We all have out different reasons for starting to write and then developing ourselves into writers. I’ve always said to students and workshop participants, a writer is someone who writes. They don’t just talk about it, dream about it, intend to do it, they do it, and through the doing they become. Writing is not something that happens ‘in theory’. I still believe this. Writers write. But perhaps there could be other elements to being a writer? Writers seek to develop their writing. Writers read. Writers get together with other writers to learn from each other. Writers are interested in the reader. Maybe these all interweave in one way or another to create a writer.
What’s for sure is that all writers find their own process. I tend to write to discover: something about myself; about my characters; about my plot. I’m not a great planner. I like to set off and see where the narrative will lead. I also write regularly. This is something I encourage others to do. I have a writing journal and I write in it almost every day. This is not a diary – someone reading it (though, in reality, it is not for anyone else to read) would get a very strange idea of what my life is like – however, I may write about things that I have done, found or been inspired by. My journal is a place for me to flex my writing muscles, keep them toned. Some of what goes in there may get crafted into a piece I will share with an audience, but not all.
I don’t know whether it is because of my writing journal, but I never lack for ideas. I am always very surprised when I meet a writer who says they run short of ideas of what to write about. I had always thought within the definition of being a writer, is the capacity to generate ideas. I certainly don’t have a problem. My block comes when I begin to imagine the audience, this can paralyse me with shame and feelings of ‘not being good enough’. We all have our own boulders to trip over.
The idea of this new seven-part thread on my blog is to encourage writers to find their own ways of generating ideas.
Tip #1: get a writing journal – a notebook, preferably without lines – which is only used for your creative writing. And start jotting in it, every day or every other day, for ten minutes.
You’ll be surprised how it builds up.
What do you think defines a writer? Any tips for generating ideas?
Great idea for a series, Kate, but, like you, I’m surprised by people who don’t know what to write about. Sometimes it’s more about identifying what NOT to write about.
Thanks for stopping by Anne. Yes, I agree, perhaps the talent comes in knowing what ideas will develop and what won’t. I’m currently doing the Curtis Brown on-line novel writing course and the advice from the tutor is to cut down on my ideas and focus on two… I’m giving it a whirl.
Hi Kate, I do believe every writer is unique in their own way depending on what drives them. But I also agree that as a writer, having a writing journal is a step up and a sure way of having your ideas all in one place. I also think such journals should be in the format that the writer is comfortable with and easily assessable.
As for idea generation, everyday life experiences provide me with ideas daily, especially if I keep an open mind. Maybe others can give it a try.
Thanks a lot Kate. Keep up the great work.
Thanks Kip. Yes, indeed, it’s important for every writer to find their own way…