How to write, really write!

How to write, really write? This is the question that you may have asked yourself when someone sneers at your writing. Ignore them. Everybody has their own writing style. What you probably need is a bit of guidance to say what you want to say. 

Here are three easy steps that should help you to finish that book or that piece of extended writing that is still trapped inside your head.

 Know what you want to say.

This is self-evident, isn't it? It seems to be, but it is not! This is one of the reasons that your story is still trapped inside your head. So, what do you want to say? What is the topic that interests you, that you want to share with your audience?

 You want to write and many ideas are fighting for ascendancy in your head, but what is that burning idea on which you will focus your first book?

 Do you want to focus it on that special story that your grandfather used to tell you, or the one that your mother used to tell you before tucking you in bed, or the stories of your life or the lives of people that you have met along life's way, or your interest in a special romance or in romance generally, or your interest in sharing your expertise in your area of competence with others in the hope that they will benefit from your experience, or your interest in politics, society, culture, business, religion, the paranormal, science...? The list is endless.

 What aspect of of the topic of your interest do you want to write about? You have to sort through your thoughts to find that burning interest that is fighting for expression in your head. Once you have found it, you have found what your book will be about. You have found what you want to say. Then you move on to the next critical step.

 Say what you want to say

Since you have determined what you want to say, say it! If you want to be a writer for whatever reason, but never find the time or the courage to say what is on your mind, you will not realise your dream. So, now that you have clarified the ideas that have been running rampant in your head, and have chosen that one idea that cannot wait for expression, it is time to commit it to other media, paper or to your word processing programme.

 In writing your masterpiece, because this is what you think it is, you will do the following:

  •  Tailor your story to your audience.

 You have to make another decision before you commit pen to paper or your fingertips to the keys of your computer. You need to answer this question, "Is my masterpiece on which I have embarked fiction or non-fiction?"

 If your answer is fiction, you have a story that is roiling inside your head that wants to get out. You want this story to get out so that everybody can read it. But wait! Everybody? That would be nice, wouldn't it? But realistically, you know that only some people will read it. So, you examine the story that is in your head, fighting for release, and you determine which people are most likely to be interested in reading that story, whether children of a certain age and point of view, or adults of a certain age and point of view. Once you have determined this, you are ready to communicate this story to that audience.

  •  Get familiar, very familiar, with the conventions of grammar of the language in which you write.

 Know how the grammar of your language works and how to manipulate it to your advantage. For example, how do the tenses work? You do not want to be moving in and out of the tenses for no apparent reason that the reader can discern. You want to be consistent in your use of grammar. Do some research about grammar before you begin to write. Take from the findings of your research whatever suits you.

  • Do research on the conventions of fiction and non-fiction.


 If you are writing fiction, you know the elements of a story and how to manipulate them to keep your audience engaged.

You have your storyline, your plot. But from whose point of view will you tell your story? You decide. You may decide to tell it from a first person point of view, a second person point of view or a third person point of view. You make your decision because you know which point of view suits your purpose.

 In addition, you know that there is no story without a manageable number of characters and these characters must be presented in such a way that your audience gets a sense of who they are. And you know that one way to do this is to allow them to speak, to act and to have other characters talk about them. So, throughout your story, you do this. You develop your characters.

 Also, you know the role and importance of conflict in your story, so you identify this conflict and you include it. And, you know about the need to build suspense in your story and you do it.

Moreover, the idea of climax is not lost on you, so you write in such a way to take your reader to that high point.

Furthermore, you understand the need for a resolution and you resolve the conflict in your story.


If you decide to write non-fiction, you may borrow some of the elements used by the fiction writer to enhance your story, if you so desire. Or, you may use formal, regimented techniques to entertain, educate, and/or persuade your audience, depending on your purpose for writing.

You know the conventions of expository writing. So, you draw on any of them that suits your purpose. And, you structure your work to bring clarity to your audience.

You may use a variation of this structure. You introduce your your thesis in persuasive terms. You outline the points to support your thesis in paragraphs, using sub-headings where necessary. You include illustrations, if you are moved to do so, and you conclude your work by using any of the conventions of doing so that suits you, or you do it your way.

 Having said what you wanted to say, you move on to the next step.

 Edit your work

 If you have the competence to do this, go ahead and do so. However, you may find that in spite of your best efforts, you miss a few glaring errors. So, you probably have made the decision to get your work to a professional who has experience in editing to assist you. Even so, you may realise, after the fact, that your work is not error free, but you take solace in your realisation that your work, having gone through the process of editing, will provide the reader with a better reading experience than it would, if you had allowed it to be published without going through this third step.


 Remember that I said that to write, to really write, you need to have something to say, say it then edit it, suggesting that the end product of this process will be the book or the extended bit of writing that you have always wanted to write? This is often the ideal.

You may realise during the process of editing that you did not say exactly what you wanted to say or you did not say it how you wanted to say it. You then go through a process of tinkering with what you have written to get it to what you had envisioned it to be.

 You will discover that writing is an exciting, but a tedious process. And, you will also realise that the end result is quite satisfying.

So, if you long to see your name in print for whatever reason - you have something to say and you believe that others should read it, perhaps? Go ahead and write!

Before you go, spend a few minutes to browse the blog, subscribe to get the latest posts as soon as they are published and do read some of my other posts about writing.

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About the Author

Janette B. Fuller is a teacher and author of three books. Her business is to write stories set in the place she knows best – Jamaica – while also helping writers to write their own stories. 

When you are ready to write your story and/or after you have written your story, make contact with her at for coaching and editing services, respectively. Check out her books here


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