Start Writing Now

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If I could offer one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, it would be to start writing now.

You can read every style manual, how-to-article, and book on the craft, but it won’t replace the physical task of putting pen to paper.  Whether your aim is to create a popular blog or write a bestselling novel, you must sit down and start somewhere.

Before starting, you must first come to grips with the reality that you’ll never be a perfect writer. There will always be that extra sentence you wish you would’ve included after seeing your work in print. More than any other endeavor, writing is a never-ending quest for satisfaction. Writing becomes a lot more enjoyable after accepting this truth.

The most effective writing you can do is the kind without restraint. Just grab a journal and start writing about whatever topic excites you. Don’t worry about grammatical errors. Forget about whether your words flow smoothly. Just get something down on paper. You can revise later.

Many aspiring writers cripple themselves by holding their work to an unattainable standard of perfection. Writing is difficult enough without the added pressure.

Just have fun.

Freewriting: Bullying

Few things are more shameful than people who make fun of others and exert their authority over those who they deem as weak. Deep down, bullies are miserable human beings. How much must their life suck in order to constantly spend their time cutting down others.

While bullying is prevalent in school, it occurs in all walks of life, especially in the workplace. I’ve worked in environments where people were incessantly bullied for the dumbest of reasons. It’s easy to get caught up in office gossip. While you may not be a participant in the physical act of bullying, condoning the behavior makes you just as responsible.

If there is a bully reading this then I encourage you to stop before you go too far. If you’re being bullied then I encourage you to pray for those who bully you and not be a pushover. Facts prove that most bullies back down when they’re challenged.

I take bullying seriously because I experienced it growing up. It didn’t feel good then and it doesn’t feel good to see others go through it.

Freewriting: Laziness

It feels so good to come home after a long day of work and plop down on the couch to watch my favorite television shows and bury myself in social media. Why must laziness feel so good. It should at least hurt a little.

There are lots of productive things I should be doing with my free time, but laziness keeps me from doing so many of them. It saps my motivation. Laziness is comparable to a disease. It slowly eats away at my core and leaves me a shell of my former self. It’s the ultimate dream killer.

I must kill this laziness seed before it grows any further.

 

Freewriting: Work

Today was an exceptionally good day at work. It didn’t start out that way. Not that it was a bad one by an means. It was just a little blah. Kind of boring. Kind of difficult. Kind of just there. But then it got much better toward the end when I got the opportunity to run an errand with one of my favorite coworkers. It was nice to spend some time with them away from the desk. Actually, I prefer just about any activity that gets me away from my desk.

Overall, it’s been a good work week. I seem to have a better grasp at handling certain situations than I did even a week ago. I’ve noticed that I’m being asked to do more things outside of my comfort zone. Often times it doesn’t feel good, but I have to remind myself that it’s helping me to develop into a more well-rounded employee.

One of the coolest things to occur this week was an impromptu men’s meeting. In an office of over 20 employees, only six of us are men. It’s rare that we’re all together in one place. All but one of us gathered around my desk to have a nice chat about our experiences as married men. It was so fun that I’m thinking we need to schedule some guys time every week. Lol.

On last Friday I found out that I didn’t get a library position I interviewed for a month ago. I wasn’t terribly upset. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve come feel something of a renewed sense of purpose at my job. Apparently, not getting the job is a sign that God has something better in store for me and the work on my current job isn’t quite finished yet. I’m good.

I’m looking forward to the challenges that await me on tomorrow.

 

Interior Monologue: Yourself

I was feeling a bit froggy on a visit to Barnes and Noble last night and decided to purchase John Gillard’s Creative Writer’s Notebook. The description on the back cover reads: “Creative Writer’s Notebook is the perfect journal for anyone interested in the art of good writing. It profiles the life and work of 20 important writers from the past century, and includes numerous activities and creative prompts to help you develop a distinctive writing style.”

Although fiction writing has never been my forte, I saw enough good stuff in here that convinced me to give it a try.

My first exercise is from the chapter highlighting James Joyce. The author describes Joyce as arguably the most influential writer of the twentieth century. He goes onto say that his masterpiece, Ulysses (published in 1922), challenged the traditional rules of style and form, and changed the landscape of modern literature.

Joyce was a master of writing in the interior monologue through a “stream of consciousness,” where the goal is to write down whatever thought comes to mind without any regard to sentence structure and style. The first exercise in this section is to write a monologue from my own perspective with each thought being a continuation of the last.

What you’re about to read are the unfiltered handwritten thoughts I wrote in the book. It may not be pretty, but here goes:

It’s a Saturday night and I’m at home with my wife. I live for these kinds of evenings. I live for the weekend. I’m sitting here exercising my writing skills in this book. I’m glad I purchased it to begin with especially considering the fact I’ve never been too keen on being a fiction writer. I attempted to write a little more in my administrative writing project. I think I want to adjust it into a quote book. For one, this would be  much easier than writing a straightforward narrative. I’m very into quotes and inspiring others, so I think that I’m properly equipped to write this. I’m feeling a renewed connection to writing after hearing the news that I didn’t get the job. Until I find out if I’m accepted to grad school I’m focusing on my writing. I want to become the best writer I can be. Maybe not getting this job is the best thing to happen to me. The third shift would’ve been a huge adjustment. I’m really starting to gel with the current crew we have. Plus summer is around the corner and it’s my favorite time to work in Advancement. I just want to continue to do the best job that I can do for the next two years or so. Going to grad school will at least give me the sense that I’m accomplishing something worthwhile. And who knows. Something drastic could arise over the next few months at work. Maybe I’ll be promoted, even though I really don’t want to work in a writing related role at my job. I’m content with becoming a better admin. There is so much that I still need to perfect. Back to the writing. I need a breakthrough in my writing this year. I’m tired of doing a blog or writing a piece of a story here and there. I sound like a broken record, but I have to make a change in my writing life. I have to stop being lazy. I need to stop spending so much of my free time watching tv. I have so many resources in my house to aid my writing. I spend most of my time staring at them instead of cracking them open and practicing. I’m trying to change this. Hopefully writing in this book on a daily basis will ignite the spark that takes my writing habit to the next level. I’m 31 and feel a big urge to make something happen before I’m 32. I have to know that I’m on the right track with my writing. I don’t want to enter 2018 as just another aspiring author and mediocre blogger. I want people to know my name. I want to be a good writer for myself. I want people to get something meaningful from my writing. I have to push myself even when every fiber of my being hates doing so.

Why I Enjoy Writing in the Morning

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There is something magical about writing early in the morning. It’s the time of day when my mind is the least cluttered. All I need is a warm cup of coffee and my journal book and I’m good.

I can’t promise that what I write during this time will even make sense. My number one priority is to get something down on paper. Grammar and sentence structure are the least of my concerns.

I encourage you to try this if you’re a new writer looking to establish a daily routine. Even if just writing for five minutes, you will be amazed at how easily your thoughts flow in the morning hours.

500 Writing Prompts: My Favorite Shoes

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Talk about your favorite pair of shoes and why you love them so much.

This is a lighter topic than what I’m used to writing from this book, but it’s still a good exercise to get my creative juices flowing.

My favorite pair of shoes are a gray pair of Nike sneakers I purchased two years ago, from Rack Room Shoes.

I’ve never been a big shoe person. I usually buy a pair or two every couple of years. I’ve never purchased any pair of shoes that cost over $60. I shop at Rack Room since I can always buy one pair and get the second half off.

The reason I like this pair of Nikes so much is because they make almost everything in my wardrobe look better. They go with my t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, jeans, and workout clothes. They’re in surprisingly good shape considering how much I wear them.

When it comes to sneakers, I mostly gravitate toward black, gray or some combination of the two since I can easily toss them on without having to put too much thought into whether they match what I have on.

With shoes, and my overall fashion sense, I subscribe to the theory that simpler is better.

Reading Is Key to Becoming a Better Writer

Today I’d like to write about a topic that’s dear to my heart: reading.

In a perfect world, I’d spend every evening curled up with a good book. The reality is that I rarely have enough time to read for leisure.

Well that changed on yesterday.

While riding out of town with my wife I was finally able to catch up on Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway, an anthology of works from some of the most distinguished writers in the American short story tradition. I purchased this book several weeks ago, but had done little with it. It was refreshing to flip through its pages while taking in the cool breeze from the window I had rolled down.

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I’ve always been fascinated with reading. I’m the type of person who finds it impossible to leave out of a bookstore without something in my hands. Even in college, I was more comfortable staying in the dorm reading than going out to party with friends.

My goal is to incorporate more reading into my daily schedule. This doesn’t mean reading the newspaper or information relating to my job. I’m talking about reading for the fun of it.

Not only is reading exciting, but it’s a necessity for becoming a good writer. When I come across a particularly strong phrase in a book or article, I’ll draw a circle around it so that I can refer to it later. These passages serve as motivation for the level of writing I’d like to attain someday.

If you wish to become a better writer, it’s best to pick up a good book.

Write For an Audience of One

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In some form or fashion, each of the books pictured above have assisted me on my writing journey. However, as good as they are, none of them can adequately prepare me for task of putting pen to paper.

The sheer volume of style manuals and how-to-books on the market can be daunting, especially for new writers. Sometimes it’s best to attack the blank page with little to no regard for public consumption.

Instead of conforming your writing to another’s standards make your readers conform to yours.

It’s All in the Details

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This is the kind of Saturday I enjoy. The weather is nice and I don’t have too many items on the agenda. I can lounge around and still get some writing done.

When thinking of what to write today my mind wandered back to two incidents from work.

The most recent occurred yesterday when a lady came by my office to drop off some paperwork. The first thing I noticed is that she had on a dress identical to another coworker. It was a black t-shirt style dress with white horizontal stripes. It looked as if she literally picked the outfit out of the other woman’s closet. I was so taken aback that I found myself staring at her dress for most of our conversation. I later brought up my observation which she found quite funny.

Earlier this week I had another female coworker stop by. This one has a peculiar habit of dancing to pass the time. She broke out in a ballerina-style dance as she waited on me to finish a call. It’s honestly the strangest, and cutest, thing I’ve seen at my job. We both busted out in laughter when I noticed what she was doing.

(Author’s Note: One of the most important things I’ve learned about working with women is that it’s always good to keep them laughing.)

I thought to myself how is it that I always pay such an inordinate amount of attention to these kind of things. More so at my job than any other place, I notice nearly every detail of my coworkers’ articles of clothing, past conversations, and unique individual quirks. Even more interesting is that I work mostly around women. It seems like there is something new to learn about them on a daily basis.

I blame it on the writer in me. As a writer, I feel that it’s my duty to observe every detail about those around me. I catch things about other’s behavior that they may not even realize about themselves. It’s kind of cool.

Consequently, I like for my writing to be packed with as much detail as possible.

I’m ready to see what notes my mental rolodex will record as I go about today’s activities.