Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just write something - anything!

We all have great story ideas, words we want to get from our heads to our hands to the screens in front of us. But too many times, they never make it.

"I'm just not a writer," we say, shaking our heads. Or, "I wouldn't know how to begin." Sometimes, we get so close - we actually sit down, pencil and notebook in hand or laptop at the ready, and we ... stop. Those ideas? They stay just that - ideas. And regretfully, they never go any further.

I want to share with you what a clever editor once told me. She said, "Write something. Anything. Even if it's bad. Because if it's not down on paper, you can't fix it."

Her words have helped me dozens of times. I have written absolutely cringe-worthy leads. I've started stories with cliches. I've rifled through my notes, hemmed and hawed, and finally just picked a place to start. But once I had something down on paper, I could start editing. I could fix things. I could change a verb, add an adjective, take out some silly melodrama. I could write.

Not everybody is a terrific writer, not right off the bat. But we all have great ideas. And you get better at writing by reading great writing, and then creating some of your own. Don't let your great ideas go to waste. Put them down on paper - and then worry about the tough stuff.

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