Being confused, frustrated, and dissatisfied with your writing, especially in the beginning, is normal. You’re just trying to find yourself and your voice… (seriously, no big deal)
Your dissatisfaction means that you know something’s not quite right, and you don’t know where you want to go with this, or how. The fact that you’re out here trying means that you want to gain traction to go somewhere.
As a disoriented, but eager writer, this is a tough spot to be in. you’re flying blind, with no gravity or landmarks to guide you.
If you’re at this stage, the most important thing is to conduct self-mapping through writing. You’re using your writing as an interface to learn about yourself and potential fruitful directions to pursue.
How to write for self-mapping
Pretend you don’t know who you are, what you like, or are good at. leave behind any assumptions or guesses about the terrain that is you. you’re just information gathering.
Now, try as best as you can to implement a writing habit that exhibits the following traits:
- try very small pieces. be pithy.
- try different subjects, voices and angles.
- try publishing consistently. daily is best.
Here’s the thing: when you do something a lot of times, you can’t help but start developing intuition about it.with every rep, you’re collecting a piece of evidence that can be corroborated to a pattern about you and your writing.
Pay attention to markers like:
- the pieces you are the most proud of
- the pieces that were the fastest/slowest to write
- the pieces that resonated the least/most with people. is there a pattern between your most successful pieces?
Do reps until you’ve collected enough evidence that allows your gut to intuitively follow the markers you’ve found along the way to plot a route forward. (I seem to like writing about X, or X subject seems to resonate well with me/my audience)
IMPORTANT: Resist forced direction, i.e. wishful, projected thinking. look to the evidence to guide your intuition forward.
The idea is to map the territory between you and your writing. It’s a complex relationship, so you will need to collect many data-points to glean patterns from it. How many data-points, you say? Well, how many instances of a phenomenon do you need for your gut to be convinced that there’s something worth looking into here? That many. For me, the minimum was around half a dozen.