Writing 101, Day One: Unlock the Mind
Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.
You write because you have an idea in your mind that feels so genuine, so important, so true. And yet, by the time this idea passes through the different filters of your mind, and into your hand, and onto the page or computer screen — it becomes distorted, and it’s been diminished. The writing you end up with is an approximation, if you’re lucky, of whatever it was you really wanted to say.
– Author Khaled Hosseini, “How to Write,” the Atlantic
I didn’t have any ideas on what format theses challenges would take prior to today, I wanted to see what came to me on the moment. Once I saw the what the topic was to be I decided how best to start a writing exercise by writing about writing. Keeping it as I typed it, but fixing up the grammar and spelling I found the end product very interesting.
My Twenty Minutes
The Fear of Writing
There are many people out in the world who wish to write, and whose love of books and words define who there are. However, for one reason or another these people are not able to put these words onto the page, they know this isn’t rational but can’t stop him or herself for feeling this block. Those who know the inner demon would tell you to give yourself over to this fear quiets a little piece of who you are.
I love words and I love reading, specifically Sci-fi & Fantasy. Personally, I have been trying to write though my fear for many many years, starting, stopping and destroying each piece not long after I began it. That little voice in my head tells me, you are not good enough and you should stop. You put this desire and dream back on the shelf and only take it down every once in a while to look at and say, yep I could do this! But wait your old friend fear is back whispering in your ear to just put it back on the shelf, don’t put yourself out there it won’t be good enough anyway.
Time and time again we all come back to the crux of it, we want to write; whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, blogging or details about needlepoint, but we don’t know where to start. Today I still battle with this fear but thankfully its slowly changing into something else. I know that I will always be afraid to some degree and realise I need to press on regardless. Yes it’s hard, and yes there will always be people to whom it seems writing comes easy, but just because you are not one of those people doesn’t mean you should give in. We need to realise unless you are sitting with these other people as they write you readily just don’t know how they cope themselves.
A few years ago I took my first true step to putting my words out there for everyone to see, I began to do book reviews, it wasn’t much but it was a start. I didn’t enjoy the mass exposure of sites like goodreads and while I know good people do write for these sites they can be a little too raw for my taste. I feel I was lucky to find a more warm form for the genre I loved to read, I found a dedicated site run and maintained by one passionate person. I emailed the site saying I would like to do some book reviews for them and did they have one they wished me to review, much to my delight they replied.
I initially concentrated on reviews but this experience has given me a new confidence and has lead me on a path to some more diverse & fun writing like author interviews and general blogging. There is such a good feeling when you finish something and I remember when I came up my own questions, emailed around to all the authors I liked and much to my delight some replied. With a light finger I wrote up an article and submitted it to the site I reviewed for, which they were very happy to put up. The concept behind my article, “How Stories Connect Us” was something that the site owner enjoyed so much he is now building up a new section based on my initial concept, as well as using my questions when they interview other authors.
Feeling I can now do more I am starting my own works and continuing on with them. I am beta reading a story for a writer from an online group I am part off, which is immense fun. These small steps initially helped me to grow and develop, giving me the confidence to do more and more.
The point I am trying to make is fear is something you can overcome as a writer. It may never go away. You may have the greatest piece of writing in the world but once you put it out there, that fear can still be there making you doubt yourself. Will they like? Why did I write it like that? My god that’s not who you spell fuchsia! Now I think I understand, you can use this fear as a focus, turn it around so that you are more afraid that if you don’t finish your work how can you start the next thing. Do not fear the voice in your heart telling you it is too hard; fear you won’t be able to spread your message out far enough. Take a chance, start small and begin something. It doesn’t matter what you write, whether it is a thoughts in a diary or starting your own blog to tell the world about how cool your granny is, begin something and the rest will come. You don’t have to be a famous writer; you just have to love the words you write.
Change Fear, Forget Expectation And Relax