(From previous blog, unedited)
If you want to be a writer you should be writing every chance you get. The more you write, the more you improve. This is an undisputable truth, as with anything repeated practice leads to the betterment of one’s craft. If you’re not writing, or are sitting around waiting for the “right time” then you’re only setting yourself up for sabotage later. No matter how you feel, it is important that you should be writing in order to express those thoughts. Write regardless of what other’s think, or how you view yourself in terms of worth or skill.
It’s not a question of “Am I ready?” as much as it is a question of “What do you want?” If the answer to that question was “I want to be a writer.” Then go be one. Start. Right now. The sooner you dive into the work and expunge your doubts, the better. It’s not about whether you’re good enough now. But rather, do you want to keep improving? Are you able to withstand criticism and belittlement this early in your work? Because it won’t go away, no matter how good you get. So, you may as well get used to it ASAP.
Reading is important too, but don’t get too caught up with thoughts like “Oh, I can’t start writing yet. I have hardly read any books.” Those type of thoughts are self-destructive, and you should expel them immediately. Just write. Don’t think too hard what you’re going to write about either. Once you get a feel for what you’re doing you’ll quickly learn whether it’s something you want to keep doing or not. Writing is not only a hobby or a profession but a tool for expression. People keep diaries and write to remember. People write stories to project their thoughts and beliefs or simply to evoke feelings in others.
Don’t undermine the value of reading or writing, no matter the level of skill involved. There are some things that can’t be put into words, or people find incredibly difficult to articulate with the meaning and potency intact. Describing things is a very useful skill, even for non-writers. Being able to relay an entire day’s worth of events in detail is amazing. And the ability to conjure up a whole new world in a reader’s mind with vivid imagery is also an extraordinary skill to have. But these things, even under the influence of a talented individual, require consistent refinement. In order to hone your craft, aim to repeat and polish your writing at every opportunity you get.
Do not forget why you are writing. Are you interested in the field of journalism? Or are your aspirations more in-line with the realm of fiction? Are you doing it for the sake of someone else? Or is it a way to let your voice be heard? Whatever the reason, keep it in mind when you are writing. Because it is important to remember why you do the things you do, especially at times of frustration or sadness.
Lastly, write what you want to write. Some people write what they know. Others write what they love to read. My advice is to just write whatever it is you want to write at the time it comes to you. I understand that there are situations in which this may not be possible, but even so, at the very least write something to help remind you later. The moment you feel like writing something, I suggest you go with that feeling. See where it takes you. Even if it takes you nowhere, at least you tried. Who knows, maybe someday you’ll have a spark to reignite that idea and could end up being the story you’ve always wanted to write.
Inspiration comes in many forms. Books, television and film, animation, music, nature. Draw from what inspires you, and you’ll gradually unearth your own style along the way. Maybe even write what makes it so inspiring to you to get a better understanding of the material, yourself and what it is you want to write. Don’t be afraid of mimicking the styles of others. When we start, we are all imitators to some degree. But as we grow in our writing, we learn more about our own voice and what makes it distinct. No matter how slight, the distinction is there as a stamp of our expression. Styles of writing are sort of like trying on clothes in a way. You see someone wear a certain style and it looks good on them, so you think it might look good on you too, and so you try it on. But then it turns out it wasn’t the right size, or felt tight and uncomfortable, and caused you to itch, so you decide to take it off and try something else. Eventually, after you’ve tried on enough styles you’ll soon make the decision to try on one that you don’t see anyone else wearing. And it could very well be the one that fits you like a glove.