How Contrarian Writers Win

Typewriter with text that reads Once Upon a Time

This next tip may well be one of the simplest and most unusual snippets you're ever likely to come across, yet its value is clear, undiminished and can have immense implications! You'll understand the utter truth and power of the approach I'm suggesting in a moment.

However for now, I want to suggest that one of the best ways to be a writer today is quite simply ...

... don't!

Yes, that's right, especially when your strongest desire is to be a writer, simply don't try to be a writer! Focus on the job of writing instead. Why: when you're trying to project the appearance of something, are you fully focusing on the tasks in hand? Are you far more conscious of how you may appear to others? Distractions, perceptions, distortions just get in the way.

A compelling idea perhaps?

So how should you act? What should you do?

Answer: on top of everything else you may think about during your creative expeditions, when you don't have to deal with any self-imposed pressure of trying to be "a writer", you can just relax, find your rhythm, and focus on your writing.

When you're "centered" on your writing, you'll most likely create material that is worthy of your readers' attention, and then, hey presto: welcome to the club dear writer.

So just be yourself: think about what you want to say, then say it — on paper, on-screen, or talk into a microphone, or make a video clip, or jump in deep and commit to all of those activities.

Start from where you are, then just start writing

You can edit and correct minor errors later

Getting started is always better than not starting at all. Setting your expectations too high can also be disabling: have no expectations. Just begin.

Whatever the tools used, the key techniques are similar.

Seriously. Forget all the huff and fluff that surrounds the mystique of writing. Instead, simply concentrate your energies, revel in the moment and enjoyment on how to:

  • Tell a riveting story, or ...
  • Create a compelling, informative article, or ...
  • Write interesting, absorbing web content, or ...
  • Blast out a convincing press release with "sit up and take notice" pizazz.

Then delight how everything else can fall into place.

Consider the following guidelines:

  • Simply "record" your thoughts in the early stages of your draft. Don't be too concerned about quality, just strive to export the gist of your message or story out of your head and into a retrievable format.
  • Thoughts have a habit of being particularly fleeting — if you wait too long or ponder over how you should say something, or get interrupted, you can lose the idea — sometimes forever!

    Consider how when the celebrated poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was writing his expansive poem, Kubla Khan, he could visualize his entire poem. With much excitement, Coleridge naturally set to work immediately with the goal of recording the entire verse while still fresh in his mind.

    However, he was soon interrupted by a visitor and had to put aside his poetic labors for a few hours. Later, Coleridge was horrified to discover that he was unable to sufficiently remember or rekindle his earlier thought-stream and so the poem that held such initial promise remains unfinished.

    When we read the initial mesmerizing paragraphs, we can get a flavor of true creative genius while under the spell of laser sharp focus. Yet, through interruption, his flow was disturbed and broken, robbing the world of even more remarkable poems.
  • So first off, plan to get "the big rocks in the jar first", and clean up later.
  • Ideally, write every day — about what holds your attention at the time — ideally at least 1000 words.
  • Keep a notebook and pen or pencil, tablet computer, or smart phone close by for quick and easy access at any time of the day or night. Why? The more you write, the more likely your greatest ideas may come to you at unexpected times. When your innermost creative inspiration visits, be ready. You can write by hand, type or speak your thoughts. 
  • Don't make excuses (I've come up with many in the past — some really good ones, at least I thought so at the time :-) Don't play that game: just do it!
  • Make the time you need to write. Switch off the TV. Find a quiet space. Shut the door. Protect your writing arena. Educate those closest to you about your need for undisturbed privacy during the time you set aside to write.
  • What I've found is that if you really, really, really love "thinking on paper", whether you use real paper or an electronic screen, you'll always have "enough" time. How: we organize our lives around what we love to do
  • If you have trouble controlling your environment — or if your environment or certain people seem to control you, hand the problem over to your intuition and trust your inner powers to help provide the right solution for you. Be patient for a resolution. While easy answers don't usually come  easy, there are always alternatives; always a solution — somewhere.
  • Practice developing patience and perseverance.
  • When starting to write, don't "wait" for inspiration: create your own. Just relax and commit to build your word "bricks". Creativity has a habit of appearing as you need that something extra sooner or later to help you finish the "building."
  • If the kind of inspired thinking "doesn't come", then finish without it — for now at least. Why: you may find later that when you re-read what you've penned, inspiration was there all along, with you every step of the way. Or, the simple act of reading again, stimulates you further to find the missing pieces to your puzzle.
  • Key tip: whatever you create issues from within you: don't wait or expect for so-called external influences, or the writer's "muse." Newsflash: you are the writer's muse!

Trust me: if you want to write and have been sufficiently motivated to read this article up to this point, to you, writing is probably not just a passing interest. Moreover, you probably already have all you need to make a start on a new and exciting interest or career.

Words are both cheap and expensive. You can create, think about, play around with tens of thousands of words, to explore new thoughts and ideas.

Because words are plentiful, common, available "on-tap", we can imagine each word has a low cost. However, what we do with those words, how we weave them into desirable, popular patterns, or products, or services, gives the sum total of a collection of words value. Sometimes, a lot of value.

Start now; start today. Soon enough, you'll be writing 4000+ words a day and look back on 1000 words as "play time", and converting your thoughts to desirable income.

Most of all: have a blast!

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