Art featured by Francesco Bongiorni
No amount of advice, teachings, or practice would have prepared me for what I was about to put myself through when I started writing for the first time.
As a young writer, I hadn’t been able to see the forthcoming bumps that were waiting for me on the road I had willingly decided to drive on— ones that almost made me flip on an intersection and at some points crash into a lamppost as I could’ve possibly exploded.
Keyword being possibly, as I’ve surprisingly survived.
But even though I’ve slightly overcome the struggles that came with being a writer, for the past four years and counting, I should’ve known what I was setting myself up for when I decided to post my first ever works as a writer online for the whole world to see. At the age of twelve-years-old.
Yeah, I know, talk about a ticking-time-bomb just waiting to self-destruct.
I’m not going to sit here being reminiscent of the good ‘ol days and be a total cliche by telling you that what I had gone through shaped the person I am today because, to be honest, it was anything but. The mental torture I had to go through at such a young age was something I didn’t deserve.
If I could change so many aspects of my life, or at least be able to travel back in time and warn my younger self about something, I would tell her to not have risked going online and posting her work there for the whole world to see not until she was ready for it.
Because guess what? I wasn’t.
Obviously, I can’t change the past and I can only be able to view my shortcomings as evidence for my growth and development as a writer, and I can also use what I’ve learned to hopefully share some wisdom for those who are planning to take on the writing field.
Now, I am not someone who’s going to act as some sort of professional thinking that my experience is going to be the same with others because quite frankly, it’s not.
We all have unique experiences as creatives and I’m constantly evolving, not only as a person but as a writer. Clearly, my knowledge fluctuates along with the time that’ll pass.
My style will change, my way of writing will change, one moment I’d say I’m a writer of fiction, and then the next I’m shifting into journalism and everything that I’ve learned as a writer in fiction can’t be applied to what I’ll do as an aspiring journalist.
Style and expertise are just easy to learn if you put your entire mind into it, all it takes is practice and to be honest, skills are the last thing we should have to worry about when involving ourselves in the creative field.
Which yes, seems impractical and makes no sense because that’s how creatives get started in the first place, by polishing their skills in order to eventually capitalize on it.
But that’s where the issue begins, we get so intensely fixated on the practicality of being a good writer who’s known for their wonderful works that are damn nearly seen as perfect, and having to eventually be recognized in the mainstream market as the next J.K Rowling or Stephen King.
We read these Writing Guide books that establish the Dos or Don’ts of writing— like how to not be too wordy with our prose, to not immediately bore our audience, and all these other restrictions that’ll help us become better writers, or so they have said.
We shove these technicalities into writers’ faces saying that this is what they’ll need in order to gain better knowledge about their craft, which don’t get me wrong, a lot of the time it helps.
But what they fail to warn writers, especially beginners, is the emotional and mental turmoil they’ll inevitably have to face regarding their field.
I can’t promise to give you solid advice that’ll manufacture you into the next Jane Austen or Emily Brontë.
I can’t morph into the professionals who have lectured me about the rule of thumb when it comes to writing because none of them actually stuck to me throughout the years.
That’s not to say you can’t find ways to try and polish your writing, because yes, you can especially if you take writing very seriously as either a hobby or a career.
But what I’ve noticed is that these tips are easily accessible and you can find different variations of them and can just as easily apply them to your own writing.
They’re never going to go away and they’ll always be available for you.
But what’s not fully guaranteed to always stay, however, is the passion.
This is something none of these tips and guide books have ever taught me when I first started writing. They never warned me about the insecurities that come along with being a writer, the desperation of being recognized, the guilt of not being able to write just as much as your peers, the resentment of not being published, the corruption the mainstream media inflicts onto creatives that’ll eventually get to their heads until it slowly corrupts them.
They taught me about the hows, but they failed to teach me about the whys.
Because what’s the point of obtaining such wonderful skills if the story behind your words holds no sort of meaning? What’s the point of having a beautiful book cover that’ll attract dozens of readers when the content beneath it holds no sort of substance?
What’s the point of writing if you just wanna be recognized as someone skillful, but the words you’re trying to convey down on paper holds no heart to the story that you’re telling?
What’s the point of writing if the only memories you have are those of sleepless nights when you constantly typed and deleted every word you wrote down with clear frustration over the thought of why aren’t you getting it right? Why am I not getting this as perfect as I had envisioned it to be inside my head? Why can’t I get this done faster before my editor calls me for my manuscript?
What’s the point of your words if they bear no life or joy when you wrote them?
They never taught nor warned me that despite gaining all this skill and expertise, it would be meaningless if I had no will to actually use them for something that I was passionate about.
So maybe I can’t give you solid, concrete tips and ideas on how to better your writing because quite frankly, even I don’t have a definite style of my own.
But what I can give you, or at least share with you, is that at the end of the day, none of it matters if you don’t have the heart to want to know more in order to write more.
Ask yourself first if you’ll be able to maintain doing this knowing that possibly, you might not get anything out of it instead of just being able to do what you love and if that would be enough.
Ask yourself first if the stories you write or the words that you jot down are actually something you’d read if you aren’t striving to have other people read it as well.
Ask yourself if this fuels you, and if being able to do this alone is enough and shall not be yielded by external complications knowing that your inner love for it is more powerful.
Most importantly, instead of wondering how you can become a talented writer who obtains great skills and an impressive style, ask yourself first the one question that matters most:
Why did you become a writer?