Writing like public speaking can be very intimidating. Many people shrug off the task of writing, saying, “I just can’t write,” or “I’m not the creative type.” My response is, “There was a time when you couldn’t walk either, but you learned.” Now I’m not suggesting that writing well is like learning to write well. I’m saying that writing is a skill that may take time to improve and grow into before you feel competent.
There are two challenges I see in the ever-expanding world of aspiring writers.
The first challenge is people who want to write but refuse to study the craft to become better. They write “crap” and expect you to praise them for minimal effort. Fortunately, there are several excellent examples of good writing for an aspiring writer to study. An aspiring writer who will not study accomplished writers to develop the skill and the art of writing will likely never be an “inspiring” writer.
The second challenge is people who fear criticism and rejection and therefore never share their work, good or bad, with anyone. One of my favorite dictums is, “The world is never served by you playing small.” If you are unwilling to share your talent, you have chosen to rob others of the gift of your inspiration and yourself of the opportunity to get better and perfect your skill.
Here are a few suggestions for improving your skill and maturing your writing.
Increase your vocabulary (try reading an old dictionary)
Take a walk outside and describe aloud the scenes around you.
Write a narrative about yourself, describing yourself as a character in a story.
Use imagery to describe the following:
the shape of your face, lips, and eyes
your mood, expression, and thoughts at the moment
the sensation of touching your face, rubbing your hands together, the texture and sound they make as you rub them.
Describe a scene or a relationship you have with a person in your life using adjectives to illustrate them.
(ex: My friend and confidant, Jeremy, had the strange habit of rubbing his left ear with his broad, rough right hand when he lied. He was doing that right now as I asked a question. “Have you seen my wife today? She was supposed to come to your office to drop off a package for me?” “Humph, strange indeed,” I thought.
I wonder if he noticed the quizzical look on my face? Surely, he saw the slight wrinkle in my brow as my head noticeably tilted to the right at his answer.)
Try one of all of these exercises and add your narrative in the comments. I look forward to reading your writing and hearing your voice.