Face it. We all need help to start our writing now and then. Plagued with the questions, “Where do I start?” “How do I start?” “What do I even attempt to write about?” we have all felt the effects of writer’s block at some point. If these are the questions you are facing, than you are already on the path of overthinking it all. Oftentimes, when we feel that our writing is required it clouds our minds of the things we should actually be writing about. Is everyone a natural writer? No, certainly not. But if you allow yourself to leave the world around you for the moment and put yourself down onto the page than even those that feel they have nothing to say can find the words pouring out of them.
“Don’t be a writer; be writing.” -William Faulkner It is so simply put, but not always understood the way it needs to be. It means that people who are writers don’t need to say that they are writers, they need to write. They need to get past the idea of the perfect words and just start by getting words onto the paper. You can find all kinds of different advice around the internet on ways to get inspired. From making lists to taking walks, there are as many suggestions on how to get writing, as there are for how to cure hiccups. With the same rate of success you would be better off taking the bits and pieces noted authors have given us over the years rather than trusting the novice out there just throwing in their two cents.
Look to those we might aspire to be and realize that, at some time in their life, they too were where you are now. With the same frustrations of how to put to paper what they need to say. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”- Steven King. A man so famous for so many lengthy books, at times, has felt the same fears you have. The obvious difference is that he faced his demons and conquered those fears. The thing to understand is that he, just as are many other authors, is not so different than the rest of us in some way.
“The Worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Plath. Many of us have felt that twist in our stomachs when we write. It is important to remember that we can be critical of our writing without convincing ourselves it will never be good enough. Self-doubt is what holds us back from many accomplishments we are all capable of doing. We truly can be our own worst enemy, but as strong as our own arguments are against us, we do have the capacity to triumph over our self-doubt.
With self-doubt already being against us, we must all need to remember the words of Ernest Hemingway. “The first draft of everything is sh*t.” (Apologizes for the language) One of the most influential writers of the 20th century, winner of the Nobel Prize, he put it as simply and direct as it could get. The fear of starting should never be that it won’t be good. The fact is that it probably won’t be. Understand that gold will not always flow from your mind, but when bits of brilliance spit out it is our responsibility to get it down before the thought disappears. Once we have found that basic layout of what we wanted to write it is only a matter of trimming and styling to find our finished product.
Lastly, I leave you with this final quote from John Steinbeck.“Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish…..Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.” A beautiful statement, as humorous as it is true. It is, definitely, not what anyone wants to hear when the task of writing something lies before them, but to this day I find it incredibly accurate. Whether it is an article, a short story or a whole book, sometimes the best writing comes not from trying to finish, but from expecting not to.
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