7 August 2008

Just keep writing

You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair, the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 2000

1004996_antique_typing_keyboard I have been making up stories for as long as I can remember. And, a long, long time ago (in a galaxy not so far away) I even wrote them down. While I was at school, I was always encouraged to write more by my language teachers, and generally scored fairly high marks for Creative Writing.

And then, one day, I just stopped writing. It happened slowly, because I stopped paying attention to it. I missed it terribly, but I had other things to focus on – like having a baby and building a career – and I was blogging, so I could pretend that the urge to write wasn’t a continuous howl in my inner ear. Last year, my baby turned 10 and my career was settled, and suddenly the urge to write, really write, return with a vengeance.

When I started writing again, it was hard. Like pulling teeth. But, slowly over the past couple of months, I have found the groove again. It hasn’t been easy, and there is no magic button to just switch it on again.

IMAGE_191 The only way to get back into writing is to do just that: get back into writing. Write every day. Every day. Even if it is just 100 words. Even if you delete them the next day. But write every day you must.

Make use of writing prompts*, write the stories of the people you meet, write the stories of your dreams. Write anything, as long as you write.

It is a skill, just like any other, that should be stretched and polished until it gleams, and then polished and stretched some more. And the only way you can do this is by writing, as often as possible.

And, of course, you have to read. A lot.

If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you.
- Natalie Goldberg

*Some Writing Prompts:

There are many other sites with great writing prompts, and you should be able to find at least one that will spark a story in your active subconscious.

Just keep writing.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is great advice. Like you I stopped really writing when my children were little, and just last year I got the NEED to write again. So I just did, NaNoWriMo helped me wet my feet and now slowly but surely I am working on the joy of writing again.

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