One of the best ways to practice writing is to write stories. Even if you primarily write nonfiction or poetry, you should try your hand at short stories. No matter what you’re writing, your job is to tell a story.
In Zen and the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury recommends writing one story per week. As he says, “nobody can write 52 bad stories.” If you write enough of them, you will eventually write a good one. And you’ll learn a lot along the way.
You know a good story when you see one. Think about your friends. Who tells…
We’re well on our way through January — which means you may be a few weeks into your “New Years Resolution.” It’s a natural urge to reflect on a new year and makes plans for things to be different.
Unfortunately, most people find it difficult to sustain their resolutions. In fact, we’re at that point now where most people quit — the majority of resolutions are abandoned by January 19; 80% stop by the second week of February.
If you made a resolution to write more this year, I want you to succeed. I want you to be part of…
The shutdown in March provided the perfect opportunity. For a few years, I had wanted to start a blog but had struggled to get it off the ground. All of a sudden, I had more time on my hands — and fewer excuses. I couldn’t go out and live my everyday life.
Why not stay inside and write?
I wrote my first few articles and published them on Medium, right here in The Writing Cooperative. And then I was off, posting more and more with each passing month. …
To succeed as a writer, you need to write consistently over a long period. Preferably, you should be writing every day. One of the most challenging things about going from a fledgling (or wannabe) writer to a professional one is carving out the time and space to write every day.
Life is busy. You have a million things you need to do. You have a full-time job. People who rely on you. Errands to run. Where do you find the time to write? Sure, you may be able to set aside an hour or two on the weekends, but every…
In the 21st century, creativity is the number one skill. We’re riding on a wave of new products, new technologies, new ways of doing things — and it’s not slowing down; in fact, it’s only getting started. Those who can creatively take advantage of these opportunities will be the ones who succeed.
Creativity, though, is a hard thing to capture. It’s like lightning. You have two problems: how to capture it and use it effectively; and how to produce it consistently.
Last year, I took a writing class at a local writing loft. It was a beginner’s class, and you could feel the nervous atmosphere — most of the people there were not accustomed to sharing their writing, and their discomfort of the process was evident.
A young woman shared a personal piece about her husband’s death — it was beautiful, elegant. There was a moment of silence after she finished. Everyone in the group needed to process her words. One of our classmates had a question for the woman who had just shared her work — “are you a writer?”
Jealousy is a powerful emotion. It’s often destructive — it contaminates your heart and soul and makes it impossible to enjoy anything in your life. In Othello, Shakespeare writes of jealousy:
“But jealous souls will not be answered so.
They are not ever jealous for the cause,
But jealous for they’re jealous. It is a monster
Begot upon itself, born on itself.”
Jealousy summons a whole host of negative emotions in its wake. It hijacks your thoughts and carries them into dangerous places. …
Writing is hard work. Some days the writing flows, but others — it feels like torture to get even a little trickle out. I have found that by working consistently, I can eke out even a few words every day. Usually, just by starting — no matter how hard it feels — I can loosen my mind, and with time, the words will flow again.
I come back to a few tricks to help. Many of these I picked up from other writers. …
I write all my first drafts by hand. I also journal every morning — by hand. I attribute both of these approaches to my writing success: I consistently write 1.5–2k words per day.
This habit may seem charmingly old-fashioned in our digitized age. We have laptops, smartphones, desktop computers. For years now, typing has replaced the ancient art of writing-by-hand.
While typing is faster and more convenient, something is lost in the process. We lose a connection to our physical bodies. We type too fast, which does not allow our subconscious brain to catch up and redirect our conscious mind.
For many years, I considered myself a writer, but I never wrote. ‘Someday,’ I told myself, ‘I will write down everything, and I will become a famous writer.’
For some reason, I held onto this thought despite no evidence for it. Why do only writers seem afflicted by this particular kind of madness? Nobody thinks of themselves a plumber unless they actually fix toilets and broken sinks. Nobody would hire an accountant who didn’t know how to work with numbers.
But with writers — writing every day is an obstacle: a perennial rock dropped into their river of creativity.