I have been reading books for the past 10 years. Three months ago, I started writing. I thought it will be a piece of cake.
I googled some articles, opened my notepad, and typed a title.
For a very long time, I kept staring at my screen.
Then I started to think.
Then I closed my notepad and turned off my PC.
My first attempt at writing an article ended with me taking a very long nap.
I was interested in writing something about philosophy, history or poetry, etc, but after my first attempt ….. I had to lower my expectations. So my first article was about How to write a letter for a friend. I had no expectations of myself, but unexpectedly the article turned out to be good. (At least that is what I think)
First lesson learned
Here was my first lesson in creative writing. Writing comes to you at its own time. Some days you can write thousands of words, and some days you are unable to write even a single paragraph.
Using the Internet
Once I started writing articles, it seemed easy to write more. But after writing for some time on topics of my own interest, I was exhausted. So I searched the internet for inspiration and topics that interested me. There were thousands of topics to choose from but so much choice was no choice at all. Fortunately, I was limited by SEO and other related factors, so my choice of topics became narrower. I eventually chose a topic and started writing. This was much easier than writing all the material on your own. You could read a few articles to get an outline and main idea. Then it was easy.
Using Grammerly and other writing tools
When I started writing, I made terrible grammatical mistakes. I was perplexed. I knew English well. Why was I so bad at writing? Infamous errors like “there” and “their”, “affect” and “effect” and active, passive gave me a headache. A friend suggested Grammarly. I was skeptical. How could a website and its artificial intelligence help me with such a complex problem?
I couldn't be more wrong. Grammarly was a breath of fresh spring air after suffocating in a dump called “correcting grammatical errors on your own”. I almost solved all of my grammar problems easily. But it was not perfect. The site had problems with correcting quotes, etc. Also, it couldn't guess the nuances of the language correctly. But I think overall it was a very good experience (and still is).
Practice makes perfect
As all beginner writers, I struggled with my sentences. It is easy to come up with a good sentence once in a while, but even to write proper sentences one after another isn’t something that most people can do easily. It needs practice and a deep familiarity with language that only comes with writing more. So I kept writing grammatically correct but horrible sentences for a month. Once I was more comfortable writing, I started to think about my problem. I tried many tricks, like rewriting a sentence over and over until it was perfect. (Didn't work as I got exhausted quickly ) What worked for me, at last, was speaking the sentences out loud before writing them. This halved the number of bad sentences in my articles, and I got the added bonus of my paragraphs flowing more continuously.
Finding new creative writing topics
The topics on the internet bored me after some time. I kept writing, but in the meantime; I started looking for other ways to find interesting topics. I tried asking friends and family, but that didn't work most of the time. Then I had an idea. I had had several interesting discussions with friends on the internet on different topics. I started to look at those conversations. It was like finding a treasure trove. There were so many ideas and things there. I immediately chose a topic and started writing.
But I ran into a problem. I had so much to write about, but only a limit of 1000 to 2000 words. I had to condense my material. I also ran into discontinuity issues as I ran into tangential topics that had nothing to do with the main title. But overall it was a rewarding experience and opened many vistas for me to experience writing on a whole new level.
If you are also having problem with finding new topics here is an article with orignal writing prompt examples.
First impression is the last impression
The first and last impression is very important in your writing. I knew that fact but to actually apply it as a beginner was almost impossible. I thought about that problem at the beginning, but eventually, there were more pressing problems than writing a good beginning and ending. Eventually, in the third month of my writing, I again gave some thought to this problem. I had time, so I started experimenting with different styles. Poetry has always intrigued me. So I tried my hand at writing poetic beginnings and endings with metaphorical language. It worked. I found out that in writing your passion and interest play a big role in shaping and transforming your style. But you need a certain skill level (In my case, two months of boring writing) to convert your passion into something tangible.
Writing a story
After two months, thinking about a new topic every few days lost its charm. (It wasn't charming from the beginning but It became unbearable at this point ). It is times like these when your life becomes unbearable that you get crazy ideas. I also got one such crazy idea in my head. I started to think about writing a long story. Like a novel. Many people tried to dissuade me from this craziness, but I became more and more adamant. Under normal circumstances, I would have run miles away from writing something this “complex” and “difficult”. But these were not normal times for me.
So one day I wrote down a prologue for my story. It wasn't at all difficult (as many people had tried to tell me). It just took an hour. The experience was so good I thought I will write down my entire story in a month. (lol.)
But when I started writing the first chapter, many things dawned upon me at once. Writing a story was a much more absorbing process than writing an article, etc. You couldn't think of anything else while writing a story. Your characters and your plot needed your uninterrupted and undivided attention. I was writing a fantasy (My favorite genre). So it needed a lot of world-building and naming of people with strange and crazy names. Then you had to develop each character in your head so that you could write something about it that felt real. It was a long process that took much more time than writing an article.
But it was enjoyable. And at the end of the day, that is what matters most. Even a simple task can become excruciatingly difficult when your heart isn't in it. On the other hand, even the most difficult and mind-boggling things become easy for you when you start to enjoy them.
Writing for three months was a very rewarding experience. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I look back. And I can see that accomplishment in front of me when I write something down. My writing has improved. My ability to express myself has improved. It is like being freed from chains. It is a hassle to put away the chains in the beginning. But when the chains are down, you feel like a feather.