So you have decided you want to be a creative writer? You feel you have a book in you or you want to writer your family's story? Maybe you need a forum to voice your ideas or concerns to an audience that can reflect on your words and care about what you have to say?
You have good ideas, a good story? But you are feeling anxious about going in the wrong direction, about not getting it right? Maybe you feel you are not good enough?
So what do you do now? Relax and write! If it is any comfort, all writers have to begin somewhere and most experienced writers are also nervous when they begin a new project. The difference between experienced an inexperienced writers though is that experienced writers realise that whatever they write, it will be a first draft and that first draft does not have to be perfect. So here are some tips for getting started:
1. Figure out how you work. No two writers are exactly the same and there is no one process that works for every writer.
2. Try to set up a routine. Be practical about this. Don't set yourself up by failure by planning on writing six hours a day when you know this is not possible. Also, if possible be aware of what time of day works best for you. Kurt Vonnegut, for example, starts writing at 5.30am and finishes at 10.00am each morning.
3. Know that you don't have to begin at the beginning. John Irving starts a novel by writing the last sentence first. This helps him figure out an outline of the book and what needs to go in the first chapter.
4. Don't feel that you have to use an outline. Some people use elaborate plot outlines that dictate every action while others use only scratch outlines or none at all.
5. Be strategic and use your time well. If you can't sit at a desk all day, write short scenes, dialogue, or character profiles.
6. Don't throw anything out but be open to changing and revising what you have.
7. Last but not least, do not worry about grammar. You can fix that up in your last revision. Paying attention to grammatical errors will bog you down in details when you need to focus on the story.
This is a blog about writing and the writing life, which necessarily involves reading. In it, I will comment on my own writing process and others, and provide information and writing tips. Writing is a solitary occupation and it is my hope that this blog will create community for people of like minds. For now, one of my favourite quotes:
"You can make anything by writing"
--C. S. Lewis
Know it; love it!