One rookie’s tale of becoming a fiction writer.

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson

I have a love-hate relationship with writing. This thought woke me up in the middle of the night last night. I hate that. It gave me an idea for a story. I love that. My brain and I, we normally get along. I reckon it presents these paradoxes to me to keep me sane. Keep me thinking and wondering. Keep me in a suspended state of anxiety until I give in and jot the 3 am idea down in my notebook.

The writing bug bit me hard in the latter half of this year. Wanting to express myself in forms other than awkward tweets and look at this dog I found Instagrams; I figured I’d do what I do best. What I’ve made a career out of doing. I call myself a copywriter. I am a writer by trade, but I have never consistently written for myself; which baffles me.

I remember setting out to make a career out of writing. Scrambling to find pieces of worth to build my portfolio. Of course, others warned me that my own writings don’t really count. How can that be? How can what you produce for someone else under deadlines and dollar signs dangling in front of your face hold more weight to potential employers than something you crafted with love, with passion?

Anyway. I’ve decided to let what will be will be when it comes to writing as a profession and take this other part and nurture it. Hold it in my clammy hands and raise it with love and care to become a fully grown adult type thing.

I’m writing for myself every day now. The lessons I’m learning are as follows:

When starting out, write anything. Write bloody everything that you think of and write it well. Publish it somewhere, on a personal blog or here on Medium and try not to care if nobody reads it or likes it. It’s yours. You created it with your own brain juices and it’s wonderful.

Share your progress with people. On Facebook, Twitter, even do one of those things where you add an Instagram post and say ‘the link is in my bio’ because Instagram doesn’t allow for links willy-nilly. Mean ‘ol Instagram. Get into the practice of sharing your work to build your confidence. It will motivate you to keep going.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT edit as you go. You’ll hear this a lot. When the fingers start-a-tappin’, let them do their thing. If you stop, the writer’s block goblin will come to get you and eat your laptop. No matter what gobbledygook is coming out of your mind, go with it. See where it takes you and edit later. You could accidentally come up with ten other ideas while working on a story. This here story is a prime example. What started out as a short story has morphed into somewhat of a self-help tale, and I’m going with it!

Set goals. I’m trying to write for at least fifteen minutes every day (it never ends up being just fifteen minutes by the way). I have a big scary goal too — an idea for a book [WATCH THIS SPACE] and I’ve started working on it. I hope it comes to fruition rather than falling by the wayside, where I store all my hobbies gone by from failed business ideas to half-hatched money making schemes (One day, I’ll be RICH. You’ll see!).

In the meantime, I hope you don’t mind my brain dumps and hope that you find some entertainment in them, should you decide to keep reading.

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