Want to write

Hello - I’ve been wanting to write for years, but have never really known what I would write. I used to blog and have occasionally written poetry. I have a decent way with words but never disciplined myself to actually figure out how and when I would actually write.

I think there are others here who have shared their hesitations about writing - Am I good enough? Do I have anything to say? Will readers hate my style? Those are all concerns I have as well, but they’re not overpowering. I realize those are all questions writers face and I know too that some fears may be overcome; others will live on and will have to be managed appropriately.

I’m writing this post because I don’t know where to begin. I want to write fiction. My first story will essentially be about my life, but stylized as fiction so as not to cause too much hurt in those friends and family members who may “appear” in the story. Right now, though, I don’t know what the story is. There is pain and loss, triumph and tragedy, sadness and joy. Perhaps I don’t have the complete arc to know what the story is - and more specifically, the ending. I’m still working through things emotionally and psychologically and the thought dawns on me that perhaps the end hasn’t happened. Therefore, I’d need to invent one for the sake of my novel. I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Anyway, looking for some advice, words of wisdom, or other forms of encouragement that might help me take a step down a productive path.

Start writing.

Keep writing.

Not sure what you want to say? Not sure how to say it? Write something anyway.

When you think it’s done, read through and revise.


There are books with advice about all of this, but you don’t learn how to write by reading books. You learn by writing.

Also, watch this. youtu.be/PbC4gqZGPSY


To echo Katherine’s advice…

Writing is like walking; the core skill is beyond very few of us. A full length novel is like a marathon; it’s completion requires dedication and stamina.

Anyone can run a marathon. It’s not difficult of itself. You might not get a great completion time on your run (just as your book maybe just, y’know, okay), but it’s perfectly possible.

The reason so many people fail is because they assume they can just pitch up and run that book marathon without so much as a training run (short story).

You can’t.

If you try, you’re gonna get cramps (writer’s block), an appalling time (in decades, maybe) and probably quit after the first couple of miles.

The key difference between those that make it work and those that don’t? People who can run marathons easily and regularly (writing career) are people who love to run (to write). The others are simply people who want to have run a marathon.

So, yes, I agree with Katherine:

Thank you both for taking time to respond. Great advice, and I’ll certainly do exactly as you suggest.

And great video, Katherine. Love Ira Glass. Excellent encouragement.

I love that video. Two minutes every aspiring writer (and a lot of established writers!) should watch.


I’m not certain this is relevant, but here’s a link to a wordy Dean Wesley Smith article where he talks about one of his ten year old blog posts called Dare to be Bad. Of course, he has been an established writer for decades, but it wasn’t always so.


And then there is this post today, January 1 of the new year, from Alexandra Sokoloff. Yes, she too is an experienced writer, but she had to start somewhere, just like the rest of us.


Begin your five minutes at the keyboard starting right now.


All the advice has been excellent and makes sense, especially the just write one.

This might help also, it’s free and is based out of The Open University in the UK.



Do you want to write? Or do you want to have a book written by you? Or do you have a good story that the world should hear?
I think the first is to decide what it is you want to do, and why.

In my experience people who say they want to write a book don’t really want to do that. They want to have written one.

Most of those who really want to write have done so since they were young, and they never said they wanted to write. They simply wrote, and did so for years without telling anyone.

So, what is it you really want, deep down? And why?

@lunk - all fair questions. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

I’ve been writing since I was young. I received great encouragement from a high school teacher - some of the only encouragement I received when I was young. So, yes, I have written some since then. On and off, nothing terribly structured, typically individual scenes to stories that could be expanded, maybe not, but efficacious for myself nonetheless because I enjoyed the experience.

Your questions are helping me to flesh out this desire - which is really a desire to write more, to write with more discipline, to create stories, and not only write my own. I get a lot of pleasure from the experience of writing, crafting scenes, constructing honest dialog. Whether it is read by others has never been a chief motivation, nor has it been about selling or publishing a book. I would like to do that, sure, and I would also appreciate the feedback I would receive from getting my stories “out there”. It would be helpful to get some feedback, make me a better writer I suppose.

I don’t know if others’ experience of writing is similar to mine - the feeling of getting your feelings out, your observations on “paper”, expressing something in words that can rarely come out in conversation because conversation can be limiting to what you want to express, maybe. I don’t know. But I do know there is this place I can go inside that allows me to create. I can’t do it without getting to that place - quiet, solitude, a word, a phrase, an image, a thought. When I’m there, words, sentences, imagery, ideas, can all explode from me. It’s easy. Staying in that place is what’s difficult. That gets me back to the discipline, perhaps, that I’m seeking. Maybe that’s the thing, right now, that I’m really desiring.

Katherine alluded to it above - put in the work. I’ve reached a point in my life that I’m not overcome by other commitments. I can do this now. The act of logging into this forum a few days ago was a big step for me. Reaching out to others and asking for advice. It’s a level of vulnerability I can tolerate at the moment, while hiding behind my keyboard and computer screen. So far, the feedback has been encouraging and challenging. I think I expected worse.

So again, thanks for your questions. I believe I answered them.

My favourite book about writing:
Steering the craft, by Ursula K LeGuin.