Your writing muscle

Don’t misunderstand writing as some divine calling for a select few.

Don’t mistake it for a mystical art, bestowed on the inspired high-literati from some ink-splattered celestial realm. Your muse is in the songs you listen to and the movies you love. It’s in a hot thoughtful shower and that first cup of tea that wakes you right up. Crucially, it’s in your practise.

Your ability to write well is a direct result of the countless hours you’ve sat there and typed, all day every day, until there’s zero resistance any more. Until your skill far outweighs your fear. Until you don’t even think about it because it’s as automatic as blinking and breathing.

And until you know that writers’ block is the greatest fiction of all time. If you’re sitting down and hitting your head against a brick wall, hit it harder and don’t stop. The wall’s coming down first.

Anyone can become a good writer, just like anyone can work out and become toned and muscular. Writing is a mental muscle. Your writing desk is your gym. If you’re grinding out sets on a bar every day then a handful more becomes nothing. Equally, if you’re sitting down to grind out a thousand words per sitting then it becomes nothing. It becomes reflex.

Your writing muscle doesn’t grow when the writing comes easy at the weekend. It grows when the writing comes hard, when you don’t have time, when you don’t have the energy, when you don’t have the confidence or the will. Muscles react to resistance. They react to consistency and constant strain.

Talent is a myth. Practise is all there is. Train your writing muscle constantly, or give up on your ambition, go watch TV and wonder what could’ve been.

Train your writing muscle. Start now, and never stop.

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