Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
– William Faulkner
The first time I read that quote, I thought as the majority of us would:
“Easy for someone who wins a Nobel Prize in Literature to say something like this.”
But if we stop to think a little more about this quote and the novelist’s career, we realize that had he not developed this mindset, achieving the things he did may not have happened.
When it comes to blogging, overcoming the initial fear of sharing your work is critical, yet it can take while – sometimes years. I know it took me a few years before I was completely comfortable, so I wanted to a outline a few ways for us to overcome the fear that William Faulkner tries to free us of with his simple quote.
Read all types of literature
Read all types of literature to consume different writing styles. The more writing you can take in, the more you get comfortable with doing it yourself. For me, I consumed a lot of my favorite marketing & entrepreneurship blogs on a daily basis.
In addition to taking in writing that aligns with your interests, step outside your comfort zone a little. Try reading major literary works like The Great Gatsby, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or The Street. Professional writers who exhibit extreme command over their writing style wrote these iconic novels listed above. This is one way to learn from the best; they are also amazing stories to be aware of.
Begin to write
The commitment to get thoughts down on paper is the ultimate challenge. One thing to always keep in mind is that F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, and Ann Petry probably all struggled with that in creating the novels listed above even though they were professional writers.
Make an effort to write something down in a notebook on a consistent basis. You do not need to start out by writing online right away. You may set a goal to write one page once a week. It may be to write five bullet points every other day for a month. Getting it down is critical. For me, I have a whiteboard in my room where I write things learned that day or ideas for upcoming blog posts.
Write a Memoir
In my final undergraduate semester, I took a nonfiction English course where I wrote three separate memoirs. For those who aren’t aware, a memoir is a literary non fiction genre, and more specifically:
A collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private that took place in the author’s life.
The course was an extremely invaluable writing experience for me because I was forced to recall moments of my life, and then communicate them in writing to classmates who had no idea about the moment until they were reading the memoir. It is one of the best-written communication exercises I had ever been a part of. As classmates read my work and asked questions, I became conscious that just because I know what I am talking about doesn’t mean my readers do.
I highly suggest reading the full memoir page on Wikipedia, taking a week to write a short memoir, and give it to a close friend or family member. When you sit down and review it with them, you should pick up parts of your writing that are unclear as well as parts that are strong.
Take Inventory of Passions
Once you have started to write things down you will start to see a pattern in your writing. For my three memoirs, my peers pointed out to me that most of my writing focuses on “triumph.” I certainly did not start out saying to myself, “I am going to write about triumph.” It happened unknowingly.
Take inventory of your passions. This will help inform you of what you should write about moving forward.
Command Your Writing Style
Start to become conscious of your writing style. For example, I tend to write in short clear sentences. That’s the style I lean on and am most comfortable with. However, there is a beauty in long detailed sentences as well. Write down—in one sentence—how you would describe your writing style. Mine is “I tend to write in concise but compelling sentences.”
As a guide, always remember William Faulkner’s quote: Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good. If you liked this quote, check out 10 William Faulkner Quotes That Will Take Your Breath Away.