Writers get their motivation, inspiration, and ideas from a variety of sources. Today’s exercise is to use a Twitter post as inspiration.

“Why is writing so much harder for me than it is for everybody else?” — every novelist ever, secretly to themselves, all the time – Lev Grossman.

Click HERE to read the comments to Lev’s statement.

I’m not sure every novelist says this while they are writing, especially if they have at least one work that has been published.

Image courtesy of antpkr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of antpkr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I think, however, that many writers say this as they are working on their first piece, that students in high school and college say this as they are writing essays on topics they don’t care about, that people who have not been allowed freedom in writing (again students who must write to a given form) – who have been expected to follow the 5 paragraph essay form.

Think about your schooling. Were you expected to follow five paragraph formatting? Were you expected to include 12 sentences in each paragraph? Did the thesis statement need to fall last in the first (introductory) paragraph?


Were you ever asked to be creative in what you write only to be told that you didn’t follow the format?

As a retired teacher, I encourage you to go beyond what you were taught about writing in high school. Not everything can be addressed, or should be addressed, in the five paragraph essay form.

The college professor cringes when asked how many paragraphs or how many sentences in each paragraph. Even my high school students cringed when I told them that should be concise and contain only as many sentences as it takes to get the point across, AND that it should contain sentences of various structures and lengths.

Want to become a better writer? READ!

Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Read the classics, read the newspaper (even if it is one that is poorly written), read poetry, read mystery, history, romance, and science fiction, read magazines and journals, read biographies and memoirs.

Want to become a better writer? DISCUSS!

Discuss what you read and the reasons you liked the piece or didn’t like the piece. Join a book discussion group. They are easy to find. Check the local book stores, the library, and even community events publications. Discuss the news and your opinions. Discuss your dreams. Discuss the future.

Want to become a better writer? CRITIQUE AND BE CRITIQUED!

Look for a group where you can be inspired to write – where you can come together with that group, read your piece, and have the members in the group discuss the piece. YUP! It’s scary. It’s nerve wracking. But it is a great motivator that will help you write better.

Finally, want to become a better writer? WRITE!

Set a timer for 10 – 15 minutes each and every day and write. Write to a prompt. Write about what has happened during the day or week. Write about a person you know or just met. Write to describe something. Hand write a letter to someone. Respond to emails.




  1. Excellent post. I have to join a critique group but as you said, it is scary. Well, honestly, I don’t “have to” but I do want to continue developing the skill of short stories (which I had hoped would be addressed in this class).

    1. Before I moved to Tennessee, the critique group I was in had a monthly prompt that each of us used to write a piece of no more than 1000 words. Then, each month we brought a copy of our writing, passed out the copy so people could follow as we read, and then people would give their comments. Finally, people took the copy home, wrote on it, and returned them the next month. I miss it.

      1. That sounds excellent. A month before I began my blog I joined a meetup writing group. I liked it at first but then the only published writer there gave me the feedback, “I don’t see where you are going.” It wasn’t helpful and hurt my pride. So I started a blog and continue to grow and learn and develop.

        I will, in time, try face to face again. I definately like that they gave everyone a prompt. It is one of the reasons I like writing to prompts.

        The one I am most faithful to is called Finish It! and after I’ve written a story I love to go back and read where the inspiration took everyone else. It’s fun to see when we all head in the same direction and when we all head in vastly diverse directions. My stories can be found under the storytelling tab of Memee’s Supershort Stories menu. You can find the link to Finish It! at the end of each story if you’re interested in checking it out.

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