The brutal, real truth about being a writer: all one needs to really do, pen or keyboard in hand is: WRITE. To be a writer, you must simply write, get the truth out of your head and heart and put it down in some form. All you have to do is SEE! Open your eyes and heart, your original, personal brain and soul, God given or from somewhere!
Our society does not encourage honesty. Surely we are not blind, regardless of all of the television and the conformity taught to us in school. Just SEE and then simply report it: write it down. And stop all the editing and censoring and worrying and fear. Fear will ruin a writer. I say writer, meaning a writer of personal, specific truth: your reality. You could, like many, write cook books and TV guides and easily accessible articles for mass production. But if your interest is in creating something new, brand new, original; then you must see the truth around you, whatever it is and simply write it down. Simply see reality as only you can see it. Then write it down, in specific detail!
So: wake up! Take a look. Take a chance. Write it down and forget about the words, in the beginning, just get it down…worry later! Edit and censor and fix it later. And yet here comes the hard part: you, as someone who assumedly wants to create something worthwhile as a writer must, must drop all the stories that you carry with you, the judgments: as many as possible and then as purely as you can, write down what you want to write. Even if it seems wrong or odd or scary: so much the better.
It’s one thing to wake up, shake off the straight world, and start to get it down, but how? Firstly, again, just write, pencil or pen, computer, just write it down, fast, especially if you have to keep up with the tremendous amount of input flowing in from outside and inside. See it, write it. Remember you have a blank sheet of paper in front of you. You can write anything you want to. What freedom! And again, quoting the late, great John Gardner, who wrote at times, 16 hours a day and many novels: DETAIL IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF FICTION! Don’t ever forget this.
If you don’t use specific detail then you are a cheater, a selfish writer. Why write “The garden was beautiful!” Why is the garden beautiful? And more importantly, why is it beautiful to you, only you, not according to gardening magazines or your friends or husband or wife, but very specifically, why and how is it beautiful: tell us, for goodness sake. Show us. Show and tell: now there’s an entire reality, the balance of how much to show and tell: fodder for another article.
Once you’ve written, in specific personal detail, about a chicken or a dog or a house or an interaction between whomever, or a street, or the rain, then what? Then comes a huge decision: form and presentation. One can write and write, freestyle, free writing, journal style, and that’s important, but how to create the form you want and is available to the audience you might want to address? I say forget any audience. Write it for yourself, even the form. Then, if you must, due to finances or need, you can edit or fix it to fit into some audience. This all depends on whether you want to be a journalist, a straight writer, catering to the norms of our society, or an artist, on the fringes.
Writing help is in some ways, the easiest art form of all. It requires no brushes or paint or clay or hands on involvement: just your own private, special details and guts. The hard work is in simply seeing and writing it down. It’s all there: all you have to do is be honest and report it.
Of course there is more to it. How to create real characters; the rhythm and syntax and balance of language, dialogue and structure. More on that later.