You can’t be taught to write. You can learn the mechanics, but the creativity comes from your right brain, your heart, your soul, your life experiences. Don’t let anyone steal it, not even your left brain. How many times we sit down to write and that niggling left brain begins to dictate rules. Don’t listen. Let the words flow as they come to mind. Forget grammar and punctuation and rules. They stifle your writer’s soul. Write like you feel, no matter how far out there it is.
Daydream, fantasize, lie. As fiction writers that’s what we do. We build worlds, we enthrall our readers with our imagination. We take them to places where they cannot otherwise go. We introduce them to people they can’t even imagine exist until we show them. Editing comes once we’ve written it all down, just the way it flowed from our brains.
If you write nonfiction, learn about Creative Nonfiction. At all times you must stick to the facts, but creative nonfiction opens up many other possibilities. Study the time and place until you could live there yourself, then put words in the mouths of your real characters, words you are sure they would have spoken. Internalize their thoughts, desires, secrets because you have learned what they were by researching their life and times.
Google Creative Non Fiction and read the journals of Lee Gutkind, the father of the genre. His ideas will create a whole new world of nonfiction writing for you.
Read, read, read, write, write, write, and tell stories every chance you get. Eavesdrop on conversations, look at people so closely you can recreate them in your words. Pay attention to body language, and speech patterns.
Study, hone your craft. It often takes years to come up with a salable product, be it short story, poem, articles, books or novels. How many do you have to write before you get them right? Often quite a few. Most successful authors have a stack of manuscripts that have never sold, but they learned from writing them. Find a writer’s group that suits your needs, or start one of your own. Together you can learn and share what you learn. It doesn’t have to be a critique group, just getting together with other writers on a regular basis helps your writing career. Don’t expect to succeed overnight. It’s like becoming a lawyer or brain surgeon, or teacher. It takes time. Go to Yahoo and Google groups. Find writers groups and try them out, one or two at a time. Settle for a couple. Don’t let the Internet eat up your writing time. Use it for your purpose.
Write every day. Write poetry, stories, essays, journals, diary entries. Find yourself in the words
Discover your niche and study other contemporary writers to see how they make things work.
It’s fine to read classical writers, but today’s writers will give you more insight into what and how you need to be writing.
Above all, don’t stop writing. A writing career is exciting most of the time, glamorous some of the time and tough all of the time. And you’d better love it. If you don’t, then do something else.
Velda, everything you said is so right. I keep telling myself and the writers in both of my groups this over and over. Do you mind if I make copies of your blog post to hand-out to my members?Thank you.Mary Nida
Mary Nida, I'd be honored if you want to make copies long as you credit me, which I know you will. Thanks. Sorry it takes a while for me to reply when I'm running every which way all the time.