It’s a sad feeling.
One that eats you up, leaving you worried and downcast. You consider yourself a writer, but over the past couple of weeks, stretching into months, you haven’t written anything that mattered. You sense a barrier between you and your love – writing. A towering barrier that makes you feel you’re a derelict.
You want to write, heck, you desire and crave to write. But questions like “What do I write? Where’s the most conducive place to write? Or how do I start?” rise up to choke whatever little interest you’ve mustered already.
These are all but familiar traps that I’ve had the agonizing experience of plunging into. For many days and nights I just couldn’t help but feel awful since I was bereft of any solutions to my problem.
My ink didn’t wet my papers neither did my keyboards feel the warmth of my fingers till I learnt a simple but yet instructive lesson. I had asked myself, “If a car is unable to move – conveying people and goods from one location to the other – would it still be valued as a car?”
This got me thinking and after a while I realized that, it’s not the features of the car that really makes it one, but the service it renders – its usefulness. Drawing from this knowledge, I embraced the awareness that my usefulness as a writer is in my writing. I could go on all day telling anyone (and everyone) that cared to listen that I’m a writer but if I never did the needful, which is to write, I’d only be playing to the gallery.
And that’s unhelpful.
To beginner writers, this can be a labyrinth. Luckily, there’s a way out. To figure the way out, this truth must hang on your wall: real writers write, whatever, wherever and however.
Writing Defines You
But does that make all of them writers? I think not. It is you who is a writer. Why? Because writing means more to you. It’s your tunnel into reality (or escape from reality into the amazing wonderland of Alice). Through writing you find an uncommon means of expression, connecting your emotions and ideas together with words; words strung together on the ropes of your imagination and facts.
Writing fascinates you.
This is why when you find it difficult to write, you hurt. Now, some people go as far as skipping a meal in order to appease their guilty feeling of not writing. An emotional rollercoaster, you may call it.
But … despite this strong affinity, your writing still suffers neglect.
Where then lies the problem? In my case, I believed (wrongly so) that I wasn’t an authority in the writing empire and I also didn’t possess sufficient writing finesse. So, I stayed aloof. Months passed and I never participated in any writing contests, neither did I even engage in a casual evening jotting. I relegated writing to the background.
It’s like packing your luggage to travel. You first put in all the important stuff, zip it, lean back and see if it fits, then you stuff in more and also check. You do this till the travel-bag can take no more, then you leave behind whatever thing that couldn’t make it into the bag.
Since I’d relegated writing, it became the thing that got left behind after my time had been preoccupied with other seemingly important stuff. Thankfully, I was quick to remind myself that writing is what defines real writers. And if I were to wear the writer’s badge, I had to do the job – write.
Write whatever comes to mind
Waiting for an idea to come can be tiring.
Chances are you’ll never get any writing done when you sit and wait for that aha! moment. I have found in my own experience that it’s preferable to get down random ideas (that would later on form writing prompts) just as they come. Both the crazy and brilliant ones; whatever comes to mind.
You can carry along a small jotter and pen to help with this practice. Since I’m not so much of the pen and paper writer, I stick to my smart phone and use ColorNote app to achieve same target of capturing ideas as I stumble upon them.
In a day, with this practice, it’s easy to end up with about three sound writing prompts. Zero in on one, and write on it. A key benefit of this is the rescinding of writer’s block from your writing life. Death to it!
Can’t figure out how to develop the prompt?
A little digging deep (research) may prove helpful in this case. Backed by this, you’re sure to come up with quality content, worth sharing.
Another thing you may consider is to try writing in different genres. It’s possible to use poetry to develop ideas for an article. If poetry enjoys any affinity in you, dabble into it, use it. It’s fun.
Where you are doesn’t restrict you
A friend once told me of how she started off writing after minutes of battling with sleep while at a night vigil. To keep sleep at bay, she wrote. In spite of where she was, she wrote.
The key is to draw inspiration from where you are. With Google at one click away, all the world is present with you right inside your room where you are. And with a lot of apps to help, your smart phone should be deployed to a better use (damn it, no social media time drag!).
True, personal experience can help a writing piece stand out, it however, shouldn’t be a hindrance to get started. The need to be at a particular place before writing can be done can reduce the vibe.
No matter where you are – given that distractions are put off – embrace your God-given freedom and write.
Your writing sucks?
Keep writing. Write when you don’t feel like it, write when your writing doesn’t make sense to you. Just write. If you’ll stay intentional about it and see it as a learning process, then soon enough, you’ll become aware of the little improvements you’ve made that will sure enough add up to become giant leaps.
Sonia Simone advices “When you’re ready to get some draft copy down, do it fast. Unless you’re a very experienced writer, don’t stress too much about grammar, usage, spelling, word choice, or even logical flow.”
You’ll have sufficient time to review the draft. All you need focus on at this moment is setting down your ideas on the pages of paper or your PC screen.
Your writing isn’t about passing your English Language teacher’s test, it’s about expressing yourself with the right words that come to your mind.
Just so you know
“Worrying about your writing is not writing. Kicking yourself for all the ways you fail to measure up is not writing. Even endless edits are not writing.” – Sonia Simone
Also, reading about writing is not writing (my two cents). To be a real writer, do the art – write.
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