At one point or another in our lives, we’ve all wished we knew how to write like Shakespeare. Whether it’s that “Happy Birthday” message or that idea of a novel we have in our mind. It may have been that academic essay or that special love letter. Something at one point in our lives made us wish we have that special touch from the heavens that would birth eloquence and elegance in our writings.
For many years, writing has been seen as a gift from the gods, and those lucky enough to possess such gifts are exalted as heroes among mere mortals. When asked about their works, these writers also make it seem like a dreadful experience. We are primed to believe that writing is a very difficult task done only by a special few from a very young age. That may be the biggest lie we’ve passed down from generations to generations. Writing is simply a craft. Just as no one is born with carpentry skills, no one has ever been born with writing skill. It is learned. With the right tools, anyone can learn to perform this craft.
To perform a craft, you’ll need a guidebook and tools, but most importantly you must wish to perform the task. This article may serve as your guidebook, but what’ll make you read past this point is your zeal to learn. In this article, we’ll help you let go of your biggest hindrance, which happens to be your internalized fear of writing.
Our fear of writing is born from the belief that our writing isn’t worth reading. This also stems from the belief that writing is a gift that is given. Since most people have Impostor Syndrome, which refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be, most of us never really feel like we have the gift of writing. Writing like any other craft is perfected by practice. But because we fear that we do not have this gift of writing, we try as much as possible to avoid embarrassments. However, the good news is that nobody knows what they are doing. Even the most experienced writers, don’t have any real idea where the words come from.
When I learned to ride a bike, I crashed so many times and even scraped my knees a couple of times. This was enough to make me give up thinking I’m not one of the few with the gift of riding bikes. But my excitement to ride a bike knew no bounds. I picked my self up every time I fell, ready to go again. Today I can still ride a bike because I kept practising.
Embarrassment? Reframe it. It’s not fatal. It’s momentary. And unless you’re the president, don’t worry about it. Nobody will remember tomorrow. Or maybe next week they’ll forget. Press on and straighten your shirt. People will take you seriously when you’re serious about growing.Frank McKinley, Medium.
Now that you’ve seen your fear of writing, it’s time face that fear head on. With guide, every craft can be learned by anybody. You are enough. The first step to learn how to write like a pro, is to write.
1. Just Write.
The first step to writing like a pro is writing. Unless you write, you’ll never learn how to write. We’ll also find an excuse for not doing what we subconsciously do not want to do. Since most of us have an internalized fear of writing, we try as much as possible to avoid writing. We create excuses and patterns to avoid writing. Most of the time, we are not conscious of this. That’s why your first step is to break those patterns by challenging your self to write. It may be awkward, it may be uncomfortable, but it’s all part of the process. I never enjoyed scrapping my knees. It was horrible. But I wanted to ride that fancy bike so bad.
Pick up your pen or laptop and just write. Write what you feel, write what you don’t feel, write what you want to feel, write anything. Just Write.
2. Master The Art of Theft.
“Art is theft” Pablo Picasso. Even the bible says “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) As the French writer Andre Gide said “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
If we can free ourselves from the shackles of being completely original, we can stop trying to create something out of nothing. Then we can embrace the power of influence. Everything on earth is birthed from something. That is a universal principle. The German writer Goethe said, “we are shaped and fashioned by what we love” as a writer, you’ll have to steal from what inspires you. Devour old movies, new movies, music, books, paintings, photograph, poems, conversations, children books, etc. Steal only from things that speak to your soul.
Steal from as much place as possible and if you do this, your work will be authentic. A good thief always gives credit to the works they steal from. A good thief also never steals from just one place. They make sure to steal from as many places as possible, that way their work seems original. A good thief does not plagiarize, they take different Ideas, then work on them to create their own. Also, good thieves never fail to cite the reference. Look for things worth stealing, and consume them extensively. Try to understand the critical thinking behind them, get as deep as possible into the works. Make whatever you want with them, they are at your disposal.
3. Write what you want to read.
Have you ever read a novel and after finishing it, you wish it ended a certain way. Or have you ever watched a movie where you had to wait for its sequel? At this point, we have a lot of ideas racing through our minds of how we’d want the story to go. A good step towards writing like a pro is by writing those things which you’ll love to read. Allow the things you love to inspire your works. When you follow this steps, you’ll notice ideas flow through you naturally.
4. Read Extensively.
A bad thief skims through the works of other people, then steals the words without understanding. However, it is your job as a master of theft to read what you want to steal extensively. Consume yourself in the works you plan to steal from. Understand the thinking behind the ideas. Since nothing in this world is new, then even the work you plan to steal from was stolen from somewhere else. Therefore, go as far as possible in the family tree.
Extensive reading is important because it broadens your knowledge of a subject. And it is true that you can only write about what you know. Surround your self with books, unleash the curiosity of your inner child. Let it lead you to find treasures worth stealing.
4. Write about what you are afraid to write.
We all have some ideas that we think, is going too far, fearing that people may not understand us. We fear it may be seen as controversial, or boring or whatever the case may be. It is important to always write such ideas. They are people out there that’ll relate. Because it is true that “There’s nothing new under the sun” even ideas travel through the minds of different people. There are people out there hoping someone can bring these ideas to life
Go on, write that thing you are afraid of writing. Don’t worry about how people perceive it. Besides, it’s not in your power to control. You can only do your best.
5. Keep Writing.
Consistency is the mother of succesAgain you can only be get at a craft by practicing. Thus to be a pro, you’ll have to keep writing. Moreover this is the most important step. No matter how bad your writings seem, just keep writing. Because it get better with time.
These steps are enough to help you become a better writer. However only you can make sure you become a pro.
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