"You can make anything by writing." - C.S. Lewis
Sometimes I begin with a photograph when I write a blog post and other times I just grab my notebook and write. When I write an essay, or something larger, my method is a bit different. That blank page can be awfully scary, and when I first began writing professionally I would sit and stare at that blank page for a long time. Now when I pick up my notebook (or pull up a document) I just start writing. It may start off as gibberish, but the more I write, the more ideas, words, and sentences start to fill my head and spill onto the page. I keep on writing. Then I look back and start to rearrange thoughts and sentences. I might switch out a word or two (but the first one that comes to mind is usually the best one), and then I do it all again. Writing involves a lot of repetition.
"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." - Robert Cormier
I don't think you need to actually publish anything to call yourself a writer. Sometimes I get paid to write and sometimes I don't. That doesn't make me any less of a writer. Blogging, journaling—these outlets have merits of their own. You can simply decide to keep your writing to yourself, share it with the world, or something in between. It's the act of remembering, recording. It can be wonderfully cathartic....and extremely frustrating.
I prefer black ink. I like to write in pencil. But both need to be thin—slender casing, fine point. I write long-hand first, type, print, and edit by hand. Then repeat. I prefer a desktop to a laptop. I need to type on a real keyboard. I own dozens of journals and notebooks. I hate making mistakes (spelling, grammar), but I always make them. I have re-written thousands of pages hundreds of times.
No matter what your process is or which tools you prefer to have on hand, just get it on the page.
Tell your story any way you can.
"Keep a notebook. Travel with it. Eat with it. Sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less expensive than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory." - Jack London
Thank you Julie who emailed me this question for my series What do You Want to Know?
You may also like Mistaken Identity, You Are What You Read, and Some Thoughts on Writing.
Photo: Fredrik Rubensson