You want to be a writer. You want to be a Real+Good Writer. And so you work your butt off trying to absorb EVERYTHING you can about storytelling in order to be the best writer you can be.
You study craft. You need to know about characters, and plot, and dialogue, and style, and voice, and setting. You need to study novel writing, and short story writing, and every medium of storytelling you can. You need to figure out how stories work if you want to write them well.
You study lifestyle habits. You try to write every day. You try to write 1000 words a day. You try to write in cafes. You need to study other writers to see how they get the writing done. You model them to finish your drafts.
You study books. A Real+Good Reader is a Real+Good Writer. You read a lot, read widely, read diversely. You dive into the pages of a book, listening to authors you admire spill their beautiful stories into words, wondering how you can do the same. You pull apart their structure, their details. You look to how this finished book can influence and inspire your draft.
And all these areas of studying and research WILL help you figure out how to be a writer. You do need to study craft and processes and published books. It's important to pay attention to what other writers do, how they do what they do, and how you can learn from and model them.
But there's one area of research missing in this curriculum:
You can be SO well-versed in storytelling techniques and practices, and that is great and necessary.
But it means NOTHING if you don't apply it in a way that makes sense for you.
I've been caught in the trap of blindly following techniques and advice before. I've tried to write stories about things that I thought I should write about. I've written in cafes because I thought that's what I should do. I've read books because I had to read them. I've written because I felt the pressures of the outside world telling me I needed to write. I've felt the pressure to publish ASAP because I thought that's what I had to do.
And it wasn't effective.
My stories ended up dry and simple and boring. They held the framework of a story, with solid dialogue and plot. But they lacked meaning and emotional resonance. They were stories, but they weren't real or good.
My writing practice sucked. Sure, I could rack up arbitrary word counts by putting word after word on the page. But they weren't good words, and I was making much more work for myself to do in the revision process. Or, just following dead-ends entirely.
Approaching the page stopped feeling good. I began to dread writing, feeling as if it was another chore that had to be done. I got angry at writing, and began to resent it. At times, I even stopped writing completely.
Then I felt guilty that I wasn't doing it "right." I wasn't like all those other writers who wrote tons of words every day, publishing things left and right, writing stories that mattered. I pressured myself and I pressured the writing. I pressured it because of the chains of "should."
My issue wasn't the craft of writing. I knew how to write. But I stopped paying attention to how to write in a way that made sense to me.
Are you ready for some truth bombs?
You don't have to write 1000 words a day, or any X-number of words a day.
You don't have to write every day at all.
You don't have to write a story about womanhood (or whatever else you feel you should write).
You don't have to write a romance novel (or a historical novel, or whatever other genre you feel like you should write).
You don't even have to write a novel. Or short stories.
You don't have to write in a cafe. Or in the morning/evening/afternoon. Or at home/in your bed/in the car.
You don't have to do ANYTHING with your writing that doesn't make sense to you on an individual, personal level.
The only thing you have-to-have-to-have-to do: know yourself.
You have to know who you are as a human, and how your own unique and beautiful life experiences infuse themselves into your writing.
You have to know what you read and how your master writers influence the stories you write.
You have to know what you write (whatever that may be) so that you have purpose, direction, and motivation to make those stories be the BEST they can be.
You have to know how you write, whether that's in the morning with a notebook and a cup of coffee, or in the evening at a bar with your laptop. You have to know what your process is, how you accomplish things and get them done, in all that messy fashion.
And you have to know why you write at all. Your why is going to push you forward, keep you going, and pick you up when things get really, really, really tough. If you don't know it, this whole writing thing is meaningless.
Writing is hard, and feeling like you have to do it in a particular way isn't going to sustain you. Have-tos and Shoulds are not going be enough when you're dragging through the middle of your novel, when your story gets rejected for the sixth time, when you don't think you can put another word on the page.
We don't spend enough time studying the self. We're distracted by everything else – the craft, the other writers, the books – and understandably so. We DO need to pay attention to those things. But we can't neglect the most important piece – ourselves – in the process.
To free yourself from the chains of should and have to, pay attention to your motivations and desires, your needs, your process. Pay attention to yourself.
When you know yourself and free your writing from the chains of "should," your writing life transforms.
You'll write the stories that speak your truths, authentic and beautiful stories that matter. Your stories will be genuine, Real+Good. Because they'll be infused with every piece of you.
You'll know how you work best and you'll get the writing done. You won't guilt-trip yourself for not writing X-amount of words every-so-many days. You'll write when you intend to write. You'll finish your stories on your time schedule.
And you'll enjoy the process of writing, trusting that your process is the best process for you.
I believe we can learn so much from studying other writers, master writers, fellow writing friends. But their tips and advice can only take us so far.
What we often forget is that we already have all the magical answers inside of us. We just have to turn our attention inwards, look at who we are and how we work, to figure out what it is we truly should do.
When I started paying attention to myself, my writing life transformed into something amazing.
I began to write the stories I wanted to write, that mattered to me. I wrote the stories I wanted to read, I wanted to write, and I wanted to share with the world. I wrote the stories that only I could tell. I wrote stories I loved.
I fell back in love with writing again. I enjoyed coming to the page and getting lost in my magical words. I freed myself to play with words and characters and stories. Writing became fun again.
I trusted my own unique process and all the crazy emotions that came with it. I realized that I exist on my own timeline. I trusted that the writing would done, but on my schedule. And that was good.
I freed my writing from the chains of "should" and approached my writing in a way that made sense to me. And I'll never go back.
I discovered my own unique and special Writer's DNA, a code that I can confidently hold myself to in order to feel good about my writing AND get the writing done. All in a way that's personal and distinctive to me.
DISCOVER YOUR Real+good WRITER'S DNA
A FREE 12-DAY COURSE TO KNOW YOURSELF + FREE YOUR WRITING
To be the writer you were always meant to be, study who you are and free yourself from the chains of should. Discover your unique Writer's DNA.
To help, I've created a FREE 12-day course, just for you.
The Real+Good Writer's DNA digs into the core of your writer self to help you figure it out. Over 12 days, we dig into the stuff that makes you who you are, so you can be free to write what you want with confidence and purpose.
- Figure out who you are
- Pay attention to what you read
- Consider what you write
- Turn to what inspires you
- Learn how you write
- Know why you're writing at all
- And put it all together to discover your unique Writer's DNA!
If you're ready to become the writer you were always meant to be, writing in a way that makes sense to you, writing the stories you're meant to tell, writing on your time schedule, you're in the right place.
Give yourself the gift of becoming the best writer you can be. Get to know yourself as both human and writer. Get to know your influences, your processes, your motivations. Get to know who you are and free yourself from the chains of should and have to.
It's time to give yourself the Real+Good Writing Life you deserve. Get back to the basics and figure out who you are first.
It's time to discover your Real+Good Writer's DNA.
This is the heart, the foundation, the DNA to all your writing dreams.
Your writing will thank you for it.