Lesson 1: Exercise Your Writing Muscle
Just Start Writing!
“If you want to write, write. The only way to do it, is to do it.” Lise Parton
I thought I would start off the Lessons page of my blog with a simple and bare-basic message for someone who wants to write, either just for themselves, or, for a bigger picture goal, such as a published story or book writer, a career writer, or possibly a blogger. The only way to get started to write, or be a full-fledged writer (if that is your goal) is to sit down and start to write. Basic, right?
I have dabbled in writing all my life, but never really had much of a concrete goal until my words started forming a book. Even then, after I started writing a couple books, such as The Magic Stick, and Act One Willow Beach, I just sat down and started writing these books, each for slightly different reasons, but not with the confidence that anything would come of my writing out in the big world. Sure, I wrote poetry in my teens, sure I wrote assignments in English class, and yes, I wrote a song or two, but I didn’t really have any lofty or concrete goals within the writing world.
At the time I started to write The Magic Stick and Act One Willow Beach I was a busy wife, mother of two, homeowner, and had a full-time career. I felt back then that I just needed a way to be creative, find my own space and time, do something that I could do and escape to do, all by myself, and so can you.
In the case of The Magic Stick, I wrote bits and pieces, a chapter here and a chapter there, to create stories to teach my kids about the wildlife around us. We were spending our summers in an off-grid cabin at the lake surrounded by a lush forest filled with all sorts of animals, birds, reptiles, fish, etc. I wrote to teach, share, and entertain my kids, and read them the chapter they requested of my stories each night as they lay snuggled into their bunk beds in our one-room cabin. I started to form a dream to have a completed magical fantasy youth novel, but never put it all together until almost 30 years later, when I finished it last year, and then digitally illustrated it myself. (See my blog post on this site, Stories Behind The Stories, The Magic Stick.) (Also check out my other website: ladyofthelakebc.com for more wonderful stories about my 55+ years of lake experiences).
As for Act One Willow Beach, well, I read romance novels for entertainment and to escape my busy family life, so, I thought to myself, why not sit down and dabble in trying to write one? I felt a strong, inspirational draw to just go for it. Back then I really had no writing goals, no routines, no actual storyline preplanned out, I just had a couple characters in mind and the dream brewing to create a romantic story between them, knowing also, that I wanted the standard, tried and true formula of a ‘happily-ever-after’ ending. I have to admit, once I got going I was possessed with writing my story, and as the ideas surfaced and poured out of me I wrote, by hand, day and night. (See my blog post, Stories Behind The Stories, Act One Willow Beach).
So let’s get you started:
1) grab yourself a pen and paper, or a pen and a blank, lined journal, or a blank digital page on your device and go!
2) try to carve out a time and place in your day where you won’t be disturbed as you pen your thoughts
3) try jotting down a few ideas, things you might want to write about, fiction (imagined, or not based in fact), or non-fiction (true). Maybe you just need to express yourself, maybe figure something out, or possibly vent your emotions. (Writing is an extremely healthy way to do that).
4) try to establish a daily routine, as it will get you regularly exercising your writing muscle, (I write every morning as I sip my cup of coffee)
Naturally, if you are inspired to write, it isn’t always at a time when you are free to do so. I suggest you write down any sporadic ideas or thoughts as soon as you can, (by pen and paper, carry around tiny notebook, or notepad on your phone, to use wherever you are). My nightmare is always that I am highly creative in the shower, and I often start composing poetry in my head, usually rhythmic poems that I feel I will forget if I don’t hightail it out of the shower and jot the words down, often, while I’m still soaking wet. (Sorry for that visual). Clearly, that is in one place you can’t take a notebook.
My point for this first lesson is that it isn’t necessary to obsess and plan and get worked up about the act of writing. Just sit down and start. The best way is to not even worry about punctuation, grammar and sentence structure. Just get your words down, you can always edit and correct everything later if you are writing to properly structure a story. For now, just get started and let the inspiration and words flow.
Happy writing! Lise