Writing is hard.
When I write, my goal is to communicate my thinking with clarity, but I often find myself having a hard time translating my thoughts into written words. It requires immense amount of focus, practice, and courage.
And when something is challenging, I try to develop an approach. For writing, my approach is that I sit down to do my thinking on a page. First, I write whatever comes to my mind (the result is mostly horrifying.) But as Tim Ferriss mentions in one of his YouTube videos, seeing your thinking on a paper accomplishes two things:
- It takes the anxieties and nebulous worries in your head, puts them down in a freeze frame so that you can kind of trap them in the printed form and can get on with the rest of your day.
- It allows you to see where you were sharp and where you were dull in your thinking.
Once I have everything on a paper, I outline my draft, and edit it until I’m somehow satisfied with it. It never feels perfect or even good, but I don’t aim to be so. I recently learned from an online article that this is actually called the Carpenter’s Method. Jack Hart recommends this method in his book “A Writer’s Coach”:
“Years ago I used to futz with every sentence, but then an editor told me something that really made sense. He said that when a carpenter builds a piece of furniture he doesn’t first make one side, perfect that, and then construct another side and perfect that. He must build the entire frame and then go back and put the finishing touches on each section. Even when I am on deadline, I think of what I write first as an imperfect frame that will be improved later.”
I also pay attention other writers’ advice on writing. I want to share some of them with you:
- The more you write, the better you’ll get at it
- Commit to a schedule and adhere to it
- Find a mentor who will read your work regularly and give feedback
- Don’t see rejection as a personal attack
- Write about something that matters to you
- Make writing a ritual to get into the habit of doing it every day
- Do at least one thing every day to develop your craft
- Develop the confidence that you are a writer, and then write like one
- Write in different forms: poetry, flash fiction, plays, etc.
- Don’t waste the reader’s time (from The Minimalists)
- Don’t worry about the rules and just write
- Let your writing rest for a while and edit fresh.
- Read more
- Write the book you would like to read
- Write about what you love
- And above all, enjoy the process of writing