Why Aren't You Writing (Yet)?

If you’re waiting until you feel more confident, forget it.  

You’ll be waiting forever.

After five years as a professional writer, not to mention a near lifetime as an amateur, I still struggle with confidence.   

(I have it on good authority that so do lots of other writers, including the famous ones).

But the more you write, the more confident you’ll feel about the fact that you can write.

Maybe you’re too scared to write, because that means you might have to show your writing to someone else, and what happens if they don’t like it?

(Does it really mean they don’t like you?) 

But when you start, you will soon realise that just like your career or your kids, nobody else will care quite as much about your writing as you do. 

This knowledge is a good thing, because with it comes a sense of freedom to write as honestly as you like. 

You might have a vague idea about something you’d quite like to write, but you’ve told yourself that you can’t begin until it’s fully formed.

But if you find sitting down with an open laptop (or pen and paper) daunting, you could try opening your phone’s voice memo app and recording your ideas, instead.   

(You can transcribe them yourself, or use a virtual assistant like otter.ai to do it for you).

Some people think their writing has to be perfect on the first go.

But it doesn’t.  You get to go back and change those bits that don’t make sense.  And if you’re worried about what your ‘terrible’ spelling and grammar, don’t.  Those will be the easiest things to correct later on - whether you do it yourself, or ask a friendly proofreader. 

(By now, you might be telling yourself that you haven’t got time to write.

But you’d be surprised how much you can get done in just ten minutes a day, which adds up to over an hour a week).

Here are some more tips to help you write.

Read

As much as you can, and whatever you like.   

Reading will help you develop a sense of what you like (and what you don’t), and help you find ideas for your own writing.

Start a diary

But please don’t set any rules, such as “I must write an entry every day at 5pm, or else I’ve failed”.  Just write whatever you’re thinking and feeling, and don’t show your diary to anyone.  

Keep at it 

The more you write, the better you’ll become, and the more natural the process will feel.

Recruit support 

Asking a few trusted people to read your chapter, story, poem, or blog post will help you work out what makes sense, what might need to be changed, and what’s already rather good. 

Listen to feedback

Use other people’s comments – whatever they are – to help you develop as a writer.

(Yes, your first piece of criticism will sting, but it gets easier to bear with time.  It’s also likely that you’ll also win some praise to balance it out).

Good luck.

 
(If you’d like a safe space to test out new writing ideas and learn new habits in a small, friendly group, my six-week Wondrous Writing Hub opens its virtual doors on Wednesday 19th January.

It’d be lovely if you could join us).

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