Do you want to call yourself a Writer?
Writers tend to be swathed in mystery and have a special status. And our own self doubt can appear like a critical voice saying with scorn “Call yourself a writer? I don’t think so.”
Whether you write on your blog, a novel or a deep psychological study doesn’t matter. If you are writing you are a writer.
We often put writing at the bottom of a To Do list. We know it is important for our business, for our message, and to make a greater impact but we fail to make it a priority.
The best idea is to block out time to be with your thoughts and enjoy the time you just write down ideas, and make it part of the rhythm of your life. Many writers start the day with writing because they are fresher and more alive first thing. Others like to have a weekend once a month to shut the door and write, and others take a longer block of time to get away from everything. What works for you?
A Writing Challenge creates a deadline
Another approach is to respond to a deadline which imposes its own urgency and means that writing does get to the top of the To Do list even if there are competing activities.
At Attract Readers Ute and I run writing challenges to acknowledge International Women’s Day. We work with women who have businesses or big ideas as well as families so they don’t have a lot of free time. A Writing Challenge is the golden opportunity to make the time to write as there is a deadline, and you sign up so you promise to take action. You are unlikely to want to let somebody else down so it helps you to be accountable. So often we keep our promises to others and can break them to ourselves.
Read more to be a Writer
The other way to get yourself to write more is to read more. What with Netflicks, facebook and the rest as well as email you may find it difficult to take the time to read a long book. It is a rare occurrence to see many people reading books on a train any more – especially a commuter train. And although kindle can be read on a phone, I have noticed more people listening to music or talking to others than reading.
“If you want to be a writer .. read a lot and write a lot”. Stephen King.
But notice what you are drawn to reading. Ask yourself why you opened that email, or what made you look at that Instagram story?
It was probably a combination of
- the person it was from,
- the subject matter which already interests you,
- or something that made you curious to know more.
Do you know and trust the writer? Is it about a subject that already interests you? Or does it just look entertaining, or have an element of curiosity which made you want to read more>
How can reading help me to write more?
Think back to the last novel you read. Even if it was historical fiction, chick lit or escapist fantasy. Was there a character you liked? Someone you wanted to find happiness, or the gold at the end of the rainbow? Or were they looking for some self awareness or peace? Think about the qualities of that character and why they interested you.
When you write you can be that kind of character for your readers. Especially on your blog when you tell stories of what has happened to you and the learning or results that came to you. You can tell about other people and what they did that got them the result they were hoping for. Stories are such a powerful way to convey a message and when you read a story for pleasure you will probably have some clear responses to the characters.
So don’t feel guilty if you want to curl up with a good novel. But when you have finished think through what appealed to you and whether there are qualities you could incorporate in your own writing.
Support others’ writing by Reading
In our International Women’s Day Challenges it is the quality of response to the posts that is most gratifying to writers. All the contributors read each others’ posts in a spirit of support and encouragement. All writers benefit from encouragement! Last year one person wrote about a very technical subject and received enthusiastic comments. In fact it gave her the confidence to speak up more and present on stage a few months later.
But you receive, too by commenting on someone else’s post. You notice what you liked, and what might not have worked so well. You can take your own writing forward with more confidence.
Writing is rather like breathing. We breathe in and out, not just one way. Writing and reading are part of the same process.