“Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”
— Toni Morrison
There is no such thing as ‘I have nothing to write about’.
Life has more than enough to offer, subject-wise.
Even the most mundane parts of your life
Can be the source of something insightful and inspiring.
There is no such thing as ‘I don’t know what to write’.
Look closer. It’s all there.
There’s more than enough material to fill your blank pages.
And there is, of course, that marvelous human ability to create.
Use your imagination.
It helps to see what others have been doing with theirs.
So read. A Lot.
Even if your response is this:
Read all the same.
Read the greats and the unknowns
Offline, online, paperback, hardback
Anything you can get your hands on.
Find your voice
Your personal style.
Which means experimenting with words
Phrases, tone, perspective.
Which means drafts en masse.
So draft and re-draft,
Then let it lie for a while.
Read everything once more,
Draft it again,
And write it all up all over.
And yes, handing over your drafts to someone else to read is difficult. Or as David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, puts it:
“If you show someone something you’ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, ‘When you’re ready’.”
Nobody said this was easy.
Don’t give up.
Keep on writing.
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