“If you hear a voice within you saying, “You are not a painter,” then by all means paint, boy, and that voice will be silenced, but only by working.” – Vincent Van Gogh, in a letter to his Brother, Theo.
Van Gogh knew a thing or two about painting. Turns out, his advice is pretty sound for every medium. Especially writing. If you write, you are a writer: even if you’ve never had anything published, or never completed a short story, you’re still a writer. The best way to improve your writing is to…write. Seems foolproof.
But we’ve all experienced blank days.
Days when the page stays empty, or life gets in the way.
There’s lots of advice out there on ways to get over these humps, here’s my take. Four simple points.
If you want to succeed then you’ve got to write anyway, even if it means forcing yourself to your desk, out of bed, down to the kitchen to get a new pen, taking five minutes out of your day in your busy (in bold because I know how your excuses work) schedule to say sorry to your friends, or family, or extremely urgent plans, and scribble something down so that you can at least tell yourself you’ve done something that day.
- Seek attention!
Gratitude for your writing is easy to find online. There are hundreds and hundreds of places you can post your work to seek some kind of reward from the public. When I was younger I first used WritersCafe.org, and I mean, when I was thirteen years old. If it wasn’t for this website I doubt I’d be where I am now, in terms of my writing skills. People’s positive response to my writing encouraged me to write, and write more and more, over the last 10 years.
This one is simple. I don’t know how many times, I’ve lost count, that I’ve opened a book and within fifteen minutes drifted off, thinking about this or that. This is the perfect moment to strike. Grab a pen and write down what you’re thinking, even if it’s about breakfast, or your best friend throwing up in the urinal last night. Reading opens up your mind and clears it at the same time. For as long as you’re willing you can use this to your advantage and rinse and repeat. Sometimes I find it’s better to read a book you don’t think is very good. What? Judging someone else’s writing makes yours seem better. That leads on to my next point.
Weird one, but wow, is it important. If you don’t stop for a moment every day and say, I am an incredible writer, then you’re going to start feeling down. This advice applies pretty well to everyday life, too. Truth is, everyone wants to be a writer. There’s hundreds of opportunities for writers, and it might feel like nothing is going your way. If you start believing it’s because you’re bad, you’ll stop writing, which is exactly what this post is trying to get you to stop doing.
You’re a great writer.
I’ve got a lot of faith in you.
You just have to write.
You can check out my other “ON” posts below.