How To Be A Writer
This time it’s purely from a place of love
Know who you are
My darling, what is your essence?
If I were your real life writing coach, here’s how I’d start:
- “Off the page,” verbal and in person
- Expansive, not filtering — gimme everything! let’s go.
I want the real person. I want mistakes. I want honestly. I mean, shit man, BRING IT. Give me sensitive and sad, give me fury and critical, give me anxiety and give me insight.
I KNOW you have one (actually, two, though maybe more) of these things and I KNOW, if you’re having trouble getting them down on paper, that you are suppressing.
If I were your writiing coach, I’d start with exercises that were:
a.) Entirely verbal and “off the page,” asking you to be a real person and let things exist in the air, to float away, before on paper.
b.) Entirely rapid-fire, one after the other, so that:
- You didn’t have time to overthink it. But also, more importantly
- It didn’t matter if you misspoke, because we’re gonna keep going and you’re gonna say like a thousand more things.
c.) Entirely, 100% focused on trust and comfort and security, so that you begin to give “real” answers rather than filtering them through what’s “safe” or “right.” This is probably the most important thing I’d do. I’d even make an “ass” out of myself first — not to make you uncomfortable, but to show you that I’m not here to judge.
If I were your writing coach, my first goal would be to encourage your sense of self. I know you have one. I’d coax it out.
But you don’t need me. And if you don’t have me, you can be your own coach, by doing everything I just cited.
Self acceptance. Putting things out there without edit. Putting things out.
Have secure self esteem
One of the biggest problems people have is that they get hung up in what others think, or in “accomplishing enough.”
I’m not telling you not to think that way — only because nothing good comes from active “suppression.”
My bigger message here is to combat it not by “not thinking about it” (which will only make you think about it), but rather: love yourself more.
All writers, I’m sure, have moments where they worry about judgment or accomplishment. The successful ones just love their thoughts more than their fears.
Have something to say
There’s definitely a theme here.
If you want to say what everyone else says, fine. But if you truly don’t have a thought or feeling, there’s no point in even killing yourself over having “nothing” to write.
Be okay with imperfection
Too many people just want the good parts without enduring the bad. That’s not real. That’s not how things happen.
ALL of my pieces could be better. ALL OF THEM.
If you’re under the impression that any of my pieces went out the door with me chef-kissing it en route, like “perfecto!”, then I am sad to report: that’s definitely not the case. (And I wouldn’t even say “I wish” that was the case, because even though I know that’s what everyone thinks they want to feel, I don’t.) I embrace imperfection as part of the process.
And if you think you can do it better, without writing anything “bad” or pissing anyone off, then, I mean, I encourage you to try, but, like, as I’m pretty sure LITERALLY ANY creative will tell you: mistakes are part of the process to greatness.
And rather than hoping to avoid them, you’d be better off simply not assigning them “bad,” but rather simply “part of it.”
Here’s a new goal: put out imperfection. Each day, ship whatever you have.
And once you do, if you’re still feeling anxious about the imperfection: GREAT!
If that’s the case, CHANNEL IT! If that’s the case, now your new goal, the next day, is to BURY IT. Which means: keep writing.
Write every day
Yes. Every dang day.
It’s not like “every day” is some magical formula, but it is about establishing a routine and moving through it all, despite “garbage.” It’s about pushing through and writing regardless. And “daily” has a nice feel and ring to it.
Make it a priority
Don’t make a “time” excuse. Dontchu put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby. As your fake writing coach, I demand that you make it a priority. Gimme garbage, man. Gimme that sticky note. Gimme a doodle. Gimme something!
Just make it a priority. That’s all it ever is.
Care about your own opinion
And your own sense of self.
And care more about yours than others’.