Don’t get sucked in by the ego machine. Humility is the key to good writing.
This article is a letter to myself. The inspiration came when I struggled to put together words for an article that I eventually deemed futile and reductive. The ideas weren’t fitting in with the purpose of an imagined audience that I had in my head that stifled my creative functions. So I decided to attempt to inspire myself by admitting that I sucked at writing. And I think it worked.
I am not on a quest to cripple myself or my self-esteem; that would not be wise and fruitful in this early stage of my writing journey. I am not into self-flagellation either, not yet. But I do like being real with myself, and recently, I have noticed the gauge on my ego radar begin to tickle forward a little too much. So I’m actively putting a stop to it by exercising my control over the situation with my fiercest weapon: my writing.
The first step toward becoming a good writer is admitting you suck at writing.
It is a strange paradox that is well-rounded in a practical sense. In the early stages of becoming a writer, there is one asset you need to be focusing on – writing in bulk. That is where your allegiance lies, where your investment of time should be. Write as often as you can without focusing on any external factors such as audience or followers or claps and likes and comments, and all that other rubbish.
All of those external factors feed into the ego machine. Remember, you suck as a writer and don’t deserve the claps. Once you accomplish that first integral step, you can quietly and contentedly get back to the basics of writing; that inspires you and is enjoyable to immerse in. Once the satisfying, indulgent pull toward acceptance and recognition is broken, the fulfillment of freedom to write returns with invigoration and jolt. There is nothing less gratifying than sitting down and trying to write an article with the expectation that everyone is going to like it. The first step is to initiate a break from the evil manacles of your ego before they wrap themselves too firmly around your creative process.
Once you acknowledge that your writing sucks, you free yourself of expectations. It is a crucial first step in learning how to write. The essence of development is understanding that mistakes are acceptable and often applauded. Perception of perfection can easily stifle those creative juices. Forget what other people might think. Your number one job is to put words on the page.
How do I do this?
The first step is always admitting that there is a problem. In this case, I’ve admitted to myself that I put too much emphasis on how an article will fare with the perceived audience. Instead, I am choosing to write for myself first. I am audience member number 1 – the loud, boisterous voice in the front row screaming for more content.
I have to admit(to myself) that the number one reason I enjoy writing is that it helps me process things and consolidate understanding. The inevitable purpose for writing is to help me figure things out while hopefully hitting other unintended targets with friendly crossfires in the process.
The next step is to distance from looking at external factors as a source of joy and motivation. The number of claps, story stats, follower counts, and member reading time; these all represent a band of evil thugs lurking with nefarious intention – hellbent on causing dissatisfaction and chaos. It is best to stay away from pursuing any satisfaction from these unhelpful factors.
Another step is coming to terms with the developmental writer in you. As a budding creator of words, it helps to be aware that perfection is unnecessary and unexpected(and remotely unrealistic). Early writing should serve as a vessel for experimentation – trial and error. Focusing less on the result and more on the process will garner greater development.
The final step is to ascertain a goal that will determine progress. It must be an achievable goal, and you must stick to it. Mine is to write 100 articles, an idea that I have stipulated in various other pieces. The only investment of my time should be toward achieving this goal. In the first 100 articles, I can focus on writing what is fun and instructive to me(my number one fan). In the process of writing, I will learn the basics of what works and what doesn’t. None of this is possible unless I come to terms with this new principle.
The first step toward becoming a good writer is admitting that you suck at writing.