Some say that to be a writer, it is enough to read. Others propose practical literary workshops, of which there are hundreds since many graduates in Philology have no way out than teaching. Finally, others state emphatically that nothing is necessary but to write without rest and learn little by little. They may all be partly right.
As a practicing paper writer, I will try to clear the tortuous path a little and point out some general keys to aspire to that indeterminate entity that we have come to call: “being a writer”. We will divide it into several stages, the essential milestones that must be passed to aspire to it.
BEING A WRITER: THE FIRST STEPS
- Always keep your writer’s notebook handy and write down everything that catches your attention, everything that motivates you, everything that occurs to you, everything you hear or see of interest, any idea… All this will become -almost without wanting or intending it- “writing material”. Not all of it will be usable, but it doesn’t matter; as long as a small fraction of it is, it will have fulfilled its purpose in the long career of becoming a writer and an original author.
- Write something every day, whether it is a diary entry, a poem, a short story, or even a micro-story of a couple of lines. It doesn’t matter the format, the themes, or if it is better or worse written… the only thing that really counts and leads to the goal -perhaps long dreamed of being a writer-, is constant and patient practice. Everyone will plan it in their own way and manner, there will be those who set aside half an hour or an hour a day of their free time for this purpose, or there will be those who at any time of the day, perhaps every two or three days, will take a moment to undertake this task. And if this practice is impossible, take advantage of weekends, holidays, etc. Only regular practice will make you progress, don’t doubt it (unless you are a genius, of course).
- Read as much as you can. Just as it is necessary to write daily (if possible), it is also required to read every day, or at least as often as possible. Besides, reading with a future writer’s eyes differs from reading with a simple reader. The mind gets used to distinguish and evaluate what other authors do to achieve their purposes, to give birth to their creations. I have done this all my life and learned a lot, so much so that I dedicate myself to teaching it to others. From that particular attention to reading, ideas, suggestions, motives… are born, which we will take advantage of later.
BEING A WRITER: STARTING TO WORK ON THE CRAFT
Let’s imagine you are a “total” beginner who knows almost nothing (about the craft; maybe you know a lot about life, and you already have half of the way to writing interesting content). In this case, you have to take several simple steps in a self-taught way if you wish to do so:
- If you are a “total” beginner, you have read very little. One is inevitably linked to the other. And that is the first essential step to arrive one day (perhaps not too far away) at a sufficient mastery of language and writing. As an anecdote, Miguel Hernández was a shepherd who read tirelessly while shepherding his flock. He became one of the best poets of the 20th century: and serve as an example. It is like a musician who learns to play by hearsay: this unregulated learning is also valid.
- To become a professional writer, you must master grammar and other aspects of writing, such as punctuation: full stops, commas, admiration, etc. If you like to learn, there are hundreds of sites on the Internet where you can do this. Or you can use the paper help discount code at the PaperHelp website and order a sample text written by a professional writer. This will help you see what a well-written text should look like.
If studying is not your thing and you prefer to practice, when you read something, underline or write down what you find curious and study only that point. You memorize much better that way, even if it’s a less methodical system. You can also pick up books with many illustrative examples to help you remember the content.
- To be a writer and express all the nuances of language, you must learn vocabulary. To expand your vocabulary little by little, there is nothing better than using another notebook where you will write down every word you don’t know and its definition. From time to time, you will review this notebook and check (as students do) whether your memory has stored all this new vocabulary. This system worked very well for me, a long time ago, especially if you construct (as I did) sentences with the words, which will make your memory store them with obvious speed.
We hope our advice was helpful to you. And finally, even if you fail the first time, please don’t give up. After all, only practice and more practice will help you perfect your skill.