It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. – Ernest Hemingway
So You Think You’re a Writer?
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury
I love Ray Bradbury (RIP). He’s a writer who knew what he was talking about. More importantly, he gave some damn great advice to new authors, aspiring writers and published authors. As often as I can, I watch him on YouTube and read his work. Why? Because aspiring success should mimic success. More importantly, aspiring anything should listen to those who have been there, done that. Save yourself the grief of making the same mistakes that have already been made by others before you.
So what had Ray Bradbury said to new and aspiring writers? He said to fill your head with knowledge of all things great and then sit down and write. Write every single day. Write a short story every single week for a year. He said, "At the end of a year you have 52 short stories, and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. It can’t be done.”
"Mimic success with hard work and dedication. Think it – Live it – Do it! You owe it to yourself." The Squeaky Pen
So where should you start?
Sit down at your computer and write 52 short stories. Find inspiration in the past. Think back when you were five years old and try to remember that one situation that has always stood out to you–that one moment that has been a constant memory in your head for all these years. Sit down and write about it. Don’t stop to critique your work! Don’t focus on how the words are being displayed in front of you.
Just. Fucking. Write.
Here’s what I hear from most aspiring writers.
“I wanted to write a book.”
“I’m going to write a book someday.”
“I have the greatest idea for a book.”
“Where should I start? I have that dreaded writers block.”
I get endless questions about starting. And most people STOP before they even START.
I feel there’s a story in everything. In anything:
A writing prompt with two words: “The girl” – fills my head with a million different stories.
A photo of a dragon sweeping across the sky – Haunts me for hours to tell his mythical story.
A single flash drive sitting on an empty table at Starbucks – sends my brain into overdrive with a story about espionage and a rogue spy determined to take down an entire political party.
A straw with lipstick sticking out of a trashcan in a park – throws me into a tailspin of the romantic affair between a married woman and her lover just before she is found sprawled out dead beneath a redwood tree.
“Find a story in everything and everything will beckon you tell its story.” The Squeaky Pen
There are fun tools to help with your creative mind. Check out these and get started writing. I guarantee that among your 52 short stories, there will be a bestseller waiting to be born. Like Ray Bradbury said, It’s inevitable:
- FanStory– This writing community let’s you learn from feedback. They offer fun writing contests with cash prizes. You keep your copyright and all rights to your writing. It’s a community of writers at different skill levels. There is a small monthly fee to join. But use their writing prompts to enter contest and win the cash prizes and your membership will be paid for.
- Wattpad– Wattpad takes everything you love about storytelling, and turns it into a social, on-the-go experience. The result is a one-of-a-kind adventure in creation and discovery.
- Fiction Press– I’ve never used Fiction Press but it looks like a cool place to post some of your work for feedback. It appears to be mostly poetry at this time.
- Writers Cafe– org is an online writing community where writers can post their work, get reviews, befriend other writers, and much more.. You can sign up free
- Scribophile– Improve your writing by receiving detailed critiques. Scribophile is famous for the detailed and helpful critiques our members exchange. The critiques you’ll get are so much more than just a pat on the back—you’ll get actionable ways to improve your writing. As part of our community, you’ll be writing critiques for others too. Members tell us again and again that learning how to write great critiques dramatically improved their own writing. Sign up is free too.
What’s your excuse? Honestly, I don’t want to hear it.