In a few weeks’ time, I’ll be part of another group starting Writers Write. It’s always exciting to be part of the creative energy a new set of writers bring to a Saturday morning.
While most of the time everyone is eager to get started, sometimes you look across the room and you see the fear in a new writer’s eye. It reminds you: writing is scary.
The blank page can be intimidating. What if you can’t come up with any words? What if you don’t have anything to say? What if everyone thinks what you’ve written is rubbish? Or scarier, what if they love it – will you be able to do it again?
- You have permission to write badly. You have permission to write boldly or timidly. You can write without worrying about spelling or grammar. You can write even if it doesn’t make sense – sometimes we figure out what we want to say in the process of writing. The only thing you don’t have permission to do? Not start.
- Warm up. If you haven’t been running or exercising in years, you wouldn’t sign up for a marathon. You’d start with a few warm up exercises or a gentle walk. It’s the same with writing. Start easy. Write about stuff you know – your family, your work, what’s happening around you. Write for 10 or 15 minutes. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
- The Notebook. We always encourage new writers to write long hand. It’s such a personal, authentic, intimate and honest way of writing. Try to keep your writing in one book; it will ground you and give you purpose. Do your best to fill one book, at your own pace.
When we start writing, we’re like butterflies breaking free from our cocoons. Our wings are still wet and clumsy and slow. We need to give it time, practise a bit in a safe and nurturing environment. It takes time but the most important part is to start – and soon you’ll be flying!
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