I recently got to visit my first creative writing workshop. It strengthens the notion that writers can gain traction in life by helping each other out.
How to get started? Read on.
1. Write Everyday
Be it 10 minutes, do not miss it. You are training your mind on a new skill. This will reduce time when you have to wrestle with a blank page a.k.a writer’s block.
For a year, I worked at a 9 hour job where I developed content on a daily basis and got up to 2500 words done in a day. Discipline is always rewarded million folds. Although it takes a lot longer to master your craft. It helps with the formation of ideas when you actually sit down to write.
2. If you get stuck, take a break
You can take a walk, sleep on it , come back to it after finishing a chore. Not many people are aware that our brain is an exceptional problem-solving data center. If you introduce a problem and give it time, you are bound to come to a solution. When you take a break, it allows the problem to be shifted to the back of your mind. This is where the magic happens.
Writing is not the kind of work which you can do in any mindset such as cleaning, cooking or watching TV. Getting into the headspace for writing is important. This does not mean that you use it as an excuse to frequently move away from writing. Use it sparingly in the beginning or maybe switch to write a memoir, read a couple of articles on a blog or maybe explore Quora.com .
3. You are your worst critic
The pressure to be judged can put you in a position where sharing your thoughts by putting yourself out there becomes overwhelming. Instead, write with a single reader in mind. Share your content with close friends and get feedback. Just like we judge our looks and imperfections harshly than other peple, same comes with any creative work.
Start posting your content online. Do not be discouraged by criticism, use it to iron out kinks. Articles can be posted on an individual blog, or sites such as Medium. You can answer people’s questions on Quora.
You will find that the answers posted on Quara have a common format. Instead of simply giving you what you are seeking. The writer will share a story or and experience which once you reach the end, you will have answered the query for yourself. This is what is called, “Show, don’t tell”.
4. Carry a notebook and pen
Ideas can come at the most unexpected moments. If you fail to record it, the idea is lost forever. This holds true for writing, business plans, inventions and even you try making sense of life.
5. Engage with your readers
If someone has taken the time to comment on your work, you should always acknowledge it. This will help you connect with like-minded people. Essentially creating a reader base.
6. Read a LOT more
Reading expands the horizon of your thinking. Read other people’s work, note down new words, it enhances your vocabulary and exposes you to different writing styles.
7. Be Unapologetic
Do not be afraid of being judged, it makes putting your heatfelt emotions and experiences into print impossible. Understand this, you will be judged by people all your life, if you let it go to your head, you won’t be able to take life-changing decisions. I highly recommend “I Am Another You” by Priya Kumar (available on Amazon).
If you cannot do that, a creative field will be limited for you and your thoughts and life will forever stay behind the fence of mediocrity, even when greatness is right across this mental barrier.
8. Coffee is you friend
A strong cup of coffee gets my creative juices flowing. Avoid drinking a cup of Joe late in the evening as it takes about 7 hours to completely eliminated from your system. Else you will find yourself wide awake at night.
9. Write for yourself
Enjoy your work. There will be times when you go back and read something you have written in the past, you might not even remember what you wrote, but it will serve as a tool to understand how far you have come.
When you put in your personal thoughts, choices, maladies and anxiety on paper, it will help you see a clear picture, the information is jumbled in your head, but once you write it down, it becomes a lot simpler to reach conclusions. This also serves as a personal tracker. Always mention the date.
10. Do not compare yourself to others
Your experiences, upbringing way of thinking, makes you truly unique. You are a one shot deal, there was no one like you and there won’t be anyone after you. Compete with yourself, work to outdo your achievements. Share your journey with others, you might end up helping someone.
11. Talk less, Do more
Writing is hard, if we sway too much, we end up being serial procrastinators. The more you talk, it gives a fake sense of achievement, without actually doing something.
12. Write first, edit later
If you edit as you write, ,there is a possibility that you miss out on the ideas that are running in your head. Write diligently, when editing, do not be lazy, take care of spelling, grammar and context. Re-check your work.
One trick is to proofread from the bottom up; Our minds have a knack to skim through information. Breaking down the editing part by starting from the end helps you edit for effectively.
Use serial commas, best avoided in business writing, for every other place use as many as you need. Try to talk about a single subject in a paragraph to keep your reader engaged.
The overall flow of the information should follow a structure so that the reader’s interest and curiosity is retained and they actually end up reading the whole thing.
14. Write for pleasure
If you are doing it for the money, you won’t go far. Focus on the craving and the need to write, the money will come.
15. Live life
Say yes to more invitations, take that solo trip, step out of your comfort zone. This will give you perspective on which you can pen down your thoughts.
16. Getting Published
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) by Amazon has opened up avenues for self-publishing. This platform simplifies the publishing process. Once you feel like you are ready, it does not have to be a 100 page book. You can get started with a self-help guide if you’d like which can be as little as 25 pages. It will help you get a sense of your audience and will help you decide the topics you would like to write about in the future.
17. Never Settle
It feels phenomenal when you achieve something. Delay your gratification, do not be content, keep working and avoid sitting on your laurels for too long. I am not saying that you shouldn’t celebrate achievements and victories, avoid riding one victory horse for too long.
I wish you all the success in your journey as a writer. Feel free to share your work.