I'm bored I write, when I'm sad I write, when I'm happy... you get the picture.
Recently a few people have asked for advice about writing. I'm not Shakespeare (he's dead and male and white) but I've completed the process of writing a novel so I was happy to give the advisory role a go.
My first question- 'What kind of things do you write?'
The answer from the aforementioned parties was along the lines of-
'I don't know.'
'I haven't written anything because I don't think it'll be any good.'
And 'Nothing. I don't want anyone to read it.'
If you're giving this blog a read to find the secret of writing I'll tell you what I told them.
There is no secret. You just have to sit down and put pen to paper. You big wimp.
But in the spirit of helpfulness here is a list (because lists are great) of things you can do to get started and boost your writing confidence:
1. Don't over complicate things. Don't launch straight into plotting your epic fantasy novel. Start small, write your ideas down or write a short story you can then develop. Allow yourself, your ideas and your writing time to grow.
2. Cut out the pressure. You're in control, no one is going to hijack your pc and publish your ramblings for the world to mock. First and foremost write for yourself- assume no one else will ever read it. Then as you get more confident start sharing it with people who support you (like your mum).
3. Have fun. Write something that makes you chuckle or makes you feel something. Write something that you enjoy reading. If you like what you write chances are someone else will.
4. Just write. The best advice I was given by a playwright friend, who in turn was given it by another writer, is write something everyday, even if it's nonsense. You might find ideas from half an hour of random notes becomes the plot twist in that epic fantasy novel. I use my travel time for writing, you can check out the #CreativeCommute Challenge I started for people who do the same. It's amazing to lose yourself in words as you get the train to work. (In all honesty I'm writing this blog on the tube, will probably miss my stop.)
5. Dive right in. Go see plays and write a dramatic scene. Write a scene for TV. Write a poem. Write a blog. Write a short story. Try everything to see what you enjoy. Initially they may be rubbish, it doesn't matter. When I'm drafting I'll put something down knowing it's a bit weak but that I will fix it when I come back to redraft. There's no point in agonising over every word, get it down, let it flow and fix it later.
It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, the more you write the better you'll get. So get going! It's really not as hard as you think.