Learning how to write

Writing is the only skill I’ve ever been certain of in my life. I can’t sing, my dancing is rhythm-less at best and my attempts at various sporting activities have been laughable. But one thing I’ve always been somewhat proficient at is writing. I am lucky to be rather articulate and I am strangely good at spelling. So naturally one would imagine that I would become a writer when I grow up. Right?

I don’t know how to be a writer. What do writers do? Do they sit at their home computers all day; ticka-tacking out their latest novel in their sweatpants? Do they ponder their prose over an espresso in a painfully hip city café, with a fountain pen in hand? Is it terribly lonely? How on earth does someone not only crack into, but conclude, writing a novel? I rarely get past a basic plot outline and the thought of detailed character maps rather frightens me. I am the queen of unfulfilled intentions. When I write blog posts, I am typically sitting on my living room couch in my pyjamas and trying to block out Escape to the Country (my mother’s favourite TV programme). I don’t think this is a realistic vision of my future career… at least I sincerely hope it isn’t.

I am currently fancying myself as a journalist, preferably in fashion or something similarly not-too-serious. I have even been researching MAs in journalism and I am definitely intrigued by what’s on offer. I wrote my first article for a college newspaper, due to be published on Tuesday, and the fashion editor was delightfully impressed by it, which is a really encouraging start. But I think I would really love to write a book. It would be such an achievement for me, especially given my woefully short attention span. My mind wanders during episodes of Modern Family; it’s actually appalling how little I can concentrate sometimes. 

I like to conceive an idea and just write based on that, then see how it meanders and concludes. I’m not one for planning and structure; sure I’m going back to college tomorrow and I haven’t so much as rooted out a notepad or thought about a packed lunch. It would take tremendous discipline and hard work for me to write a draft novel but I think it would bring me a fantastic sense of achievement. Of course, I should try not to hold myself to the standard of J.K. Rowling, a master in tying up loose ends. Seriously, the concluding book in the Harry Potter series never ceases to amaze me.

But writing a book would be brilliant. Later in life when I frequent sophisticated social gatherings I can drop phrases like ‘Oh, when I was writing my book…’ or ‘Yes, I’m working on a sequel and it’s already generating interest’. Wonderfully conceited, don’t you think?

So, all you writers on WordPress, what does it take? How do you go about the process, and get your work noticed? I know they say that the best career for anyone is the thing they enjoy in their spare time, but does becoming a writer kill the joy of writing somewhat? Is it worthwhile in the end?

In the meantime though, I’ll keep to my blogging and article-writing, and hopefully figure out where the hell my life is going to go next…


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