So you want to write. You just watched or read something that gave you that creative itch that you just have to scratch. So you pick up your pen or turn on your comp, sit on your favourite chair, fingers at the ready and then… nothing because you have no idea how to write. Disaster. You panic, thinking of how the world will learn of your story/voice now that you hit that dreaded wall of the block and what you did write is as sophisticated as a shotgun wound.
Pictured: Shotgun wound.
Editor’s Note: No
Worry not, dear reader, for you have come across this blog post written by me, the Burnt Cream™, to teach you how to write. I have been writing for years and have no publications under my belt, but I can teach you a thing or two about writing from a decade of trial and error. Still reading? Not off to play INSERTGAMEHERE? Great!
Picture this: You, a writer, a master of uh- writing, sipping a cup of tea as you stare into the horizon. Then suddenly, the muse hits you with a burst of inspiration, an endless stream of ideas that you put into paper, enlightening the world with your masterful control of the word.
Pictured it? Good. Now get it out of your head. And that is lesson one: Ideas are cheap.
- Lesson 1: Ideas are cheap.
Writers, musicians and other creative authors have often been romanticized as wells of inspiration and ideas, writing at the coming of their muses producing masterworks. While flashes of inspiration does happen to even the best authors, what separates the professional from the amateur is that even in times of a creative rut, the professional will still churn out pages after pages, while the amateur will grit their teeth in desperation for the ball to roll. So how does the professional do this? What magic do they do? What kind of juice do they drink? Simple.
Writing is a skill, it is not about ideas.
Professionals get to where they are with constant practice. True, a creative mind can give one a leg up, but talent could only get you so far. Even worse, sitting around waiting for something to happen won’t make the words, well, happen. Here’s a video discussing Stephen King’s secret on how he writes so fast:
If you’re not in the mood for videos, here is the quote:
‘The way that I work, I try to get out there and I try to get six pages a day. So, with a book like End of Watch, and … when I’m working I work every day–three, four hours, and I try to get those six pages, and I try to get them fairly clean. So if the manuscript is, let’s say, 360 pages long, that’s basically two months work. … But that’s assuming it goes well.’ ~ Stephen King
The takeaway from this is not to worry if what you’re writing will win you a bestseller. Just write. If what you wrote is good; then good. If what you wrote is bad; then learn from it. You won’t get anywhere from sitting down and worrying how it’ll turn out. On ideas being cheap, there’s a game on the nets where you can experience this yourself. It’s called ‘Explain a plot badly’.
Pictured: Plot explained badly
In other words: A good writer can make bad/weird ideas good but a bad writer can make good ideas bad.
For the students: Considering the location on where this post is posted, you’re probably a student and you might wonder how could this help you with your work. Through experience, I commonly find that a prime reason why students have so much trouble completing their assignments is because of a tiny voice in the back of their heads telling them that their assignments are not good enough and etc. Sounds familiar? Yup yup, so just write. It doesn’t matter if your thesis sounds like the ramblings of a mad prophet; just write anything and fill in the chinks later.
Additional help from people smarter than me:
Writing Excuses (https://writingexcuses.com/)
A weekly podcast by experienced writers, Writing Excuses teaches you aspects of writing from characters to brainstorming and to publishing that will benefit the novice and experienced writers. In fact the idea and most of what I’ve spewed out in this post is right of the lessons I’ve learned from them. So check it out.
No idea on how to plan out your work?
See you next time!