Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Write to Learn

My last post was about the benefits of reading a lot to improve our writing skills. Today’s post is about the benefits of writing a lot to improve our writing skills.

Practice will always win over theory.

I wrote my first novel while I was still in high school. When the end of school exams came along I made a foolish decision to stop writing so I could put all my efforts into study. I did no creative writing for at least six months. Then other things in my life took precedence for another six months. Then months became years.

I will never get that time back.

When I did finally try to write again I was filled with doubts. My writing was stiff. My stories lacked fire. I’d lost not only the routine of writing, but also the skills of writing. It took many months of writing again to bring back the clarity of thought that is required of writers. It took many months of writing to loosen my prose.

When we write a lot we gain confidence. We are more willing to take a risk, to experiment with the words, to try something different.

When we write a lot we build a routine. We don’t need to scramble for writing time because we’ve already scheduled that time. People around us are used to that schedule and aren’t shocked when we suddenly need to disappear to write.

And when we write a lot we put into action all the subtle lessons we’ve learned through reading a lot. What might work for one writer, may not work for you. The more you write, the more you learn what works for you.

So, I urge you, don’t stop writing. Don’t let the doubts get the better of you. Don’t expect perfection in an instant. Write, write and keep writing.

What are the things that stop you from writing? On average how much do you try to write per day?

6 comments:

  1. How funny. I almost wrote about doubt today. Great minds and all. :D

    Somedays I feel doubt and a little insecure - that all my writing just stinks. I know it's just a phase, but I have to go through a routine to reassure myself.

    I think you hit the key though. Write, write, write.

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  2. I think every single writer goes through that..every single creative person in fact. It's natural. I go through it every day. lol. And yep, WRITE WRITE and WRITE some more.

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  3. This is so true. I had a similar experience...I used to write like mad when I was younger...then years of nothing. Been writing again now for five years and it is coming easier again. (=

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  4. Hi Jo, and welcome :)
    Great to hear your writing is coming easier again after a long break. I so regret my long break. But it's done now and there is nothing to do but move forward and WRITE! :)

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  5. This post made me think. I'm exactly like you were, putting writing on hold to focus on my studies (only I can't seem able to do so entirely, so I end up feeling guilty when I am writing and guilty when I am not writing. Silly, I know!). I'm in the finishing stages of my Master's Degree, and I've been thinking that writing (a novel, at least) right now is a bad idea because I already have too much on my plate. But after I finish university, I'll have to find a job, and then that will me top priority. I am wasting precious writing time, and I can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel!

    I'm going to try to remember your "I will never get those years back" and try to write a little on the side (guilt-free) even if I have to focus on my studies. Thank you for the insight :)

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  6. Please, please find the time to write. Like you said, it doesn't have to be a lot, but it's important to keep writing. It doesn't even have to be an entire novel (They can be daunting to start). And yes, make sure it is guilt-free (I still struggle with that one)

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