How To Start Writing

It’s one thing to dream of writing - to imagine all the success of your work, to think about the finished product - but it is another beast entirely to actually sit down and write. I started writing when I was about 12, and never actually finished a draft until 2018. The feeling of finishing something was incredible, and yet, it still wasn't a finished book. 

I remember starting to write and being thrilled, but that’s not what every day is like. It can be hard and seem impossible but you just have to keep going. This post is for those who want to start writing or have started writing and need some advice on sticking with it.

Start Writing, and Make it a Routine

The truth is that if you don’t write consistently, you aren’t going to be able to get done what you want to do and you aren’t going to improve much at all. Writing is something that requires a lot of practice; it’s like any other skill. I’m not saying you have to sit and write all day long. That’s not realistic unless you’re already a person who is making a living by writing, (A.K.A. not that many people at all) so don’t try and make yourself do that. Start small - maybe thirty minutes a day. If you can’t even do that it's still fine.

A great suggestion I have for this is getting a prompt book. I got my first one for my birthday a few years ago. All it is is a little book filled with prompts and a dozen or two lines underneath. You simply respond to the prompt, finish the story, whatever is applicable to your specific prompt, and it gets you going. Maybe that isn’t working on your big project, but it’s practice, and that’s always important.

Another suggestion I have is starting a writing blog. There are huge communities of writers on various social media sites, but my favorite is Tumblr. I made one back in June of 2018 and I can say with a sound mind that it has made me much more productive and introduced me to plenty of other writers and styles. There’s a variety of tips and advice for whatever kind of writing you do, as well as a lot of people who are interested in getting to know more about your projects. I’m so honored to be a part of such a supportive and creative community, and I truly believe that it has helped me grow as a writer and a person.

Let Yourself Write Badly

Nobody writes perfectly. In fact, I’m pretty sure someone (maybe you!) is going to read this post and go, “Hmmm, she could have worded that much better.” Even Grammarly and editors don’t catch all typos and errors. Writing can be imperfect. It will be imperfect.

Not everyone is going to like your writing. You aren’t always going to like your writing. No one starts out as an incredible writer--you have to put in the work to get there! When you let yourself write badly and don’t give up on it, you will improve. Some say you might hate your writing and maybe even hate yourself, but you need to remember that this is simply a part of a journey that still has a long way to go.

One day, you’ll get there. It just might not be today.

Write for Yourself

Don’t write what a publisher will like. Don’t write what an agent will like. Don’t even write what your friends or family will like. One way that I keep going with my writing is that I write about what I love. It motivates me. I know that what I’m writing is what I want to see out on the shelves, what I want to read. Not everyone is going to like what I’m doing, but I’m not doing it for everyone else. I do it for me because I love writing and this is the kind of creation I want to see out in the world.

(But if other people like it too, that’s amazing!)

Don’t Worry About Getting Published

A lot of people want their work to be published, including me. I’d love for this to be my career one day. But that’s not WHY I write. Like I said above, I do it for myself. If you don’t ever get published, there isn’t anything wrong with that. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It doesn’t even mean there’s anything wrong with your writing.

There’s a lot that goes into what gets published and what doesn’t. Not everyone is going to make the cut. Just keep doing what you love and loving what you do. If it’s going to happen, it’ll happen. But until then, keep writing!