Creative Alchemy: Be a Writer in 3 Steps

When you come down to it, it’s really not that hard to be a writer. You think a lot, you sit yourself in front of some paper or a screen, and you put one word in front of the other. (Those could be my three steps, but they’re not.) How hard is all that?

It’s hard. Something happens between thinking a lot and sitting down. Sometimes it’s magic, but quite often, it’s a roadblock.

To be a writer, you need structure, and drive, and some stamina to keep on hustling. Your job is to take the ethereal—your internal thoughts—and make them appear. You have to perform a slight of hand, some hidden alchemy, to turn them into the tangible.

How do you do it?

1. Harvest

Harvest from your past. Take all your hurts, memories, deep emotions, old secrets, and gather them together. Remember each slight, every victory that made you dance, the insults that made you wince, and harvest them. They are fuel for your writing engine. Burn them and use that energy.

2. Immerse

Immerse yourself in the present. Eavesdrop on the train. Breathe in the sharp smells of the alley as you walk by. Watch body language. Take notes. People will populate your stories. They are all around you. Open your eyes and pay attention. Every time you think ahead, stop. Stay in the right now. The human condition is here in the present, in its beautiful and terrible forms. Keep watching for it.

3. Imagine

Imagine a future. Take the fuel of the past and the magic of the now and pretend you know the answer to every question ever asked. Be the puppet master, the benevolent parent, the dictator, the secret keeper. Picture the world as you want it to be. Conjure up your fears on what it will be. Mix them together, your dreams and nightmares, and write them all down.

Creative alchemy happens when a big mess of words becomes your stories.

Creative alchemy happens when a big mess of words becomes your stories.


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3 Responses to “Creative Alchemy: Be a Writer in 3 Steps”

  1. […] can eavesdrop on all the other humans milling about in the sunshine and stick them in your books and […]

  2. This is absolutely amazing. Three very good tips that we tend to really overlook as far as how to add flavour to our writing! I’m curious, however, what do you think about collecting those thoughts memories and such on paper? Or do you think it would be more effective recalling them from the mind instead?

    • EditCassandra says:

      Thanks, Nicohle! I write everything down. I mean, not everything everything, but I journal just about every day, even if it’s mindless rant-y drek, if only to flex my writing muscles and keep my brain sharp. I don’t always read through every journal entry, but I like to flip back through recent months to get a sense of my impressions and observations. Not that they’re always so profound, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything is material. I could probably use some of those words one day! 🙂

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