Writing advice

5 Tips For Beginning Writers: Tip #2

Last week I examined, in Tip #1 the importance of reading in the process of writing. This week I look at the act of writing itself and the importance of practice.

2. Write—something–every day.

When asked what advice he’d give to someone who wanted to be a writer, Ernest Hemingway famously quipped “Go somewhere and write.”

Listen to Papa.

Like anything, writing is a skill that we develop over time and with practice. The only way to truly practice is to write and the more we write, the better
Malcolm Gladwell, in his examination of excellence Outliers, posited that every person who rises to prominence in their field has put in at least 10,000 hours of practice before their breakthrough. That works out to eight hours a day, five days a week, for five years. More, if you can only do it part-time. The lesson is that it takes time and work to learn the craft, no matter what the craft is.

So we must write. Something. Every day. It does not matter what we write. Some find it easiest to keep a journal. Some a notebook of story ideas and impressions. Some write poetry or try to dramatize scenes or characters from their day. It does not matter as long as we write. The object is to develop a facility with the language and an ease with translating the images and ideas in our heads into words, sentences, and paragraphs on paper. That ease, that facility, only comes with practice.

So go somewhere and write.


2 thoughts on “5 Tips For Beginning Writers: Tip #2

  1. Couldn’t agree more. This has been the biggest thing for me to ‘get’ and only recently has it clicked. The acceptance of a decision taken for me i.e. that today I am going to write. Once you decide that’s who you are, what you’re going to do, the other things come a little easier. I still have good days and not so good days with it, but, like with physical exercise, it’s never as hard as starting into it from scratch after having not done it for a while. The daily mometum gives that ‘ease’ and ‘facility’ as you say. Makes that headspace of writing more habitual.


    • Exactly. Too many people think writing well is a gift you’re born with. Granted, some have more talent than others, but success is largely built upon practice, practice, practice.


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