Three Things About Writing

It had been a while since I had been tagged with a meme. Then Colleen from Loose Leaf Notes remedied to that by asking me to list three pieces of writing advice. Her own advice is excellent, and why she chose to tag me, I have no idea, since I’m a self-taught amateur for the most part, and have yet to take myself seriously as a writer (then again, maybe it’s best that I don’t). Here’s what I came up with:

1. When you start writing a new piece, remember it’s just a first draft and don’t concern yourself too much with the outcome. When you’re writing out that first draft, just go with the flow, keep writing without stopping and don’t be afraid of inconsistencies or mistakes. Don’t worry about things like your spelling either. The first draft is like an artist’s sketch — you do it to get down the general idea and to give yourself something to work with in subsequent stages. There’ll be plenty of occasions to make necessary improvements and revisions down the line.

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment and keep in mind that it’s okay if things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we estimate how many words it’ll take us to convey a story, and as we’re writing it, we find out that what we thought might take two thousand words to say only actually needs fifty, and vice versa. If you really need to write in a specific format and your first draft comes out differently don’t worry about it. The important thing is you’ve gotten the ideas down on screen or paper. You can always make the necessary adjustments when you move on to the next stage.

3. Remember that writing is an ongoing process and that the more you do it, the more possibilities you’ll find. It’s not like any of us has a finite number of words or characters within us. Unlike a bank account, there’s really no reason to “save” your words because you can never run out of words and stories to tell. There are endless possibilities. Keeping that in mind should hopefully help free you up to allow yourself to try things, enjoy the process, and not get too fixated on writing a perfect piece each and every time. Chances are, when you’re not concerning yourself with false limitations, your writing will actually get better.

Voilà. That’s the best I could come up with today. I won’t tag anyone this time, although there are a few people I’d be curious to read on that topic. If you feel up to to it, please do be my guest, and make sure to let me know you’ve participated in this meme so I can your own advice about writing.

Painting: A Lady Writing
(Schrijvend meisje)
Vermeer 1665-1666


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