The Right Way to Write
By Elizabeth Chayne
Copyright © 2009 by Elizabeth Chayne, All Rights Reserved
Most of us grew up with
English teachers who insisted our writing had to be just so:
correct grammar, correct spelling, complete sentences, no exclamation
marks, and so on. Itís not surprising that so many people tend to
consider good writing a formula rather than an artistic creation
How to Write
When you leave the world of
high school essay writing and enter the world of real writing,
you may feel like there are rules you have to follow to write a
good story. You may also have questions swimming round your head that
are a variation of:
What kind of pen should
Should I type, or write
it on paper, or use notebooks?
Is it better to use a
notepad or a notebook?
Where should I write?
When is the best time to
To these and many other
questions, I usually reply "Whatever works for you", only to be met with
the query, "But what do real writers do?" After all, doing things
right is halfway to doing them good, right?
This may come as a
disappointment, but the answer still holds. Whatever works for you is
best. There is no proper way to write, anymore than there is any proper
filling for a sandwich. Over the centuries, there have been hundreds of
writers, and every one of them had different writing preferences. Some
typed, some wrote in pencil; some wrote at parties, while others wrote
in cafes, libraries, or private studios. Some liked to write at night,
some woke up early to squeeze writing time in, and some wrote after
work. How you write has no direct connection to the quality of your
writing. A word of caution, though: if you have school the next day,
donít stay up until the wee hours writing!
Why to Write
So, great, you know you can
use any method you think is best to write. But what about your reason
for writing? Arenít there good ones and bad ones?
People write for a variety
of reasons, which may be public or personal or both at the same time.
But unless youíre writing with the express intent to hurt someone
through your writing, thereís no actual wrong reason to write.
Some of you may think that
writing for monetary profit alone is a "bad" goal, and thus you may
strive to find millions of other reasons to explain why you write. The
truth is that while "I want to earn money" doesnít sound as noble as
"Iím writing to save the world", writing for profit is still an okay
reason to write, and itís always good to be honest with yourself about
what you hope to get out of writing.
So, however greedy,
self-serving, or pompous your reason to write is, say it out loud. Admit
it. When you know what it is you want out of writing, youíre more likely
to get it. And if you feel like quitting, your reason to write may make
all the difference in making you sit down and write again.
What to Write (or, Is
This Real Writing?)
"I feel like my writing is
just a hazy copy of Harry Potter. Does that make me a bad writer,
or a good copycat?"
Do you worry that youíre
writing stories similar to your favorite writerís? If so, donít panic.
Itís normal to want to write as well as your favorite writers (after
all, theyíre not your favorite writers for nothing!), and imitation is
part of any learning process. You can always good back and rewrite your
fanfics after youíve developed your own voice, but itís impossible to
rewrite a blank sheet of paper!
Put aside your worries, and
just write. Forget the musts and must-nots, and express yourself exactly
as you want to.
An informative site
for teenage writers.