I don’t exactly remember when I decided I wanted to be a writer.
However, I do recall flipping through magazines, perusing blogs; reading books after books after books. And for the longest time, thinking how amazing it would be to get my own byline; to get published somewhere, and to have my words available for the public to pore over.
Most importantly, I yearned to call myself a writer and not feel like a fraud. It was something I frequently daydreamed of, and daydream I did until someone I trusted with all my being told me straight out one day:
Just start writing.
The words stuck with me for days. Just start writing. I sat with it, and the simplicity of those three words stumped me. It sounds so easy, but why am I so paralysed by the idea of it?
Enter self-doubt. Can I actually do this? Won’t people make fun of me? Do I have something to say? Are my words worth reading? What if nobody publishes my work? What if I am actually a fraud?
Eventually, I realised, that yes, I can do it if I want to. Yes, some people might make fun of me, but that is their issue not mine. Yes, I have a lot to say and as a unique individual with unique experiences, my words—my story—are worth reading, and I am worthy of taking up space.
And, if I don’t write anything then no, nobody will publish nonexistent work. If I just start writing, then I can find out. There will be a chance. There will be hope. There will be opportunities. There will be something to submit, to edit and re-edit, and at some point, publish.
It all boiled down to just starting.
It is easier said than done, there is no doubt about that.
But do you know what I don’t doubt? It is that each and every one of us is capable of doing hard things. Of chasing big dreams. Of becoming the person we’ve always dreamt of becoming.
But you have to start the doing, the chasing, the becoming. It doesn’t just happen through wishing, hoping, and staring into blank spaces (or pages).
It took me another month or so after being told what I think now as three of the most important words uttered to me, before I sat my butt down and actually wrote.
I had to look for the right notebook, the right pen, the right software, the right this, the right that. I justified my lack of “doing” because I don’t have yet the perfect ideas, the perfect words, the perfect time.
In other words, I basked in all the excuses possible; until eventually, I realised all I needed was guts, determination, and my laptop or journal.
Everything, I already had. Go figure.
So I just started writing.
A few days later, I had a draft. A few more days after, I had a final piece. Two weeks later, I have my own byline for the entire world to see. Another few weeks, another byline. It just came one after another. It was addicting. It was exhilarating and absolutely rewarding.
You could say the moral of the story here is to not give up; to go after your dreams, and to develop self-confidence. Somewhere among these words, those messages are surely present too. But my point is even simpler. There will never be a perfect time or perfect place or perfect anything that will set the illusion of the “perfect setting” to write.
If you wait for the “perfect” opportunity to become a writer, the opportunity will never come. You just have to start putting words on the pages by either marrying pen and paper or letting your fingers fly through the keyboard.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be on a trending topic. It doesn’t have to be profound.
Write about the weather. Write about what you ate. Write about yesterday’s events.
Just. Start. Writing.
Once you get into the habit of sitting down and unleashing your thoughts, the words will come.
Sentences will be formed; creative juices will come flowing. Eventually one idea will spark another then another then another, until you have something you are so proud of, there is no other choice but to share it with others.
And even if you don’t hit “submit” or “publish” when you have words on the page; and you write and write and write, day in and day out, you are still a writer, my friend.
If you daydream of a byline, of a published work, of one-day writing a bestseller, of simply calling yourself a writer, and you don’t know where to start? I have some good news for you. Just write.
Don’t worry about writing well—there will be a time and place and resources for that in the future. Worry about making writing a comfortable thing. Make writing into a habit. Make writing into something that lifts you up, that you make time for—no excuses.
You already have what it takes. Now you just have to start writing. I believe in you. I believe in your story. I believe you have words to say. And you should too.