Exploring Creativity

Just Keep Writing by Grace Deak

People have often asked me how I can write so much. They think there’s some secret – that I’ve found a cure for writer’s block or sold my soul to avoid burnout – but I don’t have a magic potion or anything. The truth is I simply don’t know how to not write. More often than not, I spend my free time in my room with my laptop open and my fingers flying across the keyboard.

People have often been in awe of how quickly I can type. My secret is that I don’t type “correctly” – I type how I taught myself. My secret is that I started writing fanfiction on my iPod 4 when I was eleven, which taught me the placements of each letter on the keyboard. The knowledge of letter placements carried over to computer keyboards, and over the course of one summer, my typing speed had improved tenfold.

When people ask me for writing advice, I (ironically) find myself at a loss for words. There’s already so much advice out there, and most every rule has an exception. Besides, who am I to dictate someone else’s creative writing journey? Half of what I know is self-taught and the other half are skills that can only truly develop with time.

But maybe the best advice is just that: Push yourself forward and practice. Don’t worry about doing it “correctly”. If I’d worried about teaching myself how to type with my fingers on the proper keys, staring only at the computer screen, I would have resigned myself to a fate of slow typing forever. If I’d worried about making sure my words were perfect, I never would have moved past the self-insert Percy Jackson fanfic I wrote in sixth grade.

I tell my sisters that using the speech-to-text feature on their phone will never help them type faster. If they want to type as quickly as I do, they have to get over themselves and practice. You have to type slow before you can type fast. Writing is the same way: You have to write bad before you can write well. I owe every word I write now to the choppy, tell-y, stories written by painstakingly searching my iPod keyboard for each letter.

You have to keep going, even if you feel like everything you write is a mess. I started and scrapped this blog post seven times before settling on what you’re reading now. The words will come so long as you’re willing to tease them out of your brain, and the more you write, the more improvement you will see.

I write so much not because writer’s block never trips me up or because I’m immune to burning myself out, but because I know the only solution is to press forward. I write so much because I love it and because I know every single word on the page makes me a better writer than I was before it was written.