I’ve been privately writing for the last ten years of my life. It wasn’t a diary. It was my “book of thoughts”. I didn’t share it with anyone, and I was comfortable that way. Five months ago, with a push from some friends, I finally mustered the guts to write publicly. I started a blog as an experiment – to find out if I really had something of value or if I was just wasting my time. And through it all, I’ve made some pretty consistent observations about what makes a piece of writing better than the rest.
Here they are, feel free to add your own as well.
1. I find that when I use my brains while I write, when I think about what I’m gonna say next, it tends to bring out something lame. But when I switch the brain-switch off, turn to my soul and find out what it has to say, magically I get better results. So, I constantly remind myself: don’t think, just write. Write something you’re passionate about, something that makes your belly tingle, that makes you excited when you press that “Publish” button, something you’re in love with!
2. After you’re done, a little fine-tuning (editing) never hurt anyone. Putting the perfect word here or there, switching the order of sentences around, is like adding icing and sprinkles on a delicious cake. The obsessive inside me, finds a whole lot of pleasure in this step!
3. Clear your mind! I find that if I’m writing with images of people’s faces in my head, my ideas tend to deviate a little. They subconsciously go toward what I think these people would want to read, what they’ll think when they read what I’m writing, how they would rate it, would they agree with it. The end result: I don’ t end up saying something that I fully believe in. It doesn’t represent me, and so the gaping holes are only too obvious for anyone to see. To test that, I deserted my old blog, and started this one – of which no family and friends have any idea yet, and you know what? I’ve had more likes and follows in one week than I’ve had in four months with the other one ! Readers instinctively pick up on things that are more natural.
4. This one’s a quote by Ray Bradbury (author of Farenheit 451): “Write only what you love, and love what you write. The word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”
5. This one’s a little clichéd, but still true: Be Positive. Even if the whole thing is sad, end on a high note, leave readers (and yourself) with a glimmer of hope. Nobody wants to spend time reading something, only to have their heart weighed down by your negativity the rest of the day. Hope, I believe, is the only reason we wake up every morning – we hope to accomplish this, achieve that, turn yesterday’s failures into today’s successes. You shouldn’t take that away from anyone.
6. Sometimes I write to satisfy an urge, not because I have anything meaningful to say. My fingers just want to flow across a keyboard, or my brain wants to spill something out to clear things inside. I’ve learned that readers don’t want to be the recipients of your mental waste! And when I look back on some stuff, I realize that as a reader, I wouldn’t enjoy reading it. So until I’ve tamed my still-maturing writing energy, I’ve developed a solution – I installed Evernote, a place where I could let my mind and fingers spill whatever they pleased without wasting anyone else’s time.
7. Follow no rules. Writing is an experience of freedom and courage. Experiment with it. Realize your full potential. Let no restraints hold you back. This is your territory! If you must, use a pseudonym!
8. Enjoy every moment of it! The feelings, the typing, the editing, the reading. It’s your mark on the world. It’s your mark on other people’s lives. It’s your mark on yourself. Someone somewhere out there will always relate to what you have to say. You grow when you write. It opens hidden doors inside your head, and unlocks places in your heart. Writing is such a beautiful thing, it can’t not be enjoyed!
Writing has such a personal nature, so feel free to enrich my post with your experiences and thoughts on writing!