One beautiful thing about the written word is how it connects us and brings us all together. It creates this incredible bond, and, for writers, it gives us an escape and a way to flood our passion onto waves of empty pages. For me, I have always felt called to write in one way or another. But what I found was it can be difficult and even scary just to start writing. I think that this is a common fear: the fear of where to begin, of how to connect with people, and of how to grow as a successful writer.
I wanted this post to be a source of hope and motivation for anybody who is just getting started as a writer or poet. It’s okay. We’ve all been there. You are not alone in the myriad of emotions I’m sure you are feeling as you consider how to begin your writing journey. Each writer will have slightly different paths and stories, but I have found that there are some universal guidelines that we can all learn from as we embark on our writing journey. I hope some of these tips will help embolden you to take that first step into your unique story.
Write. Just Write.
I know this sounds obvious and simple, but hear me out. A writer’s biggest contribution to the world is content. And writing should be your first goal. It is easy to start feeling overwhelmed by the idea of finding a way to get published, creating a social media platform, or building a large audience. Those things are important as well, but you need to start at square one. Write. Write often. Don’t discriminate. Let the thoughts and brainstorming spill onto the page even if it doesn’t seem to make sense yet. Start writing the poem even if you’re not sure how to end it. Some of your best work may start as random thoughts scribbled into your notebook. It may spark ideas for you later on. Don’t underestimate the power of writing to fuel better writing in the future. Just write.
Write with Intention
This is a little different than just writing. It requires that you have a basic idea of what you want to say as a poet or writer. It is an important piece of advice because when you are first starting out, it can be tempting to try and look at what is popular and to find ways to mimic that. In a world of social media, sometimes it can feel overwhelming and challenging to develop your own voice, but I promise you it is worth it. Write from the heart. Write things you are proud of. Write things that you feel represent the kind of content you want to put out into the world. Don’t write for likes. Write for substance, for soul.
Consistency and Hard Work Matter
One of the hardest things when first starting out is building an audience. It can be so challenging to build influential social media pages, and I think we often try and find ways to speed up this part of the process. But the truth is, the only long-term answer is consistency. Post content daily. Post content that you believe in. There is no short-cut to building a following that lasts. It may take more time, but it is worth it when you nurture an audience that deeply likes what you have to say and will be loyal to your voice. Don’t lose sight of the importance of connecting with your readers. They can be your biggest fans and supporters.
Rejection Will Come, But So Will Opportunity If You Keep Going
So, you may have been rejected from a few publishers or publications. You may have had a hard time getting exposure for your work. Consider this a rite of passage. Every writer experiences a myriad of rejections in their life. But it truly can help you become stronger at your craft. Take constructive criticism and grow from it. Learn to let go of harsh and unproductive critiques. And, above all else. Keep going. Keep writing. Keep posting your content to your pages. Keep submitting your work and keep dreaming. Opportunities are out there, they may just take some time to surface
The last word of advice is something I still tell myself often: be brave. Writing can be an extremely vulnerable occupation. We often spill our hearts out and display them for the world to see. Some people will respond so beautifully to this. Some people will not. Don’t let the negative responses or reviews from the few keep you from putting yourself out there. I know that it’s scary. Sometimes, when I write something more personal, I have to do deep breathing exercises when I press publish because I am so nervous about how it will be received. But that can often go with the territory.
What I always try to remember is my “why.” Why did I start writing? Why am I doing this? If your “why” is similar to mine, it may have something to do with wanting to connect with people. It may have something to do with wanting to shed light on the darker things that we all experience or to express the myriad of emotions we all face in our everyday lives. Reconnect with your “why” whenever you feel scared or unsure about where this writing journey may lead. It will often shed some much-needed light on the path ahead.
Writing is such an exciting adventure. Be brave and let your voice be heard.