A new writer asked for some tips today on how to get started. Here was my response:
First, get going on a writing project. Decide that you are going to write a collection of short stories or poems or maybe even a novel. Just start with a simple idea. Maybe even a single sentence. And then just write and write. Once you get a few pages into your project, it will take on a life of it’s own. Then just keep the momentum going by writing every day until you get to a place that feels like the end. It may be 5 pages or 500 pages. Don’t expect the first draft to be great. All first drafts are garbage, but they are important. A first draft is like the clay that a sculptor uses. A sculptor needs clay on the table in front of them to make something wonderful, and a writer needs words on the pages to revise and rewrite and tweak until they have something wonderful!
Second, write every day. Figure out a time that works well for you, and then just write during that time. It may be hard at first, but keep it up for about a month and it will become a habit.
Third, keep a notebook of ideas. As a writer, ideas will come to you at all times of the day. Keep the notebook (or iPhone or paper or whatever) handy so that you can write down ideas for writing that come to mind. If you don’t write them down, you’ll forget. Just write them down and read over them every once in a while.
Fourth, ignore the feelings you may have that you aren’t a very good writer. You’ve already demonstrated that you are. As you write, you may have feelings of failure and want to quite. Every writer faces the same thing. Just ignore those little voices that tell you that you can’t write, and keep writing!