On Writing

One Way or Another

This post came about because I’ve grown tired of the oft-repeated but rarely-expounded-upon non-advice of “just write.” It goes without saying that to write anything you have to actually engage in the act of writing, but telling some to “just write,” is unhelpful to say the least. Yes, you have to do the work, but for some people, especially those for whom writing isn’t a main job (or even a source of income period) or who have never attempted to write something before, that act of “just writing” can seem downright impossible or terrifying. Just write? Easy for you to say, I can hear them thinking. Where will they find the time? Assuming they’re able to carve out the time among all of their other responsibilities, how will they even get started? And when they’re stuck for ideas, how are they going to get over those hurdles? Telling people to “just write,” is dismissive and flippant. I want to help writers and would-be authors actually solve the very real issues that make it difficult for them to “just write.” As your coach and creative partner, that’s my job.

In workshops that I’ve held and in previous posts, I’ve offered some practical advice and suggestions for how to do things like make writing a regular habit, get started on a project, and combat anxiety and other blocks. However, I always strive to do so with the caveat that these are not the only strategies you can use because that’s the truth. I want to help you find the strategies that will work best for you.

What image comes to mind when you hear the word “writer”? Do you picture someone sitting at a desk scribbling on paper with a pen and ink or imagine someone typing away on a computer? When you get an idea in your head, do you think “I want to write a book” or “I want to tell a story”? The fact is, ink, pens, pencils, paper, journals, notebooks, typewriters, word processors, and computers are just some of the many tools available to you as a writer. If writing by hand or typing isn’t your thing, you can tell your tale using dictation or speak-to-text tools, make an audio recording, or use visuals like pictures, drawings, film, and animation. You can also do combinations of any of the above. Use the tools that are most accessible and useful to you based on your unique needs, preferences, and skills. The same goes for the medium or format that your story takes. That does not have to be a book. You’re a writer whether you write poetry, a personal blog, research papers, an advice column, film scripts, or graphic novels. There are as many ways to tell a story as there are storytellers and all of them are valid, so a one-size-fits-all approach to helping writers just won’t work and you won’t find that here.

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