Getting Started With Writing — The Unprofessional Guide

In the animation film Ratatouille, what caught my attention was the title of Gusteau’s Cooking Book.

“Anyone can cook.”

I believe that goes the same with writing. “Anyone can write.”

And just like any other activity or skill, getting started is always the most difficult part. Waking up in the morning, it’s almost impossible to part with the comfort of your bed and pillows. But still we urge ourselves to get up in order to fulfill our daily responsibilities.

So, how to get started with your writing?

1. Find your writing identity.

Who are you as a writer? What do you want to write about? Who’s your target audience?

A writer should know from the beginning who he/she is writing for. Is it for children? Students? Young adults? Adults?

Start finding your identity by identifying your viewpoint. Who is telling the story?

There are four viewpoints that a writer can use:

First Person

This refers to the main character’s point of view. The writer uses the pronouns, “I”, “me”, “my” and “mine” in relaying the scenarios. This allows the reader to get into the main character’s head, bringing the reader closer to the writer.

Second Person

This is a form of writing in which the viewpoint of a narrative work is told in the voice of the onlooker, which is the reader. This viewpoint is a little bit complicated to incorporate, which is why it’s rarely used in fiction because of its difficulty level. This uses the pronoun, “you”, referring to the reader.

Third Person

Writing in third person is writing from an outsider’s point of view, an outsider looking in. It’s following the characters and narrative arcs, zooming in and out the way a camera does in a movie.

Universal Viewpoint

This is a general viewpoint that doesn’t belong to anyone. Some confuse this with the Third Person Viewpoint, since both uses pronouns like “he” or “she”. However, as the Third Person tries to take you inside the characters’ minds, the Universal Viewpoint only watches from the outside.

2. Build your habits.

There are two types of writers. The first is The Organized, a writer who allocates a number of hours per day for his or her writing. The second is The Burst, a writer who writes in bulk or in bursts whenever he or she feels like — an all or nothing type of writer.

To be able to get your writing to the starting point, draft a timetable for you to follow. It takes more than just time and effort to write, it also demands discipline.

3. Get a scribble pad or notebook.

Most, if not all, get their inspiration from what they see or experience. Like seeing a couple walking hand in hand on the streets, a nervous boy’s first time to ask a girl out, a young girl’s first trip to the grocery with her grandma — these are moments that are worth noting down, moments you can add to your stories. And, you can write the exact feeling you had when you witnessed these scenarios.

You don’t necessarily have to buy a notebook for your scribbles and notes, you could use your phone which you carry every single time.

These real-life scenarios you witness will bring more depth and feeling to your writing.

4. It’s you, your culture and your story.

Some authors love to incorporate themselves into the characters of their stories. Their experiences, likes, dislikes, habits and even weird fetishes are embodied in their literary pieces. This is how writers mark their works, like fingerprints or DNA left on a crime scene. Writers leave bits of themselves and bury these into their narrative arcs, allowing the reader to get to know the author more.

Our culture plays a big role in our writing. Not everyone knows the stories of our town, the myths our grandparents have passed down, and the festivals we constantly enjoy — these can be sources of inspiration to build one’s mood and theme for a story.

5. Engage in cultural myths and legends.

For starters, some writers do retellings before making their own stories as practice. Retellings are existing stories told or written with your own twists and revisions. I personally think it’s a great start for the plot’s already been fixed, and the only thing you need to do is to make it your own. Add your feel, tell the story in your words.

Get to know more about your country’s or town’s myths and legends. Start retelling those in your own words as practice. And maybe one day, you’ll be able to create your very own legend.

6. Never delete or get rid of unfinished works.

Writers often experience a writer’s block. And that’s okay, it’s normal. A friend once told me, whenever you get a block, take a pause and read. Read books, stories or articles that could refresh your mind and fill your head with ideas. This doesn’t mean copying other writers’ thoughts, but using their works as inspiration for you to continue.

Do lots and lots of writing. Do practice. And whenever you can’t finish, don’t delete your work. One day you might have the urge to revisit and continue. So, never delete your writings nor throw away your ideas. Your works pieces of your mind.

Keep creating, keep writing.

Once again, “Anyone can write.”

5 thoughts on “Getting Started With Writing — The Unprofessional Guide

  1. Love the idea that anyone can write. It can be applied to anything, such as ‘anyone can dance’. It helps remind yourself that it’s possible to do anything, and that you just need to do it enough so that you can finally not suck at it.

    Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, glad my post sparked your interest. Thank you so much! And yes, I believe anyone can do anything. The start’s just the most difficult part but once you get past that, you’re gonna be fine. :))


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