From Elementary school all the way through University, English was always my worst subject. (I did get mostly perfect marks, but that’s only because school is a joke.)
I hated grammar (I still don’t know it, which is glaringly obvious), I disliked reading boring stories about boring topics, and I absolutely despised being told I had to write my own stories or essays in the same boring way.
I’m not lying when I say I fell asleep in class at least 4 out of 5 days/week. (My books had the drool puddles to prove it, haha, gross!)
And yet, I loved writing.
When I was 14 we had an English poetry assignment without any rules. We had to write a poetry book and the poems could take on any meter, any style, any topic. I was in my element.
After I turned in the assignment, my teacher Mrs. P (tangent: everybody had a crush on Mrs P; she was married to my math teacher; they were both pretty young) asked me if I wrote a lot on my own time. Embarrassed, I said no. (I was shy, didn’t want attention.)
Then she said something that has stuck with me ever since:
“It’s very good. Very honest.”
I get a lot of questions about how to start writing or how to start blogging. Usually my advice is to do what I did: spend 30 days before you launch your blog writing at least 1,000 words/day. Get into the flow of writing. Don’t worry about it being perfect, or even good. Just write.
But I always forget about that other important element of writing. (Thanks Mrs. P!)
Stephen King says to be a great writer you have to do two things:
1) Read a lot.
2) Write a lot.
Stephen King is a far better writer than I am, but I’ll bet he’d agree with adding the third element: write honestly, from the heart.
If you listened to the interview I did with Kelly, you know I don’t write 1,000 words/day anymore. Some days I only write a few hundred. Some days I write a few thousand. The number isn’t important to me. What’s important is that I write consistently and write what feels right. ;)
I don’t consider myself a particular good writer. So why do you read? Why are a few thousand other people reading this site every day? Because it’s honest.
So there it is, take it for what it’s worth from someone who doesn’t know a preposition from a (shit, I can’t even think of anything else to put here), if you write consistently and honestly a lot of people will connect with your writing. It doesn’t have to perfect. It doesn’t have to be great. But it must be honest.
If you follow that you might even make a full time living from your writing. ;)