The First Step Is Actually The Easiest

In my first post I said this blog would be dedicated to writing. Now that you know a little about me, let’s get started with the important stuff. But before we do that, I need to remind everyone of one thing:

I AM NOT AN EXPERT!!!

  • I have zero degrees in any of the fields related to the English language
  • I have never held a position at any sort of establishment related to the publishing industry
  • I haven’t spent years at the same job to gain recognition from my peers, enough to warrant them wanting my insights in writing

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I’m sure some of you are now wondering why you should keep reading this. Why should you continue wasting your time on someone who can clearly give you no new insight? The answer is quite simply: you don’t have to. I’m not trying to impress anyone here. I won’t pretend to be more than I am. I am simply a man who had an idea and ran with it. I had a story to tell, one I wished to share with the world. It just so happens most that read it enjoyed it immensely. So I must have done something right. You don’t need a bunch of credentials to make it as a novelist. That is a belief I hold on to, even if fame and fortune and I haven’t met yet. But that little “set back” doesn’t change this basic fact. All you need is an affinity for the English language. And even if you don’t have that there are ways around it.

The first thing an aspiring author must do is write. It doesn’t matter if they want to be a blogger, a poet, a novelist, a journalist, a screenwriter, or whatever else their hearts desire. The basics are all the same, no matter what the context or genre your writing will fall into. In order to improve your writing, one must write. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you do it.

Just like in sports, you need to start small and gradually build up to the level you wish to achieve. I don’t think there is a novelist out there that hasn’t written something a lot smaller before they attempted their grand opus. When I was younger, the usual medium was a personal journal, painstakingly written with archaic devices called pen and paper. I’m sure every adult remembers sitting in English class, forced to put down their thoughts on a daily or weekly basis.

Nowadays, I see the younger generation eager to share every thought and feeling. With the emergence of social networking and blogging, there are a lot of people broadcasting how good or bad their day is going, how their romantic relationship is faring, how much they want their friends to come join them in playing some addictive game. Though I feel this sharing of every single mundane minute of one’s day is excessive and unnecessary, I can’t deny the benefits. Firstly, he or she is constantly improving his or her typing skill. That will make it easier for the fingers to keep up with the racing ideas we authors usually have to contend with. Secondly, he or she must work to convey to others what he or she is feeling. A rant is quite disappointing if no one can tell just how pissed off you really are.

Okay, I’m sure a lot of you are shaking your heads right now. I know you are all thinking of those incoherent posts filled with spelling errors and absolutely no attempt at grammatical accuracy. And we can’t forget all the acronyms being used to make things easier for those not willing to make the effort anymore (lol, omg, ttyl, rofl, tmi…). I have seen them too and shake my head in dismay every time I try to decipher their messages. I can usually make them out, but it just adds more effort on my part I would rather avoid.

So, for the purpose of this post, I’ll be ignoring this vast majority of today’s youth. They won’t be the ones with aspirations to write the next New York Times Bestseller. And if they are, they can keep texting their friends in whatever fashion they like, but I strongly recommend the long-hand form of writing in their more serious endeavors. The more you use real words, the easier they will come to you when you need them.

Start with journal entries, poems, lyrics, whatever you feel like writing. Feel free to rant as you would on Facebook, but try to elaborate so it’s more than one sentence. It might even be therapeutic. Before and while I was writing Knightfall, I actually did this very thing. I was part of something called an e-federation. I had a weekly deadline to submit short stories, as well as a number of forum posts. I was getting a lot of writing done and it helped me quite a bit with character and plot development. But this story will have to wait for another post.

The bottom line is: you must write to be a writer. As the title plainly states, it’s that easy. Don’t worry how coherent your thoughts are, that’s not what you need to focus on at this point. Just get the feel of putting words together. You’ll tackle making everything make sense later. That’s exactly how all the professionals work, no matter now many credentials they have or how long they have been putting words on paper or on screens (so I have read). Focus on quantity at this point, not quality. Trust me, the more you strive to put sentences together, the easier it will become.

Go take the first step and jot down your thoughts.

Hell, you can start by telling me what you think about this post.

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~ by Marc Labelle on September 11, 2012.

One Response to “The First Step Is Actually The Easiest”

  1. […] my previous post, The First Step Is Actually The Easiest, I mentioned I was part of something called an “e-federation”. To be more specific, it […]

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