The Art and Craft of Writing
So you want to write a book, or a blog, or an article, but you’ve never really written before. You think you might want to make a career out of it, or you might want to write the next Great American Novel, but you’ve never taken classes or you’ve never been to school for writing.
Maybe you’ve scribbled down a few ideas here and there. Maybe you’ve kept a blog for a while, but you know it’s not anything special. Perhaps you’ve even started your novel, but you don’t know how to continue with it.
In short, you know you’re not a professional writer, but you want to be able to write like one. The solution is fairly simple, and I am here to tell you that it is achievable.
Where to Start: Purpose
When you start writing, the first thing you often determine is your purpose. Why do you want to write? Sometimes it’s because you have something you feel is important to say. Other times, it might just be because you really enjoy writing. Some people were born to be writers and can’t avoid writing even if they try. Sometimes maybe you just want a little extra income and figure giving writing a shot might be a good idea.
Whatever your reason for starting to write, the reason is inevitably personal. You determine why you’re writing and what to write about. Once you have done that, you will be able to move forward with your writing.
Some people like to write down a purpose statement, others just go with the flow and have an idea in their heads. Do whichever works best for you, and then start writing!
The Next Step: Learning How to Write
Once you’ve discovered the purpose for your writing, you need to find the tools to enable you to write. If you started reading this lens hoping I would tell you tricks to becoming a fantastic writer overnight, you came to the wrong lens.
The truth is this: Writing is work. And sometimes, it’s really hard work. But the end result is worth the effort you put into it.
There are, in my view, no real rules to writing. There are principles and guidelines, but the rules only exist if you create them for yourself. I have some rules that I follow in order to write, but those are not the same as someone else’s rules. You will have to read and study in order to determine what writing style or routine works best for you. Some people need a lot of structure, and others don’t.
Your local library will have a section of books on writing. Googling writing tips or finding articles here on Squidoo will also be helpful. Teach yourself and learn from those who have been writing much longer than you.
Read a lot of the type of writing you enjoy. If you want to write fantasy, read as much fantasy as you can. If you want to write newspaper articles, read a ton of newspapers. Find writing books specific to your genre and read those. Or read memoirs and writing tips from famous authors.
Basically absorb as much information as you can.
Have Fun Writing
While writing may be hard work, it can also be incredibly rewarding. There are many ways you can have fun writing while still maintaining a level of professionalism. There are many competitions and contests you can enter. There are fancy, expensive notebooks you can buy. You can even write with a fountain pen in scrolling calligraphy if you choose.
My favorite way of having fun writing is to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) every year. This particular competition has you attempting to write 50,000 words in the month of November. According to the rules, you must write a novel, and it must be a new work. You have to start your novel on the first of November, and before that day you are only allowed to write notes. However, the rules are extremely flexible and if you want to be what they call a NaNo Rebel, you can. As a NaNo Rebel, you can write whatever you want and however much you want.
The point of NaNoWriMo is to push yourself to write as much as you can in a month and to participate in the large community of writers to find support and connections.
If you search for them, you will be able to find tons of different writing groups where you can connect with other writers and sometimes even get feedback on your writing.