There are many ways to do this and whatever I put down here may not be different from what you already know but I still have to do it even if it is to serve as a reminder. It may even be that I just want to feel good and exclaim to myself “Yaaay! I wrote something this morning!”.
We all agree that writing is tough and that’s why we keep searching for ways to improve our writing.
In the last few years Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg and The Artist Way At Work by Julia Cameron are two books that have greatly influenced me as a writer more than any other thing. Both are revolutionary in many ways but most significantly they converge on the idea that writing isn’t EXCLUSIVE to a select few. The few we fantasized about and referred to as “authors” during our early years. Writing is a craft that can be learnt simply by doing it regularly. This however requires discipline, a commodity that isn’t available over the counter but very much within reach if we can live a life of the mind (more on this later in another post).
Natalie harped on the writing practice while Julia emphasized what she aptly calls the morning papers. Both involve the deliberate and determined effort to write daily. You are wary now I guess. I am too because writing daily is daunting! But don’t worry because the good part is that there are no set rules. You don’t have to write daily even if you try to do so. There are of course a plethora of reasons why you may not write daily. Life happens! However, if you keep making a conscientious attempt to write daily you can actually find yourself doing so in little or no time.
There are no word limits or set topics. You can do 1000, 500 or 100 words. What really matters is that you write. In the same vein, you can set out to write about the trending issue and end up with a poem of 2 paragraphs. The aim is to WRITE. Natalie aims to fill a notebook each month while Julia attempts to write 3 pages of longhand each morning. If you don’t finish the notebook in a month or write 3 pages daily, don’t worry, give it a go again, and again and again.
Both teachers believe that writing regularly makes it easier for you to explore and express ideas that would otherwise remain latent. It is during this period of composting according to Natalie or creative emergence as Julia would say that you connect better with yourself. And the more you are in sync with your mind the more comfortable you are with writing.
I have tried severally to keep up with this habit and each time I come up short after an initial burst. Yet here I am again ready to give it a shot. And that is the bottom line! It is so because writing is a craft we chose for ourselves. Nobody forced you to do so. We do it simply because we love it, we want to do it and we still enjoy it regardless of the difficulty. So let us get on with it even when we don’t feel like it or when we have no words to put down.
Let me help you here.
Start with any of these…
“I don’t feel like writing…”
“I have no words to put down…”
Now put down your pen or get off your keyboard and think of the reason/s behind this. Then write down the reason/s and continue writing about how you think you may find some words. You can write about anything. Your first kiss, last vacation, or first day in boarding school. You can even start trying out rhymes to compose a poem but make sure to write them down.
See, you are now writing!