Have you always wanted to write the story of your life? Has writing always seemed too out of reach for you? I’ve heard countless people go on and on about how they wished they could be a better writer, yet they never write or even make an attempt to be a writer. I am putting an end to this mentality once and for all.
People shouldn’t go through life wishing to be a better writer, when all you have to do to be a better writer is to write! Writing is a part of our daily lives. There are dozens of writable moments found in everyday life – from your morning Starbucks to your evening commute. Inspiration is all around you; you just need to know how to recognize it. Grab a notebook or a laptop and get writing! Here are four tips to get you into writing!
- Listen to the world around you
The best way to find inspiration is to be present in the world around you. Take out your headphones and close your book. The conversations, the music and the noise around you is where story ideas lie. The world is full of characters and interesting moments, so pay close attention.
Once you’ve heard or seen something that struck you or stuck with you, write it down. Maybe a friend or family member said something recently that you can’t quite get out of your head. Write about what you were doing when you observed that moment. What were other people doing? What were your surroundings? Start putting your ideas on the page and don’t stop until you’ve included all the important details.
- Write what you know
Writing what you know makes writing seem less forced. You know your life best so that is a great jumping off point. Consider writing about your favorite memory, your childhood, your happy place, or anything else you love. Journaling about your daily life will also feel natural and serve as a simple introduction to writing.
When you’ve determined what you want to write about, recall who was there with you and include their voice through dialogue. Set the scene. Many of these moments may have happened long ago so it is okay to use your imagination to fill in some gaps, as long as you are not dramatically changing what happened or defaming anyone. Unlock some memories with your writing!
- Read, read, read!
Published authors and writers are perfect role models for other writers. Reading is a great avenue to find inspiration while also absorbing a sense of writer’s craft and voice. Now that you’ve determined what you’re interested in writing about, it is helpful to find a book or article about a similar topic or writing style. Nonfiction books are often the best at modeling how to write about your life since the moments in them are real and raw. Also, poetry books tend to address a variety of topics which can be a great jumping off point, even if you are not writing poetry.
As you’re reading, notice the choices that the writer made on the page, such as dialogue, imagery or word choice. Pick one of these writer’s moves to focus on emulating in your writing. On the first try, it may be helpful to emulate a text sentence by sentence – almost like a Madlib where you’re filling in your story. In other writing sessions, focus on one writer’s move or more and make it your own. Make sure that the writer’s voice is yours. Use the reading material as a tool and make the story on the page yours as much as it can be.
- Take writing classes
Writing is an activity based in community. People are entire beings full of stories waiting to be written. Writing Classes are a great space to connect with other writers. The teacher of the class will share immense amounts of knowledge surrounding writing, revising and publishing. Your fellow writers will become your biggest supporters and your biggest critics – and all writers should support and critique each other to create a community of stronger writers.
Boston is home to an endless number of writing classes for beginners to experienced writers. The Boston Public Library offers free writing classes to members. GrubStreet in the Seaport offers online and in-person classes for teenagers and adults on almost every genre and topic. Emerson College has student organizations such as the PubClub that focus on writing and workshopping student works. There are also informal writing groups that teach and workshop with each other in coffee shops. Do some research and take the class that most interests you!
Everyone who writes is a writer. If you’ve ever put words on a page, you are a writer! You should be proud to be a writer. Try one of these tips or all of them. Remember, you are doing this for you. No one ever has to see your writing, if you don’t want them to, but I encourage you to share your work whenever you are ready. I hope you get into writing and that you never stop writing!