As my friend Marko Bijelic told me: “Most important of all, don’t think about when you’re writing. Just write whatever comes into your head.”
This isn’t easy, of course. You’ll spend most of your time fighting against your natural inclinations, trying to think about things that really don’t matter, rather than just writing.
It’s like being at a party where everyone’s talking to each other. Except instead of the chatter not really making much sense, it makes sense in a very different way, and it has a lot to do with a weird sub-culture that isn’t really your place.
The end result is that you try to use sentences that are more intelligent and more well-formed, but also more complicated and longer.
For most writers, this process doesn’t end in a draft that’s truly simple or a final draft that’s truly brief. But I know a lot of other writers who do write as simply as I do. So if your writing is messy, incomplete, or unnecessarily difficult, maybe you just need to try it their way.
We live in a society where everything is too complicated. Too many rules. Too many people. Too many problems. We need to find ways to make life simpler, so we can better enjoy it.
I think simplicity is one way. And it’s the way I’ve always written.
Do you want to write in a way that’s simple, but useful? It’s easy to find writing prompts like this one in many styles. Read them, and practice writing in a way that’s simple. Then ask yourself, is there anything about that which you can’t cut out? Is there any part that you can eliminate?
Then ask yourself, how can I write that would make a simpler experience?
The ability to simplify our lives is one of the most important qualities of a good writer. A cleaner life is a better life.
Perhaps the single biggest reason I still write my fiction that way is that I think simpler is better. It’s the only way I can write. The only way I can think. The only way I can enjoy myself.
I hope it helps you.