Learning to Write: History

To understand where I'm going, you need to understand where I've been.

Here are 26 years of my progress with writing.

I was an average English student, with C's far into the horizon.

The first time I took an interest in writing was at college studying music production. My essays were long. I couldn't stop writing, as it was a subject that fascinated me.

Being young, stupid and naive, in that order, I thought I could write. 'What else could there be to learn?' I mused. I first shared my writing publicly in 2016, while at University. I wrote one blog post a day for 35 consecutive days. You can find them on Medium, although, I wouldn't recommend reading them.

In the middle of 2019, I read one book on writing:

  • On Writing - Stephen King

In the middle of 2020, I read ten books on writing:

  • Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
  • On Writing Well - William Zinsser
  • Writing to Learn - William Zinsser
  • The Art of X-Ray Reading - Roy Peter Clark
  • The Elements of Style - William Jr. Strunk
  • Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer - Roy Peter Clark
  • How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times - Roy Peter Clark
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation - Lynne Truss
  • How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times - Roy Peter Clark
  • Draft No. 4: On The Writing Process - John McPhee

I have listened to every episode of the Tim Ferriss show, absorbing bits and pieces of writing advice. I cannot quantify exactly how much or what, but it's there, floating around in my subconscious.

Throughout the last six years, I have read both non-fiction and fiction books. These, I think, have given me a baseline for how good writing can sound. Although, I have read the occasional trashy romance novel. Don't judge me. We all love a predictable story with a happy ending.

I have regularly read, the blog 'Writing Routines' over the last five years. I do love a good routine.

Poetry and word-smithing are two long-time interests. I have listened to hundreds of old-school Hip-Hop albums, when storytelling was the genre's art form. Mary Oliver, Rumi and Charles Bukowski are among my favourite Poets. Side-note: If any Poetry experts stumble across this, please reach out. I'd love to broaden my horizon here.

I wrote this article in 2020 and a handful of others that are not published.

This brings us to February 2021.

I wasn't committed to learning the art of writing until around the start of February, and this is where I'll begin documenting my progress bi-weekly. You weren't serious, yet you read 10 books on it? I know, I told you I'm crazy. That was my 'I might learn more about this’ phase. I have loved writing for years and had written bits (even short stories) but that trash-talker I mentioned on my about page held me back.

That is everything for now. I will be leaving this page unedited, that way we can both look back in a year and share a giggle at my prose.

Last updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2021.

Read next: Learning to Write 01: February 2021

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