Writing is such a wonderful form of self-expression. For the brief time I taught middle school, I required my students to dedicate one of their notebooks for journal writing. For the first ten minutes of class, I had them sit, pull out their journals, and write. Sometimes I gave them a topic, and sometimes I didn’t. When I didn’t give them a topic, it wasn’t uncommon to hear a collective moan reverberate through the room, followed by the inevitable question: “What are we supposed to write about?” My answer: “Anything you want.”
I tried to instill in them the idea that when you write, you can be anything you want, you can say anything you want to say, you can create your own reality for that brief ten minutes. Live large. Let your imagination take you away. The page is yours to bring to life.
Some of them dove right in and I didn’t see them look up until the timer went off. Others weren’t so enthused. They drummed their pencils on the desk or sat staring into space. I think a lot of people who want to write but haven’t started yet, can relate to the latter experience.
In this series, I will highlight some of the problems aspiring writers face and provide some ideas that have helped me in the past. I hope you find this series helpful, and that you will be empowered to face down those demons and write whatever it is you are longing to write.
Disclaimer: The following exercises will require a journal and ten minutes of writing per session!
Problem #1: “What Do I Write About?
What is it you want to write?
Do you want to write a novel? If so, what kind? Mystery, romance, a great piece of inspired literature? Do you have an awesome idea for the next best sci-fi thriller? Do you want to express yourself through poetry? Or, do you have certain knowledge or experience that would lend itself to a self-help book or a memoir? Do you fancy writing essays for magazines, or creating your own blog?
Why do you want to write?
What does it mean to you to express yourself through the written word? Do you crave a connection with others on universal themes? Do you want to entertain? Do you feel called to help people, or bring to light the social injustices of the world? Maybe you have experiences or knowledge you feel people can benefit from.
Spend some time thinking about why writing is important to you. Jot down a list of your reasons without putting them in any particular order. Then go back and pick the 3 to 5 most important reasons. Then, narrow it down to the single most important reason you want to write.
I find setting intentions is always a good way to get in touch with what I really want and why I want it. An intention is what your “want” looks like when you’ve obtained it. Below are some examples to get you started. Note: When setting your intention always use positive language, i.e. “I am” or “I have,” or “I do.” You can set as many intentions as you want, and then go back and list them in the order of importance to you, as you did in the previous exercise.
I write because I want to _______.
My knowledge of ________allows me to help people understand ________ through the writing of my book/blog/articles.
I am talented at _________ and can entertain people with my story of __________.
I have a passion for _________ and want to change the world with my message.
I have a deep understanding of _________ and can share my experiences to relate to others through my writing.
I love to ________ and want to share my passion for it in my book.
Check back with me June 20, 2018, for “How Do I Start? I will be posting about themes in writing.