Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Five steps to becoming a writer

The hardest part of writing is starting. Maybe you want to write a short story, a poem, a screenplay, a novel. Or maybe just an essay or a blog post. The hardest part is the first word. The rest are easy.

1. Inspiration First there's the inspiration to write about something. This can come from anywhere, but if you're having trouble you can walk around and look at things. Like animals. And trees. But mainly animals. Birds are particularly good for this. They're little flying balls of fluffy inspiration. Then you can declare that, yes, you shall write something. It helps to say this out loud, even if there are other people around.

2. The internet You're going to write something now. It's going to be the next thing you do. The very next thing. Maybe after five minutes on the internet. Just check Facebook for a minute. Comment on your friends' inane opinions on things. Now you can start writing. After you've checked for new videos on YouTube. There might be something interesting. It's all good research anyway. Speaking of research, you haven't checked the news website in a few hours. So you check that. There's nothing new, but there is an article about hats. This is now half an hour since you sat down to write something.

3. Bouncing This is an important step. You disconnect the internet and set about your task with new enthusiasm. You stare at the blinking cursor on the white page. It mocks you with its blinking. Nothing's happening. The words just aren't coming like you thought they would. You need something to get your mind working. Find a small ball and bounce it against things in a Toby Ziegler-like fashion. This is good. It's motion. Energy. It gets your creative juices flowing. And also, bouncing is fun.

4. Success The ball drops to the floor when the words jump into your head. You rush back to the computer and tap out the first few sentences in a rush of brilliance. You're a crazy writing mad person. These first few sentences are polished, perfected, and corrected. You change the font to make it look fancy. This is a good beginning. The start of a new writing adventure.

5. Happiness Now you've written something you can feel satisfied. You have achieved what you set out to do and you reward yourself with a biscuit. Tomorrow you'll have to go through the process again, but for now you can bask in your accomplishment. Bask for a while but don't let other people know you're basking. They won't understand. Keep it to yourself.


  1. Great post Chris, a perfect summary of the rewarding yet painful writing experience.

  2. This post is brilliant and so true, I get distracted for hours on the internet...

  3. This post is unbelievably easy to relate to! Haha, yup, I go through this whole process every day practically, minus the bouncing. Maybe I should add that in and see how things go.

  4. Thanks.

    The bouncing always makes me feel more writerly. Walls, floors, windows - it's all good for bouncing.

  5. Hey, just dropping by to say thanks for commenting on my blog.
    Interesting post and blog! Internet; both a blessing and a curse :p

    p.s. I'm your 100th follower!

  6. Ah yes the art of writing...all I can say is this, it ain't as easy as it seems!! ( Coming from some one who is struggling to write any posts at the moment!!! ).

  7. I agree with Chelsea, the internet can be distracting, best thing is to disconnect, if you want to concentrate on writing, good idea to set your self goals, and when reached you can maybe reward yourself some surfing ( :
    It's difficult though if you constantly need to refer to websites for the piece you are writing...

  8. Looking at your fingernails is very helpful too... Or maybe not, because I don't know if it helps, but I do it. Maybe bit into one of them... Yeah.

  9. Chelsea - Thanks.

    Brent - Writer's block is no good. Again, I suggest bouncing.

    moviesandsongs - Yeah, deadlines are good. Not much gets done without them.

    Lime(tte) - My fingernails are in shreds because I automatically pull them apart while writing. Again, I suggest bouncing. Bouncing...bouncing...