For today’s post, I’m going to keep things simple and offer you three encouraging reminders of the freedom you have in your writing.
You can choose what to write about
I understand that there’s a lot of pressure out in the world to write about specific things because they’re marketable. Or maybe you’ve been told that your topic is old-fashioned or boring.
Only you get to decide what you’re going to write about. If a project is interesting or exciting to you and it lets you express something you want to express, then it’s a worthwhile project.
When you are first writing you don’t need to concern yourself with whether something is marketable, publishable, or even readable. All you need to consider is whether writing about that topic will meet your needs right now.
So, if you want to get lost in writing about the way the light hits a snail’s shell or if you wanted to get into minute details about a car’s engine, then dive right in.
You can choose your genre and style
Again, there were certain ideas and genres that are in demand right now.
I don’t care about that.
What I care about is whether you’re happy with your writing. I want you to enjoy your writing time and explore genres that interest you, in a style that interests you.
Sure, ideally we all want to have hundreds (or thousands) of readers but when you sit down to write you need to make yourself happy first.
I don’t want you to have to drag yourself to your laptop or to your notebook to turn out something to make someone else happy. I want you to approach your project with interest and contentment.
The only way to do that is by starting with a style and a genre that you like.
Maybe you will alter that later to seek publication or to seek additional readers but when you are establishing your writing practice, or writing for yourself, all you need to worry about is what you like.
You can use your own techniques and approach
There is a whole Internet (plus thousands of books) full of advice about how to write.
The good advice offers you choices and ideas about how you might proceed to get your writing done. The bad advice outlines a single method and claims that it is the only way to produce good writing.
I think that you should use whatever techniques and approaches work for you. As long as you are able to write when you have the capacity to do so, then you are using the right technique to do it.
It’s fine to gather ideas from multiple sources and experiment with them, but please don’t doubt your own ability to figure out what works for you.
If you are getting your words on the page then you are using a good technique.
Bonus: You get to decide what ‘success’ means.
There are, of course, some standard indicators of success in writing. These include things like being on bestseller lists, making a lot of money, or having a lot of fans.
But those indicators are and results. They are part of a long term project of writing.
Instead of holding out for those long-term goals, I hope that you will decide to choose your own markers for your personal success in writing.
Those might include word count, time spent writing, the feeling of satisfaction in getting an idea expressed clearly, or having written every day for a week.
You don’t have to get caught up in chasing the big markers of success. Those things may or may not come.
But if you have chosen your own definition of success, whether that is in the short term or the long term, you will be a lot happier with your writing life.