Writing’s one of those things that can be done in all kinds of ways. Making up a shopping list is much that same as penning a best-selling novel. They might seem to be a world apart, but they both involve the same skill: putting one word after another.
When you write anything it’s always best to use your imagination. Always believe that there are things out there in the world that you haven’t discovered yet, but that have the potential to be important to you. Take, for example, the radio. Until just recently, the only thing a radio meant to me was something to listen to. Then, a friend told me that she was going to host her own radio show. I didn’t realise what a game changer this was at first. I thought that only talented and fortunate people got to speak on the radio so imagine my surprise when, after sending an email to the owner of the radio station, he told me to come on in and do my own show! So I did. And it was great. And I’m going to do it again this week!
Life is full of all sorts of opportunities like this. You only need to listen to the people around you to find them. Sometimes it’s difficult to hear the messages, but if you listen with the right kind of mind-set then you can set yourself up to have all sorts of new and interesting experiences. And that’s what I mean about using your imagination. When you go through life thinking that you don’t have anything to offer the world then that’s precisely what you’ll give. But if you imagine what it would be like to hunt out and use the clues that life puts your way then that kind of openness to change will move you towards more new places than you ever thought possible.
But what’s that got to do with writing, I hear you say. Well, here’s the thing – writing is a really good channel for your imagination to run freely along. Next time you put together a shopping list, try this: add something to your list that you haven’t had in a long time, or maybe even something you’ve never had. Perhaps it’s as simple as a fruit (or a bread or a brand) that you’ve not tried since you were a kid. The thing is, it’s not particularly what you put on the list that’s important, it’s the fact that you’ve added it to the list. It’s the fact of being open to change that sets you on the path to freedom.
In the same way, every single type of writing can do that same thing for you: diary entries, notes on post-its, blog entries, short stories, observations on life, jottings about your childhood, chapters in a novel or epic sagas written in lambic pentameter. At the start of every single piece of writing, including the grandest of novels, is something that we use every day of our life: a word. And after that is another word. Put a few of those together and pretty soon you’ve got a sentence. And here’s the coolest thing of all: it’s entirely up to you as to what kind of sentence you write for yourself.
When you use the same words you’ve used in the past then you’ll end up with the same kind of life that you’ve had up until now, which is fine if you enjoy your life, but if you don’t, then now’s a great time to change. The words you use to write your shopping list or your novel are the same ones that you will use to describe your future. So do yourself a favour my friend, and write yourself an absolutely fantastically coloured, extravagantly described, wonderfully populated and beatifically sweet one. Have fun!