I began storytelling when I was a toddler. I wrote my first poem when I was five, my first ‘novel’ as an adolescent, and my first decent novel (unpublished and unpublishable, but it has good bones) when I was in my mid-teens.
In short, I have been writing all my life. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are a few things I have learned about writing along the way.
1. It’s never as bad as you think. It’s also never as good as you think. Basically most of the time you can do better, and many times you’ve done MUCH worse. Trust yourself.
2. Don’t write “for the market”.. Don’t write the popular thing in the fond hopes that you can hitch your wagon to it. By the time your stuff comes out the popular thing will be so yesterday. Write what you want to write, need to write, and let the trends set themselves.
3. Don’t compare your life and career to writers more successful than you are, however you define success. A handful of them will ALWAYS be more successful than you but it is not worth your time and energy to waste an ounce of either worrying about it.
4. Don’t think you’ve ever invented anything new. Every storytelling technique was already ancient before you were born. If you have invented a slight twist on one, that is a huge accomplishment in itself.
5. Find your tribe. Have SOMEONE out there who understands. In the dark hours – and those will come – it helps to know you aren’t alone out there with your tiny guttering candle.
6. Practice faith. Even when all the gods and muses are obstinately silent in the face of all entreaty. Perhaps especially then.
7. Know when to let go. Nothing is EVER finished – but you have to know when to stop tweaking. It will never be perfect. Live with it. Get your story as good as you can and then let it step out into the world to seek its fortune. Hope it sends you a postcard to show you how it’s doing.
8. Read other writers. Remember, they are reading YOU.
9. There are times when it is good to walk in the rain. Yes, you might get damp – but there’s a sense of being one with the world in the heart of it, and then there is always the comfort and security of the hot cup of tea when you come back in with new insights.
10. You are unique. Words are common, and easy to find. You can pick them up like pebbles on a beach. But finding the RIGHT words – and putting them in the right order – that’s unique to you. Even given the exact same words, nobody else is ever going to use them the same way as you do. You are unique, and only you can be you, and only you can tell a story in exactly the way you do. Never let that simple truth get away from you.
Now, go write.
15 Reasons Why The English Language Makes Absolutely No Sense
4. Because whoever wrote this poem is a genius:
See the other examples HERE
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