Technology is great, but pen and paper is so deliciously simple, intimate, and close to heart.
A sprig of wolfsbane freshly picked from the meadow, an eye of newt, some fairy wings, and a drop of unicorn blood. Brew the potion for seven days and seven nights, let it sit under a full moon, drink it, and poof! You’re a writer, a splendid writer whose every word turns to gold! Oh, if only. The path to skill might not be quite so arcane, but fortunately, it’s still quite magical and adventurous. Whether you write cookbooks, comics, or captivating novels, all good writers share a few of the same habits and traits. For inspiration, for the purposes of research, and just for fun, stay with us as we reveal what those are.
A writer is the kind of person who, if they saw a giant red button that said “Danger, do not push,” would barely get to blink before they pressed it with a great dose of glee. Just to see what happens. A writer is a person who wants to know, who hungers to learn things, to see things, to experience them. They will indulge their curiosity frequently, they’ll read books and study people, they’ll ask questions incessantly, always wanting to know more. And this kind of hunger is what drives you forward, it’s the thing that can inspire you to never stop bettering yourself.
What better way to learn the craft than by observing the master? Every writer reads a lot, they read every day, and they can never really sate their craving for books. All people should read, but if you want to write, it becomes even more important to grab every book that comes your way, to learn from the writers you admire, to discover new techniques and get your fill of their words. Rich descriptions, intricate plots, characters that come alive on the page – study your favourite writer and see how they do it.
Technology is great, but pen and paper is so deliciously simple, intimate, and close to heart. It’s not about writing your novel with a stubby pencil and handing in a wrinkled, ripped, sweaty copy of your work to the editor with a proclamation that you’re just too old-school for oppressive technology. It’s about filling all your pockets with smooth ballpoint pens, with small notebooks, and then pulling them out when inspiration strikes you in the middle of the night. It’s about doodling shapes in the corner as you sip your morning coffee. It’s about having the access to a writing tool at all times, a way to jot down your thoughts. Seeing your own handwriting is a powerful thing, so don’t underestimate it.
If you want to be a writer, you must learn how to be observant. How to stay quiet and listen to people speaking, how to read between the lines, to notice whether their smiles reach their eyes, or how their mouth shapes around certain letters. Observing will let you take your description from “the house had old walls,” to “the paint on the walls was cracked and peeling, its color faded long ago to leave an unpleasant foggy shade that was crisscrossed with cobwebs and yellowing stains.”Observing will help you better incorporate the good old “show, don’t tell” rule.
Yes, writers are diligent about rules. They learn the rules, and then they bend them, break them, and make up new ones. Once you learn what your old English study books say, you can find marvellous ways to simply play around, to use language and have it bow to your will instead of the other way around. Just look at E. E. Cummings and you’ll understand what we mean. Learn the rules, educate yourself about why they’re set in place, and then feel free to rebel. Grab the language, shatter it, and reshape it.
And here’s one last ingredient for the potion you’re brewing: passion. Let your heart shape the words you write, because there’s no magic more powerful than that one.
Full time mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, fashion and healthy living.