Many of us have been places and have done things. And sometimes we feel compelled to write them down. Or maybe our imagination is producing amazing scenarios that can quickly turn into a great entertainment piece. All it takes is writing it down. But sometimes it’s not easy. Here’s a couple of tips on when to start and how to make the process more enjoyable.
Start at the beginning. But only if you want to
If you don’t know where to start, it’s okay. Don’t try to decide right now. The first line is of utmost importance, but no rule says you have to start there. Your first written words might end up in the middle of the second chapter, and that’s perfectly fine. As you work forward, you’ll get an idea about how to go backward, and once you develop your characters and the plot grows in directions you didn’t expect, you may find the perfect scene to start things off with.
Make room for imperfections
The best piece of advice anyone has ever given anyone is “Allow yourself to write badly.” Nothing paralyzes a writer more than the pursuit of perfection. You have an idea of a story in your head, glowing and enjoyable, but as soon as you try to set it down on paper, it turns into something feeble and banal. You waste time beating yourself up about producing nothing special, so eventually, you produce nothing at all. P.J. Braxton says: “Just write! Get something down. Later you can polish and fiddle about as much as you like, but before you can make changes, it’s vital that you at least have something to work with.”
Set a word count goal
John Grisham began his career as a lawyer and new dad — in other words, he was swamped. Nonetheless, he got up early and wrote a page a day, and after a couple of years, he had a novel ready. A page a day is only about 300 words. So you don’t need to write a lot; you just need to write as often as possible. Setting a daily goal will give you something to strive for, so make it attainable to be able to hit your target every day and gain momentum.
Get early feedback
Nothing hurts more than writing a book and then having to rewrite it, because you didn’t let anyone look at it. Have a couple of trusted advisers who can help you see what’s worth writing. These can be either your close ones or even real editors. Just try to find someone who will be honest with you.
Embrace failure and keep on pushing
Know that this is not easy, and you will most certainly mess up. Just be okay with failing. The most important thing is the determination to continue, not your elusive standards of perfection.
Being good at writing is no different from being good at anything else, be it music or sports. The most important thing you can do to improve is practice. No one sits down at a piano for the first time and thinks they’ll be able to play right away. Same goes for writing. Take your time and be patient.
Last, but not least
Charlie Kaufman once said: “I do throw out a lot of ideas, and completely forget about them.” With all the distractions of modern life, it’s so easy to lose a meaningful thought. Make sure to have a way to document your idea every time inspiration hits you. Some people still carry a little notebook and a pen around their neck; some try using a smartphone to jot down thoughts. We recommend using Senstone, a portable voice assistant. This tiny device is a digital notepad designed to help you keep track of your notes, even when on the go. Learn more about Senstone
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