There are a great many lessons I’ve learned from Journaling, writing to my blogs and just freeform writing.
You may know by now that writing IS hard.
1. Find Your Motivation
In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” — Stephen King
Motivation for anything is important. Finding out what your motivation is enables you define your goals and objectives. My first writing on Medium was to crush my pride and break through the inertia. It wasn’t to impact anyone or shape the world. For others it will be to improve the world or enrich the lives of others.
Only the writer determines what is valid.
Find your motivation at every step of the writing journey and refine it as you see fit.
2. Just Write
Overthinking often leads to inaction. In the area of writing, this is a common ailment whose only cure is to write. Like Louis L’Amour has said: “Start writing, no matter what”.
“No matter what” includes days when you have no inspiration. On such days write about “writing without inspiration”. Turn every situation into an opportunity to tell a story. You can only get better the more you write.
“The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
3. Allow Yourself To Suck
“The first draft of anything is sh**.” — Ernest Hemingway
This is one advice I’ve heard seen times without number. To truly learn and improve,one must put away their pride and need for perfection.
Writing is hard work and a well crafted and clear sentence takes effort. As William Zinsser articulates in his book “On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction”, good sentences often come through several iterations. Hardly the first, second or third time.
Giving yourself permission to suck will see you through times of despair and self-doubt.
4. Leverage Personal Experiences
The use of personal experiences in communication is a powerful tool. It enhances relateability and ushers the reader or listener into your world.
For a moment, they can feel you — touch you…become you. The next time you’re writing, ask yourself: “will the reader relate better by incorporating a personal experience”?
“…. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt — I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you.” —Cassandra Clare
5. Simplify (Keep It Simple)
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” — Jack Kerouac
A writer who is uneconomical with words creates a chore for the reader and as such is seen to lack empathy. The cardinal rule is: if you can’t explain something simply enough, you don’t understand it well enough.
Simplicity is recommended unless the intent of the writer is to be abstract.
For goodness sake, begin to write. Just let it flow. Now is the time to do it!