Being a Writer



Wait… I do? Where are they? And how do I get them to come out onto the paper?

Just write

Have you been told “Just write” by someone? It’s not that easy, is it? I struggle with writing – it doesn’t come that easy to me. I’ve also heard people say, “I just HAVE to write.” Well, okay, I do, too. That’s why I have this blog, but when it comes to other stuff – like novels – it’s not that easy. I don’t see stories in my head, I don’t envision different worlds… am I a bad writer? Am I … broken?

Writing prompts

I’ve tried writing prompts on a number of occasions. I don’t get anymore out of them than I do with that “just write” bit. Yes, I can sometimes piece together a story, but it’s often not something I feel I can share anywhere. Or it takes on a really weird vibe and I think, “Who would want to read that?

Here’s one:

Imagine a world where sharks can swim in the forest and you are somehow lost in the woods.

What?! So some of you might think, that’s cool! You’d totally write that story. I would not. I wouldn’t even read that story so keep it to yourself. Writing prompts are too often very obscure, weird and made only for speculative fiction writers – of which, I am not. Sharks in the forest. Sheesh, now I’ll have nightmares.

Just write the first line

An addendum to the “just write” Nike-esque theme. I’ve been told this time and again, too. Write the first line, scene, chapter and you’ll build from there. Uh, nope. I have a pretty decent beginning chapter of my YA… alas, it isn’t fitting in with the rest of the story as I go along. It’s probably the best part of the story, but it isn’t the story I want to write. What then? Start a whole new book? Scrap the first chapter all together? “Just write ANOTHER first line, scene, chapter?”

Could I make a book of all first scenes…

As writers, we’re poked and prodded with inane encouragements and prompts, but I think you should just write what’s on your heart. Simply write…(okay a variation of the other) and write what’s in your heart. Maybe it is about sharks in the forest. Maybe it’s about God. Maybe it’s about God attacking sharks in the forest. (Because he would…by not putting them there! Sheesh.) For me, I truly want to write a heartwarming novel about a girl coming of age. I’ve been trying to get it out for more than a year and it just won’t come. Maybe it’s not time yet. Maybe I’m just not a novel writer or I simply don’t have a good enough story.

Perhaps my character is still working it out.

Or, perhaps, this blog is her story.




12 thoughts on “Being a Writer

  1. Hi Sue, I totally agree! Simply write what is in your heart! I think writing prompts are a waste of precious writing time. I have a story to tell but it is not about sharks! Why write about things that you are not passionate about? It is hard enough to find the time, motivation, and inspiration to write about things that matter to you. May God continue to bless your writing efforts for Him. May He give you the words you need to finish your story.

    1. They say it’s to get your creative juices flowing. But I always think, why am I doing this? It’s not usually anything that I can use to send in anywhere and is so not me or my writing, so it seems like a waste of time to me. But I guess it probably gets some people’s juices flowing. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I’ve never had much luck with writing prompts either. Like you say they are usually not the story you want to write and why waste time forcing yourself to writing something you don’t want to. Occasionally it has sparked an idea but nothing more fruitful than that. I hope your novel writing picks up soon, that doubt part is so niggling! I’ve never found a way past it I just start something new. (I’ve never finished a second draft so don’t take that as advice because it’s not the way round it!)

    1. Thanks for your comment. I agree somewhat with Joanne who saya we shouldn’t dump or writing for awhile…but prompts still don’t seem to help me.

  3. I like writing prompts that give me practice with a certain aspect of writing: POV, dialogue, character personality or just practice becoming aware of the world around me. Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine is such a book, and it’s perfect for kids or adults. She says that we should save everything we write for at least 15 years before we even consider tossing it.

  4. I tell stories to myself at night, some go on for weeks but then I get bogged down in details or something else comes to mind and I change the whole story. I wrote a story but keep getting too side tracked with the little details that even I didn’t like it anymore but I still have it just in case I want to pull it out and read and maybe work on it. Yeah if I could get the good parts out of my head without getting distracted by “the shark in the woods” maybe I could manage a story or book that would sell

  5. Sue, I get it. Been there done that. I think you may be expecting perfection immediately. I bet the devotion in the Upper Room went through several revisions. I loved it. Your words went right to my heart. We can t wait to write the perfect story. Working to achieve it takes time and practice. You ll get that novel done,and yes, I m afraid if that first chapter doesn’t work, you ll have to start again. Best wishes!

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