Sarah is a certified Hatha, Vinyasa, & Kundalini yoga teacher. She is an artist who believes in the importance of living a creative life.
Why Do We Write?
The answer to this question is different for everyone. Do you have a story that needs to be told, a character to introduce to the world, or perhaps something you can't quite grasp that only by writing about it will it reveal itself? Sometimes we may not even know why we write. This is a question that we may never really know the answer to. The important thing is to write and write often. If we are lucky we may eventually understand the why, however for now it is important to focus on the what and how. What will you write and how will you write it?
Probably the most important aspect of writing is the how. How to begin? How to keep going? You may have a fantastic story inside your head but if you don't know how to put words to paper than it will never manifest itself in the world.
Now most of you know that one of the hardest aspects of writing is actually getting started. In fact the most difficult aspect nearly any goal worth striving towards is getting started. Luckily, with practice, you can make beginning easier for yourself.
"Write even when the world is chaotic. You don't need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement." - Cory Doctorow
Don't make excuses and road blocks for yourself, instead make opportunities. Your voice, your unique style will naturally emerge in your writing. Simply focus on putting one word next to the other and keep going! Don't leave anything out.
"A year from now you will wish you had started today." - Karen Lamb
"You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great." - Les Brown
Outlining is an excellent tool for writers of every kind. Whether you are making clean, neat bullet points or have a color coated map, be sure to do what works for you. This is an excellent way to get all of your ideas on the page and keep you focused and organized.
"Outlining is the most efficient way to structure a novel to achieve the greatest emotional impact. The most breathtaking prose and brilliantly drawn characters are wasted if the plot meanders and digresses. Outlining lets you create a framework that compels your audience to keep reading from the first page to the last...Best of all, once the outline is finished, you can write the book very quickly and in any order." - Jeffery Deaver
Remember, you don't have to have everything all figured out before you write the outline. The outline is there to help you discover where there are missing holes and places that need to be filled in. Writing an outline is also an excellent writing exercise in itself! Just don't forget to make the jump from the outline to the actual piece of writing you want to create!
What to Write
What to write? This is the next question. You may have something bursting inside of you waiting to spill onto the paper...or you may not. You may have something to write about but are uncertain of its worthiness. Or, you may not have any clue at all what to write about it. Don't panic, this is okay. The truth is you can write about anything, and I mean anything. You can write about your abduction by aliens or can write about how to make a good cup of coffee. Everything is up to you. This can be scary or it can exciting. The choice is yours to make.
If you find yourself at a loss of what to write about start by keeping a journal and jotting in it throughout the day. Write about the bus ride to work, how lousy your lunch was, or something that made you snort with laughter. Can you take an event that happened in 60 seconds and write two full pages describing it? Whatever comes to mind, write it down! Even if sucks! Keep in mind that no one but you will see these pages. Let go of embarrassment and unworthiness. You may just discover that you have planted a seed that will later turn into a beautiful poem, novel, or song. Write down everything. You can always edit later.
"You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it." - Neil Gaiman
Fiona from South Africa on August 13, 2016:
I think I'll try the outline in future - normally I just launch into the story to see where it will take me - the problem is that I rewrite and rewrite and then just give it all up because I don't get much past the first couple of pages.
Dianna Mendez on October 06, 2014:
Your suggestions are valued and wise. We are taught since grade school to outline our work but I have never quite adjusted to the organizational process. I am going to have try this next time I write. Your journal idea is one that I use regularly to inspire my writing.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 06, 2014:
I've heard many times that writers should begin by outlining. I don't do that. I get an idea or a first line and jot it down. If I'm ready, I carry on. When working on my novel, I write down characteristics or events so I can build on them. I guess every writer has his/her own style. I do think it's important to take notes, especially when working on a novel or short story so you can be consistent with events and nuances.