When we first start out as writers, there are plenty of valuable lessons we need to learn. These include rejection, criticism and continually practicing our craft; however I think one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt since I started writing is getting my ideas down on paper.
I first started writing during my teenage years when I was in High School. During those early years, I was like an addict. Story ideas would appear and I felt the need to write the whole thing in its entirety in novel form, until the excitement fizzled out and I was onto the next ‘high’ (hardly surprising). Sometimes when an idea appeared, I didn’t write it down, foolishly believing that I would remember it. Sometimes I did, but others disappeared completely.
Ideas for stories can tend to turn up when we least expect it, making it difficult to get pen and paper (really, what is it about having a shower?) Other times, we can be scrambling to get just one little spark of an idea, which is lovingly referred to as writer’s block.
The interesting thing is that the more you write, the more ideas you tend to come up with (perhaps this is why some famous authors don’t believe in writer’s block). It’s getting them written down that can become an issue. Some authors have pens and notebooks scattered throughout their house and in their handbag for whenever an idea strikes. Over the years, I have learnt to use a similar tactic – grab a pen and paper quick sticks and write the idea down and make sure it makes some kind of sense for when you go over it.
In order for us to write, either fiction or non-fiction, we need ideas and plenty of them if we really want to succeed as writers. Of-course life would be a bit simpler if we had one of Dumbledore’s pensieves!
What is one valuable lesson you’ve learnt since you started writing? Do you have trouble coming up with ideas? How do you get your ideas down? Do you get ideas when you’re in the bath/shower and find that particularly annoying?
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18 thoughts on “What Valuable Lesson Have You Learnt Since You Started Writing?”
I have a mess of notebooks, and for me it’s about not allowing my penmanship to slip into the realm of illegible, because I tend to do that. 🙂
Hi Raimey. I also have a collection of papers and notebooks, which I refer to as my ‘organised mess’. I try to make my notes legible, otherwise I just sit there scratching my head! 😉
Dumbledore’s pensieve would be an awesome birthday present 😉 A few years ago an idea struck at a party and I wrote it down on napkins and stuffed it into my ridiculously small clutch… it turned into a lovely series since then. And I’ve bought tiny notebooks that fit into my tiny formal clutches 😉
Hi Ronel. Good on you for writing your idea down and that it became a series. Ideas sure do come up when we least expect it! I love the sound of those tiny notebooks – I might have to get one myself. 😉
I totally agree that the more we write the more ideas we get! They seem to spin off each other and multiply when you least except it! So much fun 🙂
Just another reason to keep on writing! Next we’ll be complaining that we have so many ideas we don’t have enough time to write them all! 😉
I have a file full of ideas. It is getting the time to develop them or feeling like I can. Great post.
‘ Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit
I have the same problem – it seems to be either no ideas or too many that’s the issue! Thanks for stopping by Juneta and being a moderator this month. 🙂
A lot of good ideas come to me when I’m trying to fall asleep. I keep getting up, turning the lights on, and scribbling something down on a piece of scrap paper. Then as soon as the lights are off and I’m back in bed, I get another idea and have to get up again.
It’s super annoying, though I guess it’s better than having it happen in the shower. Paper and water don’t play well together.
Yes! I have this problem as well, although when I’m about to go to sleep I don’t always act upon writing ideas down. I don’t know how it works, but sometimes when I go to bed the following night, the idea comes back to me and then I write it down. There must be something about our brains when we’re relaxing, which is why it’s a good idea to ‘get away from it all’ sometimes. Thanks for stopping by – it’s good to meet you. 🙂
My journal on my iPad has become my trusty companion. I know I have to jot down things right away or I will forget them. ´Good article.
Pat G at Everything Must Change
Using the ipad to take notes sounds like a good idea. I’ve never tried that, but writing ideas down any way you can is the main thing! I’m glad it works for you Patricia. 🙂
I don’t know how many times I failed to learn to write down my ideas, because no matter how awesome and memorable they seemed at the time, I never remember them!!
I used to do that a lot. I used to think the ideas were so good how could I possibly forget? Talk about learning the hard way! 😉
Ideas have never been an issue for me. I tend to jot them down, and later I add them to either my big list (full of ideas that could be the heart of a story), and my small ideas (which might help to fill in a hole or round out a big idea).
I would say one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while writing is the idea that it’s not about writing one great story, it’s about writing lots of stories, and some of them will be great. I think when I first started out I felt that I should pick my strongest ideas and try to turn them into masterpieces. I still struggle a little with it, but lately I’ve become more comfortable writing a piece, putting in a little effort, and then recognizing that it’s time to move on to the next one.
I would have to agree it’s not about writing one great story. I think writers have become accustomed to hearing about writing the ‘great American novel’ (or Australian novel as is my case). That’s fine if you have one story to tell, but most of us have more than one. It’s a matter of working out which ideas speak to us the most and some will work out better than others.
Mmm. I also think there’s that issue of writing a story strong enough to break through the barriers and become a known author, but I’ve come to believe that we often learn more by writing numerous stories, rather than polishing a few. One panelist actually said that one of the lessons is how to become less attached to any one story, and by extension be less troubled by rejection because we’re less invested in any one story, other than the one we’re working on, of course.
Absolutely! We learn more by writing lots of stories, not only for having a backlog, but also to improve our craft and our voice. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy writing short stories. 🙂
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