When you’re only just starting out as a writer, there are so many questions to be considered before you even begin: what to write about, your genre, your style, how often you should practice, not to mention all the technical questions that pile up the more you actually involve yourself in the craft of writing.
These are questions that inevitably hit everyone sooner or later, so the proliferation of writing tips and advice shouldn’t be surprising at all. Most of the literary masters have offered invaluable counsel on the matters.
Though some of the advice can contradict itself (understandable, given the unique nature and personality of each human being), several recommendations do find a common place and tend to serve almost as a universal truth for writers.
This wide range of writing tips is good because it means there’s a bigger chance that somebody will find another person to relate to. Another positive aspect is that it shows there isn’t a common pathway to follow, that the final conclusion is that the answers are individual and depend on perspective.
There’s one piece of advice that I’ve found extremely helpful and which, in my opinion, can save a lot of trouble for any aspiring writer at the beginning: pour your heart out and invest emotionally in your work.
Skip the little reactions and experiences that just interest you. Rather, jump deep into the pool of what moves you to the core, what shakes and trembles you, what wakes you up in the night and keeps visiting you in your dreams, what never ceases to completely fascinate you.
In other words, you need to find your material and your own story—not somebody else’s. Even if you think your story would be boring for others, you need to trust your guts and go for it.
Because only the passion you invest in the writing can intrigue a reader. It doesn’t matter if it’s small or big, plain or complex, cliché or new—it is yours and yours only.
In few of his letters, F. Scott Fitzgerald advises his friends, including his own daughter, on how important it is to sell your heart—especially for a young writer, an amateur, who hasn’t yet developed the technique so as to be able to make any minor everyday detail sound interesting. He points to Charles Dickens and how he did exactly this with Oliver Twist.
Passion is contagious, and if you display it delicately and intimately in your work, you’re probably quadrupling your chances of touching another human being. In order to be relatable, you need to be personal.
Are you pouring your heart in your writing? What is the emotional investment you’re willing to make?
For fifteen minutes write about a personal story that has always been compelling for you. The goal of this practice is to show your passion in the theme as much as possible.
When you’re done writing, post your practice in the comments. As usual, don’t forget to support your fellows too.
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.