Writing your story begins with you, ignited by the impulse to express your thoughts in words, to write a story that will hopefully make a difference in someone’s life.
Unfortunately, we are living in a world where time consumes our existence, everything needs to happen yesterday, there is no pause for introspection or reflection, only the urge to get your story out as swiftly as possible.
When it comes to turning pages into bestsellers and box-office gold, disappointment erases hopeful dreams of success and fame, when you don’t know how to market and sell your story, and you end up as a stranger to your own creation.
Yes, you might have written a story that sounds potentially viable in your mind, but when you have to take ownership of your work and face reality, you realise that in truth, you don’t know your story at all.
You soon realise that the fantasy of writing your story has blinded you against the reality of exploring its full potential, and you have become an enemy to your own creation.
The story you have written might be well crafted, but it’s an empty shell.
So, what’s the secret to writing a story that will resonate with reverence?
The first rule is that there are no rules
The second rule is that just because of rule number one, that doesn’t mean you can do anything you want
Like art or music, there are no rules as to how you approach your work, but an understanding of the subject is still important, and usually necessary to produce the greatest works. If you break the rules, you should at least know what they are.
If you are a writer, you have to write. Don’t focus all your attention on writing your story, but write whenever you can, as much as you are capable of. Express what you see and feel in words, and start filling notebooks with inspirational moments, memorable conversations, and insightful revelations.
The notebooks will become your resource material, from which you will unearth relevant information during the process of writing your story and allowing your personal experiences and observations to breathe life into your story and characters.
You need three things: passion, practice, and study.
Ray Bradbury has said that he wasn’t born with a natural talent for writing. Instead, he was born with a passion for writing itself. His enthusiasm was the fuel that forced him to develop his skill as a writer.
Think of it this way; if you want to fly to the stars you need a rocket ship full of fire.
How do you know if you have the passion to write? How do you know an artist has passion for drawing?
An artist draws all the time, simply for the fun of it. Writers write all the time, simply because its their passion.
If you want to succeed as a writer, you need to write at least a thousand words a day. Ray Bradbury wrote a thousand words a day for ten years before he sold something. That’s three and a half million words worth of stories.
Like a musician or a professional ball player, you need to practice every day to succeed. Airline pilots need a certain number of hours of flying time before they are qualified to pilot planes safely. Music, art, sports and writing all require “X” number of hours of practice before you are good enough to work professionally.
The number of hours required depends on your natural talent, how quick you learn the techniques of your craft and on how much passion you have for what you’re doing.
Everyone writes terribly at first, but after six months or a year of practice (or more), the bad stuff will tend to go away.
Another way to think of it is like an athlete lifting weights. You shouldn’t try to lift heavy weights until you’ve developed the muscles. If you write all the time, things like your individual voice and style will develop naturally over time.
So if you want to be a writer, you need to write at least a thousand words a day.
Imagine seeing a bridge or a skyscraper or an automobile and deciding that you’re going to go build one too. Without acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to build that bridge or skyscraper or automobile, you won’t get anywhere.
Yet this is the approach people take when they want to become a writer. They think they can do better than what’s gone before. They dream up an idea and just start writing, refusing to learn anything about how stories are put together. Fiercely independent, they never study the craft of writing. This kind of nonsense is the reason so many people fail.
Art is complex too
The principles and elements of design are: Line, shape, direction, proportion, texture, balance, harmony, contrast, unity, emphasis, space, and time. Without learning these things, you won’t go far as an artist, no matter how many hours you put in practicing. Artists need to learn how to mix paint, they need to learn how to prepare a canvas, and they need an understanding of color theory. Artists have no problem going to art school.
Imagine an artist saying something like, “If I go to art school, I’ll learn the FORMULA and all of my art will look exactly like everybody else’s.”
This kind of thinking is nonsense, and yet this is precisely the reason why aspiring writers refuse to study writing techniques.
It’s true that the best artists spend most of their time practicing, but they also need to develop the skills needed to be an artist. Michelangelo didn’t just spend time practicing. He studied his subject.
Studying is one of the most important things you can do as a writer.
Without study, it can take you ten or twenty years to succeed. With study, you can do it ten times faster.
There are hundreds of great books on writing.
Once you are in the habit of writing anytime and anywhere, you are capable of crafting a story that won’t be dull and lifeless.
Your truth will resonate and amplify the thematic purpose of your story, so when it comes to ‘selling’ your story, you will know who your readers/audience are, and be fully focused on reaching your target audience.
As a writer, you have to also know how to conceptualise and build your story and characters, not just write it blindly. Years later, when you have completed your story and are negotiating with producers and publishers, you will be able to confidently sell your story with ease and comfort.
Your story is no longer just words on paper but has become an integral part of who you are as a writer. It reflects who are. You are your story, and what you write should be deep-rooted in your being.
Every story you tell is ultimately your own story. It doesn’t have to reflect the direct autobiographical chronology of your life, but it will always reflect what you know to be true.
Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. Stephen King
Writing a story is not only what you have to say, but how you say it, and should entice your audience heart-and-soul into its fictional reality, hold their involvement and suspend disbelief until the very last word, and result in a meaningful and rewarding experience.
Begin writing your story by writing. It’s as simple and complicated as that. Allow yourself the luxury of becoming a slave to your emotions, the freedom of expressing yourself without restraint, and the joy of creating a story that is uniquely you.
And even if it doesn’t make sense to you, there is logic in its chaos, and mindfulness in its absurdity. Allow yourself to be a writer and write without burden or apprehension. Your words will lead you to salvation.
And, only once you have emptied your soul wholeheartedly on the page, with sincere honesty and complete dedication, then you can craft your story in whatever it’s destined to be.
Once you are in the habit of writing, you will craft each story to its full potential, and be confident in mastering all the building blocks that is needed to ensure its success.
That is the secret to writing.
The Write Journey course will take you from inspiration to first draft and most definitely give you the write building blocks to sell your story with confidence.