3 Tips on Getting Your Writing Down, and Finally Accepting That You Won’t Be Perfect at First.
Have you ever gotten into those writing moods?
The ones where you’ll oscillate between:
“Wow, I have this cool idea I wanna get down!”
“Nothing is coming out right, and every word is garbage!”
I dunno about you, but I did that a lot when I was younger (and still to this day).
It wasn’t until recently that I realized the issue was (once again) perfectionism.
And that’s part of what I wanna talk about today.
I wanna give you 3 tips on getting your writing down, and finally accepting that you won’t be perfect at first.
Maybe none of this will be new to you, maybe this is your first time hearing these tips.
Either way, I hope they give you a moment to breathe amidst your writing frustrations.
Let’s take a look.
1. Trying to write a book instead of a story.
Have you ever been stuck on the first line of writing a story?
Or do you keep re-writing it while the rest of your story is sitting on the backburner?
That’s something that happened to me a lot when I wrote.
I would try to write a book instead of a story.
What do I mean by that?
Well, I mean I would try to write something that was immediately ready to publish.
I wanted to make the perfect first line, and have the whole story ready to be a book on the first go.
Despite reading about NOT doing that so many times, it didn’t fully hit me until recently.
You aren’t going to make your writing perfect on the first try. A part of writing is re-writing something until it looks how you want it. Or you can’t stand looking at it anymore, whichever comes first.
Don’t start writing something with the mindset of “I need this to be publish-ready.” Because now you’re trying to make your story perfect right off the bat.
When I did this, I would make the goal my start and finish line. Instead, it would be easier to create a starting place by writing anything.
Having a starting place is better than no starting place.
Writing is a process of small step by small step, building and re-building as many times as it takes.
2. You’re going to write crap, and that’s okay.
Again, your writing doesn’t need to be perfect. You’re most likely going to write absolute garbage at many points in your writing career or hobby.
Sometimes you’ll write things with weird pacing or off dialogue.
And that’s perfectly fine.
It’s good to have writing riddled with mistakes. Because regardless, you now have a foundation to start building on or adjust as needed.
Plus, it’s so much easier to start something when it’s partially done.
I know if I had to write an essay for school, I’d rather have it half done and poorly written than one perfect sentence. Hell, that’s how I feel when I write a blog post!
The most important thing is that you start instead of agonizing over if a sentence is good enough. You can make it good enough later, but for now, just have it written and existing.
Another important point is that you don’t even need to write something for publishing (if that’s not your goal).
When you write, it can be because you have this cool idea you want to get down.
Or maybe you wanna try a new technique.
Or you just wanna write something because it’s fun to write.
Not everything you write has to be for anyone but yourself.
If you do want to publish your work on your own terms, just make your own personal blog!
Then no one can tell you if it’s publishable or not.
If you’re looking to improve, you can join writing groups both online and off. But again, you can write things because you want it to exist.
It’s okay to create things without purpose.
3. Date your work, you’ll want to look back.
This isn’t so much a tip on accepting your writing imperfections, it’s more like something I’m glad I did and think everyone should do.
I went through old writing a while ago, and I was surprised when I saw the dates on them.
I didn’t realize how long I’d been writing, or even how much I wrote. I thought it was something I did a couple of times a year and then gave up.
I’m glad to see that I was writing around the time I became interested in it. Rather than never writing while thinking “Wow, I sure do wish I would write more.”
Okay, I still did that, BUT I wrote more than I remembered.
And it’s nice to see how much my writing improved!
If you’re ever feeling down about your current skills in writing, look back at your first attempts at it. You’ll have a much clearer view of how far you’ve come.
You get a small window back into where you were in that small moment of time where ink touched paper.
So the next time you’re writing something (or creating anything really), write down the date you started and finished.
Your future self will thank you.
And those are my 3 tips on getting your writing down, and finally accepting that you won’t be perfect at first.
And I hope you got something out of this, even if it’s only a small reminder.
I’ve struggled a long time with being hyper-critical, to the detriment of my writing (or lack thereof), but I think I’m starting to ease up on that.
So here’s a challenge to you:
Take a moment sometime soon, and write a page of something you’ve been thinking about writing.
It’s fine if that page doesn’t end up well-written, all you need is to have a starting place for your writing.
And a starting place is better than no place.
Thanks for reading, and happy writing!