Tuesday, May 15, 2012

top 10 :: tips for writing

I am by no means a "writer."

When you hear the word "writer," and you start thinking of some introspective person that sits in front of their farmhouse window all day scribbling out manuscripts and novels... then receives fat paychecks for said manuscripts and novels... then I am definitely not a "writer."

But I do like to write.

I like the smell of new paper... I get giddy about handwritten letters... I love a freshly sharpened pencil... I get excited about a new pen... but more than all of that, I love that simple task of putting words to paper (or computer).  I recently signed up for an online class titled, 31 Things, taught by Ali Edwards.  This "class" will basically give me a one-word-writing-prompt for 31 days.  This is totally out of my comfort zone... but I.am.so.excited.  I'm looking forward to the challenge of "just writing" everyday.  Some entries might be lengthy and deeply personal... while others might be short and humorous.  Either way... I will be writing... and that is pretty dang awesome.

Here are my top 10 tips for getting started...

1) Start a journal.
Jot your daily thoughts down... it could be a ten-page entry, or it could be a one-word entry that sums up your day... either way, you've captured your day.  (Marta's Mini Diaries are perfect for jotting down those little moments.)

2) Practice your handwriting.
Whether it's writing your name over and over... or going from cursive to print.  You'll feel like you're in fourth grade again.

3) Buy a fancy pen.
I prefer the Pilot G-2 series, extra fine for daily writing... but if I want to go really fancy, I shop here.

4) Write a letter to an old friend.
To me, this is the easiest way to start writing... grab some stationary and a stamp and just start writing.

5) Pick a word or theme... and then pick up your pen.
This is essentially the basis for the 31 Things class I'll be starting soon.  Pick a word... any word... and just see what comes of it.  For example "lunch" ...this could be what you had for lunch yesterday... your favorite person to eat lunch with... memories of your high school cafeteria... or the contents of your lunch box in third grade.  One word... so many stories.

6) Start a blog.
For me, this little blog has been the catalyst of writing... Blogging has been an enjoyable way for me to "just write"... whether it's a simple top 10 list, or a more personal "dear diary" entry.

7) Write a list.
Feel stuck?  Write a list.  This is the easiest way to break free from writer's block.  Cut out all the fancy-schmancy wordage and just start bullet-pointing away:)

8) Email your grandparents.
This is a 2-for-1 tip... you are writing, all while building your relationship with your grandparents.  This is a great way to learn about your family history and stay in touch with the ones you love.  My Pop and I exchange emails every once in a while, and I love it.  We talk about life, God and writing.  My Pop is a writer... a real one.  

9) Get a pen pal.
I used to have a pen pal in middle school... she lived in Malaysia.  Man, I would get so pumped whenever I received anything from her.  I loved the simple exchange of questions... (How old are you?  What's your favorite food?  Do you have a boyfriend?) and to see how those simple questions eventually evolved into rich conversations.

10) Just start writing.  
You don't have to be a "writer" to write.  Just write something... anything.


Anyone interested in doing the 31 Things class with me??  It starts on Thursday (May 17th) and is $31 bucks.  You get one prompt a day for 31 days... but you have unlimited access to the class... so if you get behind (which I probably will) it's no big deal.

Linking up to Angie at Many Little Blessings today!

4 comments:

Melanie said...

That sounds SO neat! Good luck; I can't wait to see how it goes.

Jaimie said...

Several of the writing classes I've taken in high school had writing prompts like that. We were given a word, or an idea, and then just told to freewrite for fifteen minutes or whatever. I loved it.

By the way--I don't have a farmhouse, I haven't written a novel, and I certainly don't get paid for writing, but I consider myself a writer. I consider you one, too. I mean, you have an awesome blog, you post regularly--that makes you a writer. No, it's not the old-fashioned kind we envision sometimes, but we write, right? :D So we're writers.

I might not be an author yet (except of my blog) but that'll come someday, God willing. :)

mleslie43 said...

Would love to be a writer!

Chrystina said...

I went to the conference recently and I sat in on a writers workshop where it was really interesting that 2/3 of the panelists said, I wouldn't consider myself a writer, I would consider myself a blogger. And you know what, I can totally relate to that - writer sounds so intense, blogger sounds to me like getting your thoughts on paper, which I'm totally good with.

I love these ideas. Also, I'm kind of sad I missed registration on 31 things (that's what happens when you get behind on your blog reading) - hopefully they'll do it again, definitely report back on it.

Fancy pens are awesome. Just bought a multi-color set. If you want to start writing slowly, you can send post cards, there's less room to fill :)

If only my grandfather had a computer...

Have a great week!!