A few years ago, I decided to indulge myself and went back to college for a year and did a course in Journalism. It was a part time evening course, once or twice per week, which I enrolled upon really to satisfy my curiosity about the world of news reporting.
I enjoyed it thoroughly and although I did not do it for the purpose of changing my career, I did learn much about the skill of writing news and crafting engaging copy that others would be compelled to read.
Writing is now something I enjoy from the comfort of my own home, via this and many other blogs. I don’t have to go far to find stories or things to write about, because most of what appears here comes from my own thoughts and musings, however, becoming a writer is for me a play project that has blossomed into some really interesting projects over the past seven years since taking the course, and will enable me to turn out my very first book, something I have been wanting to do for quite some time.
Though the book is not the literary work I expected it to be, (it’s a how to book for photographers, but more about that later), I am nonetheless proud of how it’s shaping up and I do think it will be a really good read.
I am not the only one in my family who’s written (or writing) a book either. My brother is currently in the final edit stage of his first book, that is also another how to book, this time for people who want to get into the music business.
Both he and I have found that writing about the very things that we do every day is rich material for our initial written works, which is something that surprises me, because I never much wanted to write about the work that I do, I always wanted my writing to be about something exciting and work isn’t most of the time.
The thing that changed my mind, was working with creatives who have some problems getting their heads around how the web works, and how it can help them in their business or creative lives. I explain stuff to many of my clients, but it finally dawned on me that I could actually help a lot more people get more out of the web by writing my experiences of building websites for creative people, the problems faced and the solutions, thus giving a wider audience the opportunity to develop their knowledge and take advantage of the great opportunities that the web offers, especially to small businesses for whom budget is ALWAYS an issue.
So, instead of simply wishing to become a writer by mulling over a half story, with no real plot and only half developed characters, I began to write about websites, a subject that I really know a lot about and soon the words were simply gushiing out on screen. There was no sign of writers block as my fingers clattered over the keyboards, and in a couple of hours, I had written the first chapter and was well on my way to completing the second, in one night!
I was so impressed with my progress that I kept writing for days. I even started using a mind mapping tool to work out the structure of the book, and the structure of each chapter to ensure that I was covering all of the material I needed to cover. (I love mind mapping). So my advice to you on how to become a writer is the same as everyone else I have ever read on the subject. Start by writing about something that you know. You want to write because you want to share your ideas and stories with a wider audience. Of course you begin doing this on a blog, on your own laptop just in a file or in a notebook that you keep with you at all times.
When inspiration hits, you can immediately put your ideas into longform with a blog, and there is nothing to stop you from writing about the same subject, from different perspectives, over and over again. Doing it this way, you can get into a writing habit and soon enough it will come as second nature for you to sit down and knock out 1500 words in half an hour. Trust me, it’s great when that happens.
I am currently writing a blog post about lists, and how keeping them can help you to increase your productivity so stay tuned and above all else, get writing. Because the only way you will become a writer is to write.
Photo Credit: Zsuzsanna Kilian