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Amateur Writing Isn't as Daunting as It Seems

There are plenty of reasons to beat yourself down when you scrutinize your own work, but it is absolutely unnecessary. Lighten up.

Image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay

Image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay

My first step into the waters of amateur writing left me with a deep sense of insecurity. This insecurity seems to stem not from the criticism of others, but my own fears that my writing is not up to snuff. Having never officially published any of my writings, I was worried that it wouldn't be received well, or not even be published at all, and that my first attempt would also be my last. I am happy to say that this will be my fourth article and most of my insecurity is outweighed by every previous article being published, which surpassed my every expectation for what I call my scribbles. Nonetheless, I find my harsh criticisms of my work attempting to hold me back and keep me from posting anything, so I wanted aspiring writers who suffer from the same thought-obstacles to know that the product is more than worth ignoring the consequences. All you need to do is focus on some simple fundamentals which I'll lead into with this quote that was told to me by James Edwin Gunn, "The perfect story starts by first writing the perfect sentence."

The Simple but Crucial Fundamentals

Before I begin I have to admit in earnest that the word "fundamentals," scares me. I'm not afraid of it because it is longer than six letters, but because the connotations behind it scream that I need to be further educated and qualified to even begin writing, and I have come to find those connotations to be absolutely untrue. For the sake of transparency I am willing to reveal that my education goes no further than a high school diploma and a few weeks in college that I spent mostly conversing with females and LARPing. A lack of experience and formal education should never stop you from or make you feel as if you shouldn't be pursuing your writing goals. Every great writer had to start somewhere, and every writer has chosen to travel a different path than the next.

All notable writers are fully aware that in order to create a wonderful product you must first have a strong understanding of the fundamentals. The foundation of your writing is the most important because even the dullest topics can be made interesting by adhering to these essential principles. These rules and regulations of which I speak cover everything from basic scholastic requirements all the way to ensuring you personalize the energy around your writing. There is nothing worse than reading someone's writing when it is full of spelling and grammar errors, sentence/paragraph flow doesn't make sense, feels impersonal and lacking personality, and can't stick to the topic at hand. When these basic guidelines are adhered to, however, your writing and that of others seems to come together in a way that is not only easy to read, but pleasant and entertaining as well.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Assembling Your Figurative Building Blocks of Writing

Much of my time is spent looking for and developing strategies to negate the insecurities I formulate around my writing process. As mentioned previously, the fundamentals and your understanding of them can help you virtually eliminate any need to feel worried about how your writing will be received. When I first began writing I would have my scribble journal on me at all times and my process appeared to be the endless creation of flow charts. As time went on and I began to scribble more and more in my journal, the process began to simplify until finally I began cranking out writings with very little assembly time required in between each new project. In fact, my greatest writings seem to come from spontaneous inspiration that I put little to no forethought into and let the thoughts spill onto the page as they arise within my mind. Spontaneity being my usual muse doesn't stop me from producing more structured writings, however, and even when being spontaneous I follow the basics. When it comes to assembling my building blocks of writing I follow this simple flow process: Topic, pithy title, even pithier subtitles, key points, assemble the order, then hammer away at the keyboard.

A whole heck of a lot of my time is spent reading, listening to audio books, and imbibing in informational podcasts for the sole purpose of studying the way others present information. In lieu of a formal, higher education I have found these mediums to be the best way for me to learn the finer nuances of writing. These finer nuances include all the fundamentals as well as learning the pitfalls of the personalities required to pursue endeavors such as writing.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Recognizing Your Boons and Banes

It doesn't matter who you are and how much you work at becoming the all-perfect, all-knowing super writer we all wish we could be, we all have our boons and our banes. More important than overcoming your banes, then building upon your boons, is your ability to recognize them both for yourself proactively. All too often we find ourselves correcting our shortcomings and our work after receiving harsh criticisms, or losing a large portion of our audience because of a minor slip up in professionalism or another fault we considered negligible prior to the consequences. This is all avoidable by taking the time to reread your work and asking yourself whether or not you hit the nail on the head with it, and then taking the time to refine that work to be more accommodating to the audience and their preferences. A rough world full of performative cruelty and insensitivity does not mean we need to take part in any of it, in fact I have always found it to be more attractive to stand out in spite of it. Taking the time to stand out from the crowd, presenting things in such a way that your words are taken in like a crisp breath of fresh air, always pays off in the end. Ensure that when you receive the recognition you deserve that you remain humble, because even those writings we spent hours on and feel are perfect could have appealed to others in a different light. This isn't to say you need to appeal to everyone, or even a broad audience, but it is to say that your greatest bane is your cockiness and conversely your most important boon is your ability to write even more from a different perspective on the same topics.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Write? Write. WRITE!

I focused quite a bit on the fundamentals of being a great writer so as to assure amateurs like myself that it really isn't all that daunting as it seems. There is another equally important topic I have not touched on yet that is central to your success as a writer, WRITING! It is a simple notion to find your feet concreted in, not outside the realm of understanding for any individual, that you just don't have the time to write because of your process having so many stipulations and the insecure thoughts pecking at the back of your mind making you want to give up or not even begin to try; I am here to tell you that all that is okay. You don't need to write every day, every week, or even every month. Write when you have the passion for it arise, and don't hold yourself to your own unrealistic expectations as far as how much needs to be written and how frequently you need to write it. One amazing piece that took a year to produce is worth more than one-thousand mediocre pieces posted multiple times per day. The most important and amazing point that sets you apart from others is that you are writing; to be writing at all and working hard on that passion piece it took you a month or more to convince yourself to write is divine. Never let those little excuses that grow like a mold on your creativity hold you back from writing, from that passion you have hidden under all the trifles of daily life.

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