Writing has always been a central part of my life, and I believe that we are all writers... we all have stories to tell, and creativity is our natural state. Here are some of the many lessons I've learned about writing and what it means to be a writer.
1. Get started and ideas will follow.
The number one thing that holds us back, in almost everything, is getting started; more specifically, not knowing where to start. We mistakenly focus on trying to figure out how and when and with what, when none of that matters. The only thing that matters is moving forward, starting, from anywhere. We'll realize how we're supposed to do it, once we've done it.
2. Being a writer is a choice we make each day.
We don’t make the decision to be a writer once and for the rest of our lives that’s who we are. We make the decision once and every day thereafter. We make the decision every time we show up to write, every time we set aside space for it, every time we put ourselves in the necessary mindset and make writing a priority.
3. Writing is a meditation - a practice of quieting the mind and listening with the heart.
Writing is not a process of thinking, but a process of listening. We must learn to quiet our thoughts long enough to listen to what exists beneath them. We enter into a space of quiet, calm, non-insistence, and from that space we are able to listen to the intrinsic, intuitive voice within.
4. Creating the time and space is an essential part of being a writer.
Every writer has their own preferred time of day to write, their own preferred space. What time of day do you feel most inspired to write? For me, it’s early in the morning when the sun is just coming up and the world is still quiet. Choose a time of day that resonates with you and create an inspired space that you’ll love to show up to.
5. Sometimes we have to make ourselves write, and there is magic in that too.
Writing requires work. It requires effort. Like any great goal in life, it’s not easy. If we’re really honest with ourselves, we will realize that sitting down to write day after day, with every question and doubt and fear that we possess, and continuing to write in spite of it is actually far more magical than waiting for inspiration to strike.
6. If you ever doubt your ability to write, just start writing.
In my experience, writing has always seemed the most difficult when I’m not doing it. During those times when I can’t make time for it, that’s when I doubt myself. But when I’m back in the swing of things, following a consistent schedule, that’s when my doubts subside. If we’re ever feeling far away from our dream or worried about its attainment, we need only to get started doing it and develop a regular routine, in order to see the potential again.
7. Write what you would hate to leave this world without being able to say.
Don’t approach the thought of what to write about from an objective point of view. Never ask yourself, what should I write about? Or what would other people want to read? This takes us away from what we are individually capable of. It ignores passion and injects uncertainty. Ask yourself, instead, what am I dying to write about? What would I hate to leave this world without being able to say?
8. Writing is a lifelong process, so relax and enjoy the journey.
For anyone who is struggling to become a writer, I would say, relax. Writing is a lifelong process; therefore it’s a lifelong process of becoming. It doesn’t matter if you have books published or if anyone identifies you as a writer yet. That will come, naturally, after years of writing. Keep your focus on your own process of becoming a writer, not on anyone else’s definition of what it means to be one. Writing is a lifelong pursuit. It isn’t something you can rush.
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