5 Ways To Get Off Your Newbie Writing Ass

3231204621_9c36166cfc_qI’ve had quite a few wannabe writers coming to me with that pin-up one-liner: “You know, I have a lot of ideas but I don’t know where to start.”

Or this: “I don’t know if my writing’s any good.”

I didn’t either, when I started out. I still don’t. And that’s what eggs us writers on. To better ourselves (and not to become another King, Rowling, or Hemingway).

Here are a few ways you could get off that butt and put actual words on paper.

Get or set a daily writing prompt for yourself. What do you do when you hesitantly rustle up a new dish? That’s right. You keep sampling it in between. Which does two things. One, it keeps you headed where you want to go. Two, the saucy little kicks to your taste buds spur you on to speed up things. That’s what prompts do to your writing.

Set up a private blog. You need to know what “your writing” looks like when “published”. Blogs are the easiest and quickest way to get off the blocks. No one ever need know you have a problem with run-on sentences or overly passive voice. Or a fetish for narcissistic characters. Until you decide otherwise. A blog’s your bestie with whom you confide your worst writing fears with.

Set a daily word count target. 500 is a good number to begin with. Sometimes, I also tell newbie writers to plot their word count progress on a spreadsheet and chart it. You’d be surprised with what visual depiction of your achieved word count can do to kick your behind when you’re falling behind.

Make technology work for you. Blogs like WordPress have tools that can trigger mini writing frenzies. One such tool is the ‘Press This’ tool, which grabs content off the internet and creates a post for you. Edit it, add to it, and publish it. And, hey presto! You’re away!

Join a writing group. Online or offline – it doesn’t matter. All you need is to hear other voices of hapless souls making this once-in-a-lifetime jump from blissful sanity to erudite lunacy. I’ll be god-darned if you don’t become a convert. For writers with already a few lakh words behind them, I contradict myself and say ‘don’t join a group’ just to write, but that’s stuff for another post.

End of day, there’s only one person you need to convince that the cockamamie scenes running around in your head deserve a spot on paper. There’s only one person you need to impress with your linguistic acrobatics and tomfoolery in prose.

Yourself.

Not your mom. Not your neighbor. Not your current flame. Not your high school teacher. Not the local bestselling author. Not the writing group’s self-imposed editor.

Y-O-U-R-S-E-L-F.

Now, how hard can that be?

NOTE: This post is part of the On Writing series on this blog. Read the previous post in this series: Don’t Just Bleed. Hemorrhage. Read the next post in the series: 5 Killer Openings To Hook The Reader.

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