Sam’s guide to writing: Practice

The key to writing is to practice on a regular basis. A human being can become an expert in almost anything with 10,000 hours of practice. This is not a guide to math, but that’s approximately one hour a day for 10,000 days. If you need something to write about, consider keeping a blog of events that have happened to you or that people close to you have shared in private. If you and your friends are boring, take it as a challenge! See if you can present your mundane existences in a way that makes them seem passably like they might be worth living. If you are concerned that other people may make fun of you for your blog, a recent twist on the blog phenomenon has people writing blogs only for themselves to read. These “privablogs” as I call them are often written on paper in books. I tried keeping one until I filled up all the pages, and then I was forced to stop. This seems to be a limitation of the privablog format.

If you find you have the opposite problem, and instead of making fun of you people simply ignore your blog, consider Facebook. Facebook is a good place to practice writing because at all times all of your friends are always looking at all of your posts. If at any moment you are not receiving a like from a given friend on a given post, you can be statistically certain that that friend does not like that post or does not like you. Although simple, this feedback can be very helpful for a young writer honing his craft. Just remember that if people don’t like your posts, don’t give up. Just keep posting until people like you. For targeted feedback, consider asking politely, “why didn’t you like my post?”

When you are ready, it is also good form to give back to the community. Rather than just not liking a Facebook post in order to show that it needs work, consider leaving a comment. Good examples of opportunities to comment include helping someone understand how properly to spell something that they may have been confused about how to spell before and helping to correct mistaken political beliefs. Like Facebook posts, these comments are an art that must be practiced. If you find that people hate your posts as indicated by a lack of likes, just keep commenting until you find success.

Whether your chosen medium is the blog, the privablog, or Facebook, finding success as a writer is the result of hundreds of thousands of minutes of practice. Make sure to find these minutes wherever you can. Write while you eat your breakfast, wait at a red light, or become bored in a conversation. Think of the Marquis de Sade, who wrote in his own feces on the wall of his dungeon cell after the church tore out his tongue. That is the level of dedication that writing requires. Think of life as a dungeon wall, and of every moment as an opportunity to put down the contents of your mind using the feces of your creativity. Now get out there and write!

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