Writing in general is one of those things in life that is both hard and easy at the same time. But, if a person can master a system that works for them, they are near unstoppable.
While I love writing my stories and enjoy them all for their reasons, getting myself to sit down in front of either my laptop or wielding a pen and paper is hard to do some times.
Some of the things that make writing hard is not knowing whether or not your stuff is good. I’ve tried to get help and support with this from people and it just doesn’t seem to work out. I don’t know the excuses nor do I need to know.
So how does one write good stuff when you don’t know whether or not what your writing is even good to begin with?
This is a valid question and one that I struggled with for a while.
Here is how I found my answer to that.
I just wrote about different stuff until something finally ‘clicked’.
Not only will you find what you enjoy writing this way, but, you will also be able to explore different styles of writing as well.
I had no idea that flash fiction was considered a category in writing. I love writing flash fiction stories. They rank up there with short stories with me. What I love about the flash fiction is the word count limit that is placed on them. Try writing a story that makes sense and gives you an idea of what is going on in under 500 words and you will quickly see the word count number sky rocket! (At this point in this article I’m sitting at 292 words to give you an idea.)
I don’t remember how I came across the flash fiction but I started reading the stories and said to myself, “I can do this.” I wrote my first flash fiction story and had my wife read it and she was thrilled with it. Off the top of my head I can remember one about an off-duty firefighter racing into a burning building and another story about Alzheimer’s disease which is scheduled to appear in a magazine.
So write the story and let people read it. You will be surprised by the results.
Another struggle people face is editing their works.
This is a very simple fix: Head over to Fiverr and find an editor to work with. $5 for an editor to go over your stuff is a steal!
I don’t know what to write about.
Here is three methods that I use. One is my method and another is someone else’s.
Method #1 for writing.
You did this in school and probably hated it or didn’t understand it. (This was me!)
How it works is on a single piece of paper, put down your main idea down in the middle of the paper and draw a circle around it. Time yourself for 1 minute or 60 seconds which ever you prefer, and write everything that comes to mind about the main idea.
Once the time is up pick certain things that work together to form an idea for your story or article and go for it.
Method #2 for writing that comes from photographer Brooke Shaden.
Use a paper and divide it up in halves.
Use these categories, one per half page:
Time (1800’s, future, present times)
Location (Earth, space ship, speck of dust, slaughter house)
Colors (Blue, green, pink, orange)
Genre (Mystery, suspense, thriller, romance)
Character quirks (stutter, kleptomaniac, insomnia, narcissism)
What is apparent with antagonist/protagonist (Truthful vs. lies, virtuous vs. devious, basically what your hero is the villain needs to be the polar opposite.)
Now do basically what you did with the brainstorming method for each of these categories and when you have completed all of them, go back and pick one thing out of each category. This will give you all the bones of the story needed to get started.
Using the above examples would give me this result: In the 1800’s, slaughter houses were the real money-makers of the day. The evening sun sets into brilliant pinks and oranges as a young couple sit upon the warm rocks outside of town waiting for family members to come in for the festival. What they don’t know is the heinous murder being committed. A young boy with insomnia is the sole witness and even he is unsure about what he heard that evening. Did he hear someone with a stutter? Or was it the last gurgle of life escaping the victim’s throat?
See how simple coming up with a story idea can be with this method? I have a time frame with major colors to play with and character quirks to elaborate on and the makings of a very good mystery.
Method #3 for writing.
This is my preferred method as it is the easiest for me and the most fun as well.
Think of a single word or sentence or character trait and start writing.
Here is my example:
Flowers (Keyword for my thought process. I took this word and started writing and this is the story I got without pre-thinking anything else out.)
The man was having a rough day at work as usual. The boss was riding his case about getting the project done by Friday’s presentation schedule and he was far from done.
He had stayed as late as he thought possible without jeopardizing his relationship with his wife each day this week and tonight was the point of making or breaking one or the other. It was their anniversary of 4 years of marriage.
He wanted to be able to provide for his wife by getting this new job but completely underestimated the amount of time it would consume. She had warned him of the possibility of it, but, being a man that he was, he ignored it.
Thinking to himself as he looked at his watch, “Ten till 5. If I hurry now, I might be able to make it.” Grabbing his stuff and flying out the door, the man raced with all haste to the store.
As he burst through the door of the store he shouted, “I need flowers for my wife! What do you have?”
The shop owner looked at him and asked with a suspecting smile, “Are you in trouble?”
“Not this time.”
These are just some examples that I came up with to help you with your writing. But don’t think that this covers all because this doesn’t even come close. There is a whole world out there just waiting to be discovered by you.
Pick up pen and write. Good, bad or ugly; just write.