Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Hobby of Writing

By Christina VanGinkel

If writing is a hobby that you have entertained thoughts on, but are not sure exactly what it is you would write about, first take note that there are no hard and fast rules concerning subject matter, or how to go about the process of the actual writing itself. Whether you are someone who is looking towards writing as a hobby, or even as a more prominent part of your life, a side job or maybe even someday as a full time source of income, you will be hard put to find two writers who follow the same path.

Some writers focus on a single subject matter, where as, other writers may write across a wide range of subject matters. Maybe they write stories for children, and feature articles for magazines, on subjects ranging from adult issues to home decor. Before many of us who write can even narrow that focus down though, we must first do the most basic thing. Sit down and write something, putting pen or pencil to paper or fingers to the keyboard.

This most basic element is often the hardest step for some people to take though. It is easier to talk about writing for many so called writers, than it is to actually sit down and do it. I always tell myself that amongst any given group of writers, you are sure to find some of the world's best procrastinators. For example, I can be plodding along with a story or an article, when suddenly nothing I write seems to work. Sentences are unrecognizable, and when I do manage to actually put something solid down on paper, when I read it back, it just does not make sense, and I wonder where I ever got the idea or the words from in the first place.

These roadblocks every now and then, for lack of a better description, often grow into a manifestation of denial where it is much easier to talk about what and why I cannot write, than it would ever be to just sit down and get writing again. If you intend to make writing a hobby that you not only participate in, but also gain pleasure from, then learning how to circumvent this most basic obstacle of writers worldwide is something you will have to deal with eventually.

This is also, where I think some people are at before they ever get going. They are stuck in some sort of perpetual roadblock. The only way I can think of to tell you how to break through that, if that is where you are at, on the edge of being a writer, but scared for any number of reasons to get going, is to just write. Nobody ever has to read what you write if that is your fear. Remember that you have the ultimate power over what you write. If you want to post it, sell it, or keep it under lock and key in a private journal, is all up to you.

This brings us to the next subject of where to write, and what to write on, or in. Some of the most prolific writers today still write longhand in notebooks. Some 'write' into a recorder, and then later on, will transcribe their words into a computer. They write wherever and whenever the muse finds them, be it the park, first thing in the morning before their feet even hit the floor, or maybe at a proper writing desk, in an office of their dreams. I once read of a writer who makes his living sitting in an old leather covered chair that had seen its best days long before the turn of the century, the last century that is, not the current one. His desk is an old wooden door that he removed from his closet solely for the sake of having somewhere to sit at to accomplish his daily ritual of writing. Others feel that unless they are sitting in front of the newest computer money can buy, at a desk that would please the finickiest of people; they are not a true writer. I say to each their own, and if the drive to write is strong enough, it will not really matter if you have the newest and the brightest.

If you want to make writing a part of who you are, then the best advice I can give you is to start. Do not wait until everything is perfect, or else you will always be finding an excuse to put it off. Instead, if an idea comes to you, write it down. That will be the difference between talking about being a writer, and actually becoming one.

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