PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
One piece of advice I love hearing from established writers is PRACTICE.
Several professionals have made this analogy:
When you start playing piano you don’t become a star overnight.
Same for writing.
When you start a new job you don’t go in on day 1 knowing everything right away, even if you’ve done the job before you have new coworkers and new procedures to learn.
For some reason people think that if you’re a writer you have to be THE BEST EVER right out of the gate otherwise you’re shit and nobody loves you.
To be a writer you need imagination, vision, talent, whatever etc, etc, etc.
But you also have to work.
Some people argue that writing/making art can’t be taught. That you’ve either got “IT” or you don’t.
Well, I can’t teach someone how to “IT” *waves arms around head and makes mystical sounds* facilitate whatever neural/chemical/hormonal/whatever thing actually MAKES stuff.
But I can give someone tools to inspire the creative parts of their brain so that they can turn on their imaginations and make things.
And you can (practice, practice, practice) write to make yourself a better writer.
When you write you DISCOVER.
You can see what works, what doesn’t work; you can revise, you can do all the things.
When you write, you don’t just learn about your story or your characters or what your poems are, you also learn how you yourself make things.
I practice writing by doing free writes/stream of consciousness writing and using writing prompts or exercises.
Not everything I write is for my work in progress or even a planned project. I don’t keep a journal but if I get stuck on a plot point or a character I take that as a sign that I need to switch it up and write something else, even if that something else is just complaining and whining about all the horrible things in my day, I’m still writing. I’m still forming and expressing an idea with words.
It’s all practice.
So even if what you think you are writing is worthless, it’s still words you’re getting out, still something you can work with later. And it’s still work.
DO THE WORK.
“Practice makes perfect” is trite but it’s also true.
Follow up questions:
How do you practice writing?
Do you have writing routines?
I’d love to know.