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How to Start Writing

Updated on September 1, 2019

So you’re done reading E.L. James' novel and are inspired with that one line or two in the novel and decided to write something that is as profound as that in your own words and at your own cognitive games. Great! You’ve decided to write something for the first time in forever. You started to write, consciously aiming to surpass the sublimity of the line in that novel or, to the very least, just come near to its quality. You continued to free write until such time that your mind became exhausted with stream of thoughts. Now you’re starting to read what you’ve written but unfortunately, things seem to be off- beat. You decided you didn’t do it well and so, with that very weak spirit of yours, you declared to succumb to the “I’m no literary, baby” sickness and decided to do something else that is not mind- boggling, thereby forgetting about your rough draft for the time being.

Why some (people) are sick of writing

This is one of the most common scenario and reason why majority of us are sick to writing. First, we don’t have a plan on what to write. Second, we write on the impulse of something which is neither good nor bad. And third, we are too detached from the topic, so in the middle of everything we are suddenly hit in the face with the caution that we don’t know the direction of our writing anymore so we just stop. These are the same problems, right? So how do we encourage ourselves to appreciate and enjoy writing?

The answer is very simple. Write about something that you are fond of, that you know well including all the firsts, embarrassing moments, and all. In short, write something about you. Human as we are, we all want to be heard. We all want to share a portion of ourselves. As emphasized in most books about socializing and effective communication, anyone, including a random stranger that we meet on the street or the quietest person next to us wants to share or at least talk something about his life, career, views, opinions and many more aspects in life. Hence, the same in writing, for you to be able to start playing with words, begin writing about you. Start with a personal account.

How to Write a Personal Account

In writing a personal account, think about an experience that you want others to know about. Explore the details about that event or experience, including the people involved, how you felt, what who said to whom, the emotions that prevailed at that time, and a lot more which you think is important and relevant to your subject. These details will help you in elaborating your topic further thereby making it more interesting and palatable to the taste of your readers. In achieving this, you need to use your senses in order to create imagery.

Read the personal accounts of two of the most prolific writers in the world: Anne Frank and Maya Angelu and observe the topic that they are writing about.

Topics You can Write About

When writing a personal account, you can choose from a lot of topics to write about depending on your taste and experience.

1. Memories of People

Social beings as we are, we never run out of stories about people. In writing a personal account, think of someone you know well and recall a particular experience you had with him/ her which is memorable for you. It could be about your grandmother, your parents, your older siblings or a friend. Remember the things about him or her which you think are worth sharing and your readers would be interested in reading. You must be able to let your audience feel as if they also know your subject by showing their looks, mannerisms and actions among others. Be very careful not to overly attach yourself in the narration that the story would appear to be all about you instead of the person you are writing about. It’s not about you, it’s about others. Although you are part of the narration, you are just there to show and tell something to your readers.

2. Unpeopled Memories

If you can write about others, why can’t you write something about an experience concerning yourself and the things around you? Think about that experience when you were all alone with no one but with the serene touch of nature or the experience when you feel most happy with an animal (probably your pet) or another animal you see—a bird or a fish you saws while snorkeling then write about them.

3. Memories of Places

We all have those places we all love to go. It may not be as romantic as Paris or as upscale as the Fifth Avenue, but we all do have a favorite place. It could be a favorite spot in our house (a study area under the staircase probably, or the ole kitchen), or that corner in the school library where you used to cry secretly (with your teacher secretly crying too at the other end). Focus on those places and the memories you can associate with them. Then, you are now ready to go!

4. Memories of Events

We all are inquisitive beings especially when we were young. Often, this attitude has led us to certain events like an accident in the street where we helped a fellow kid. You can write about the happiest day in your life, the day you stole a giant papaya fruit from your neighbor because you want to feel its weight, the time when you witnessed a beggar stealing money from a fellow beggar, and that moment when you successfully signed up on Facebook and posted your first hate status (and your grandma added you as a friend and made a sermon to you online because of the post you shared). What did we miss? How about first kiss, date or the marriage proposal of your boyfie?

5. Memories of Objects

We are sentimental beings. We place great value on the things given to us by loved ones. Perhaps you’d like to write about that heavy table clock that you placed inside your sister’s school bag that she thought it was just her lunch stuffs that made her bag heavy. Maybe you would like to write something about the thing you find strange at home or at the grocery, or maybe you would like to share about the gift you received from grandpa at the farm.

There are a lot of ways on how you can relay your experiences to others. The ones given above are just some of them. Just remember that when you write you need to have focus because you are recalling something that really happened in your life and you have the that aim of making others feel that you are sincere in writing. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you really need to state everything in all honesty that you reveal things that are not worth sharing to others. Just write something that has the human touch and by that, we mean making our readers experience what we’ve experienced. Imagery—a literary device that allows readers to see, feel, taste and hear what a writer tells in the text—plays a great role in this.

Now that you know how to write a personal account, it is a sure way for you to get a practice and hone yourself to be a great storyteller. And that’s a sure step in achieving your goal of writing a novel whose lines can also inspire others to write something that is as profound and sublime as what you have written. Most importantly, writing a personal account enables you to not feel sick of writing anymore!


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