You are ready to start writing now: here is why and how.

You are ready to start writing now
Pen and paper are the basic requirements. Coffee can be a lovely addition. But you are ready to start writing.

Writing is not like other crafts or jobs. There is no qualification requirement, experience level or even age requirement. This is the first reason why you are ready to start writing now.

But we can still feel like we are not ready. I have been there. I did a whole degree because I thought I did not know enough. I thought I would not be taken seriously if I did not have a degree. While my degree contained literature and creative writing it also had anatomy and physiology and literature for children because I liked those modules. 

I did my degree part time so it took me seven years. This also meant I was able to justify putting off my writing by seven years guilt free.

I don’t regret doing it. I enjoyed a lot of it. It showed me that I can do hard things. Such as writing an assignment on James Joyce as I was going into labour. I only wrote half of it and then finished it about four weeks later. There is a definite difference between the start and the end of that essay.

You have everything you need to start writing.

We do not need any official piece of paper to tell us that we are writers. Knowledge helps in certain situations but the most important thing is that we are practising our own writing. 

Thinking we need a piece of paper is caring too much about what other people think. When you are starting, other people don’t matter. You don’t need other people until you want them to buy your book. At that stage you will have had help from professionals such as editors who will help you refine and develop your book.

Six Successful Writers that never studied writing

Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park) has a medical qualification but no writing qualification. He used what he learned during his medical degree for Jurassic Park.

John Grisham (The Firm) has an accounting degree. He has a legal qualification but nothing for writing.

Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse 5) majored in anthropology and had strong views on writers studying literature.

‘I think it can be tremendously refreshing if a creator of literature has something on his mind other than the history of literature so far.’

Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse 5

Danielle Steele (Safe Harbour) studied Literature design and fashion design but nothing specifically about writing.

Maya Angelou’s last time in formal education was when she was 16. Without any prior experience or courses she wrote books, screenplays, film scores and produced, wrote and narrated a documentary series. There is so much more that she achieved. What I have included here is only a fraction.

Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) is a physicist with no qualification in anything for writing. He wrote 11 books, many of which were well known bestsellers.

If you are human and have lived on this planet with the other humans that you want to hopefully one day write your book for then you are qualified to write.

Reasons why you should start writing now

Your story needs to be told. Especially if you are thinking of being a writer you have some urge to know more and learn more which is fine but do not let it stop you from writing.

If you do not like the way school required (or requires if you are still there) you to write then you possibly have unlearning to do. And now it is even more important that you take out your pen and find out what kind of writing you want to write. 

This is where the advice to write for yourself first comes in. And this is how you find out what kind of writer you are. When you write the kind of stories that you want to see more of. Or the style that you really admire and want to read more of. 

Don't wait. Start now.
There is no reason to wait. You are ready to start writing now.

How to start writing now

Start small and learn along the way. Learning by doing is a great way to learn. It helps you figure out which bits are more important to you for the writer you are right now. It can be hard if you are used to being told what to prioritise for an exam or an assignment. Learning for your writing means listening to what your needs are. This is not easy.

Especially if you have been ignoring your needs to please other people. Or if you have been focusing on what you think you ‘should’ be doing. 

A trick you can use if you are still feeling unsure is to tell yourself that you are practising. Or that you are only going to write a paragraph. That is only a couple of sentences. And it does not have to join up with the paragraph that comes after it.

Constantly doing courses can slow down your writing

There are loads of fantastic books and courses that will all help you with your writing. Some are free. Some are very expensive. I have had to bargain with myself to stop spending money on courses and just start writing. It can be so easy to move from course to course writing a little bit each time. It’s lovely busy work because from the outside it looks more productive than just sitting at a desk.

‘How did your writing go today?’

‘It was good. I wrote 500 words.’

For a 9-5 mentality this can sound like very little. So, doing courses is easier to tell people about. When you are doing courses you are less likely to get asked ‘when will the book be finished?’ We are used to the idea that you take a course when you are starting to learn about something. So, if you are doing a course on writing then you are only starting and don’t have to have the answers to all of the questions.

But when there is no teacher you have to figure it out for yourself. And that is a lot harder to do. 

Action Plan

Set a goal – start small because you need to be able to meet it and achieve a success to start with.

Write towards that goal. If you are feeling despondent and/or overwhelmed you need to adjust your goal.

But, start writing. There are no more reasons to delay. Now is your time.

For more writing encouragement sign up to my newsletter so that you don’t miss any new posts. I send out the newsletter every two weeks. So, I won’t be clogging up your inbox. But I will be helping you write.

Check out these other posts for more on the frame of mind to help you write

An unexpected way to improve your writing

How understanding your fears helps your writing

How to overcome your fears around writing

Getting rid of the mindset that prevents you from writing

Benefits of reading as a hobby and why more books need to be written

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