Writing is a beguiling thing. It draws us into its magical world full of beautiful rhythms and colourful jewels. It’s hard to resist.
Like all things, developing your successful writing career depends entirely on you, your attitude, and how you deal with stress. Oh yes, you must also really, really, want it. Then you are set to go.
Creativity — Your Number One Playmate
The first thing you need is creativity. Most people have it, but it lies dormant; battered out of them in early teenage years, stifled by academic bodies who guided the person into a better career — one where they could pick up a small check at the end of each month.
I believe that it’s a rare thing for a person to be totally void of creative thinking. It’s just habits and lifestyles that have ensured that creative thinking ever had the chance of coming to the forefront of daily life.
You’ve heard of the saying, “1% talent, 99% sweat”, well that’s a truth. It’s true of all things in life. There are other qualities that override talent — but, that little bit of talent is really nothing less than the sparks of creative thinking that we all have. That’s good news. No need to question your talent.
Creative Thinking and Imagination
Creative thinking about a plot or a storyline is about firing up your fantasy worlds. The stuff that creates a disconnect from the mundane world of everyday work, worries, and pandemics, is the stuff of fantasy. Imagination. Every writer needs to exercise their imagination.
You may like reading, and like many readers believe that you could write a book like the one you’re reading. Or you read a lot of articles, you know what you like, politics, life, humanities, well researched articles that make light bulbs pop in your mind, and reveal and confirm truths for you — and it makes you feel like you should be able to do this too. The truth is, that you probably can do it.
The Reader’s Imagination
Reading imaginative work from others is like mana for your writer’s mind. Reading is imperative to a writer’s career. You read what you like, and you will begin to understand more about why you like it, and about how it is done.
In reading we entertain ourselves, but as writers we can’t help but act like hunter gathers who unconsciously collect ideas about story structures, plots, and scene building ideas from all the stories we read. Sure, we also do it when we watch T.V.
Our imagination is a major tool when we write. It can also be a big problem for any creative person. Learning to understand our creative selves, is a career skill that needs practice.
When we read a good story or article, we are feeding our imagination and priming our creative energy.
Creative people, writers, get tons of brilliant ideas, especially when they know that they are on a roll with their work. As soon as you feel like your writing is flowing, you can fall into the trap of having too many ideas.
It’s the classic case of “ 1000 tabs open” at the same time.
When a computer has a too many pages open, it will begin to groan under the weight. The data flow turns into a whirring sound of bits and bites smashing into each other, and the computer, to use technical language, will say, “screw this, I can’t deal with all these ideas!”, and it will lock up, freeze everything, or simply close down.
Writer’s Block, and Let’s just Move along now
When this happens to writer, they say they have “writer’s block”. Believe me, you don’t want to go there. It’s a daft fantasy world for most people who claim to be blocked. That sounds harsh, it might be, but if you think you have writer’s block, you probably do. You invented it, live with it.
Self-discipline that helps a writer stay on track is so important to a successful writing career. You can set out be an article writer, a blogger, a novelist, you need to be disciplined about your daily work. There are no bosses, no schedules written up and handed out to you, and there are plenty of temptations to get you to veer off the straight and narrow of our important work.
Real writer’s block is a serious problem that often has a connection with the person’s everyday life. People don’t run out of ideas, nor do they experience the inability to work — unless they have serious problem that affects everything in life. Depression.
Why do You Write?
People begin to write for a variety of reasons, then they often discover that they have bitten off more than they can chew.
They claim that they have writer’s block, or that they need to spend thinking time on a the plot before they go any further along the actual writing road.
It’s just unfortunate, but the world of writing is full of casualties that needn’t have been.
Often, the reason why people begin and then stop writing, is because they aren’t writing what they want.
They are not being driven by need and desire about the subject.
They are writing what seems like a cool subject, or they attempt to write about complex ideas that they don’t fully understand — and get into a mess.
The Magic and the Slippery Stream of Thought
Don’t forget, writing is a magical world, a beguiling world of fantasy. A reader who is engaged in a story has had their “disbelief” suspended and can easily be duped into believing that they can write “this stuff”, too. It all seems so easy.
The skill of the story teller is to help the reader find their way into into a slip-stream of consciousness, where everything feels good, and living in that world is exciting. After that, they will believe anything you say, more or less.
Sometimes, people believe they can turn their hand to everything in life and expect to be successful at it. Writing has always been the beguiling siren that seems to beckon all and sundry.
It’s a great challenge to be able to hack out a new career in writing. It’s a hero’s journey if there ever was one. It’s extremely important that you are honest with yourself, and that you find your subject.
If your own interests seem to boil down to simple ideas about life, like robbers and police, theft, lovers and so on, don’t kid yourself that it’s all been done before and it’s probably not worth the bother; every story is unique, every life is a story of human nature. Every creative thought you have about your simple human being in a simple situation can open up a vein of story telling that has never been written in that way. Your story of the great diamond robbery will be different.
To Copy is Hard, to Create is Human.
If you doubt that, take a plot from a well known genre. Use the exact plot, steal it. Write it from plot point to plot point. After the first 1000 words you will see that your creative mind is making its way into your story. You will veer off course from the stolen plot, because you will see that there is better way to write it. Your way.
You can’t fake it as a Writer
The art world is full of fake art works, the people who created them always ended up getting caught. They worked so hard on trying to fake not only the work, but the feelings and thoughts, the lifestyles and attitudes of the original artist that they forgot one important thing, their own creativity couldn’t help be part of the process. They left their own signature style embedded into the whole work.
So when an honest expert took a look at the work, they could see the mark of a second person.
You can write about everything in the world. There are no limits, just use your imagination and get going.
The “get going” bit is enormously important to you. Above everything else, you need to get going on your story. Write as often as you can. You have to get serious about being a writer.
Being a fake writer, is to not write but to spend your time avoiding the work.
Self-belief is talked about and written about all over the internet. It has become a coach’s dream world of people who want to improve their lot in life, and are in dire need of little inner push from their self-belief.
How do You acquire Self-Belief?
Firstly, a writer practises self confirmation through constant work. Never giving up on an idea that they have already deemed worthy of their effort.
When you reinforce your ideas through working on them, you develop insight into the creative process.
Creativity Works in Mysterious Ways
The first part of an idea is always the most exciting for us. We see something, or hear something, and for some odd reason our writer’s mind begins to latch onto it as important.
Fleshing Out Ideas
We make notes, flesh out small ideas about how a snippet of a conversation could lead into a story, or become a key component to a story or an article, and we ride the wave of enthusiasm until it begins to peter out. The feeling disperses into a vapour. Our thoughts on the subject become dark and heavy, unattractive, and we want to stop thinking about the subject.
Often at this point, we also feel a bit stupid about how we got so excited about something that now appears to have been a passing thought.
But this is exactly the type of thought, the snippet of information, or conversation, that has always led to the writing of great story and articles.
As writers we must observe life. The human condition is our arena. We live among our fellow humans and learn about all the things they are, reflect on all the strengths and weaknesses, and make something of it. We make sense of it for others to read and enjoy.
Stories are often about folly, ambition, failure, and journeys of the heart that lead to learning or change.
The task that the writer has taken up is not an easy one, and because of that it is an exciting one. It’s a journey of the mind where the writer discovers as much as her readers.
Understanding what Your Self-Belief is
Self-belief comes through self understanding. Understanding comes through working on your writing, digging down into the hard soil to find something that you believe is there. Normally, after a lot of digging, head scratching and note taking, you’ll discover you were absolutely right. You find something that gives you the next step in the plot, or storyline. Then you’re on your way.
Why did something take your interest? If you dig into that question, you will find answers that are relevant to a developing story.
We Only Read the Headlines
It isn’t possible for the human mind to have an encompassing view of everything — even though we know or sense that there are many things happening around us. The mind just doesn’t work on the basis of looking at things as a whole and understanding it all. This means that we must work piece meal on an idea. Follow a trickle of interest into a forest of dreams and find out what’s up ahead in the darkness. You will often find something, and it will fire up that excitement once again.
This is why it is important to work as often as possible, the ideas that we have about a story come to us in bits and pieces. We need to keep that process flowing by working on the story everyday, or at least two or three times a week. It’s the quality and regularity that’s more important than the quantity.
Regular work gets things done. Scientific fact. Regular means getting back to the work before the mind becomes overwhelmed by some other interesting project.
Self-belief works like a mechanism in the mind. We follow a lot of automated process to get through our daily routines.
The list below is how I keep going, and keep my mind focused on what I believe. (self-belief)
Something I wrote down in my notebook many years ago:
- Goals are directly linked to the self-image.
- Sincerity of intention is essential to the success of achieving the goal.
- Goals must be matched with true intention which stems from self image.
- Self-image is directly connected to self-esteem.
- Images, thoughts, and creative impulses that occur in the mind are expressions of my self-image. Listen to them, however crazy and off the wall they seem.
- Images are powerful motivators that cause actions.
- Clarity of vision and creativity combined and aligned with self-image causes motivation to action. This combination causes the realisation of goals.
- Congruency; vision, actions, creative thinking, belief, must all be matched with the self-image and self-esteem.
- When goals are congruent with self-esteem, self image, they will cause the mind to be triggered into working sincerely on the desired outcome.
I read these notes whenever I feel “lost” or “confused” about what’s going on in my life. They seem to be enough to remind me that it’s not all as complicated as it seems.
Just keep things in perspective and you will find that simply understanding, through practice, that self image and self esteem are the congruent summation of the life we live and wish for, we follow the daily patterns that reinforce our image and our levels of esteem. Setting goals that are in line with these two is a powerful way to live.
If you are a writer, and are always drawn to it, you will find that it is because of your self image and self esteem. This self knowledge is the tip of the hat that says “don’t hold back”, “give yourself all the room that life affords and realise your true potential as a writer”.