How to write well

4 minute read
Author: SarahWHQ

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We have a secret to tell you.

It’s about writing.

Which is lucky because that’s why you’re here.

It’s a controversial secret because we make our living selling creative writing courses and what we’re about to say may well see us all on the streets by Christmas. But it’s important you hear it.

Are you ready?

Here it comes.

You can’t learn how to write.

There. We said it.


Stay with us, champ.

Writinggood writingis about feeling the story.

It’s about seeing it in all its visceral, palpable story-self, about understanding the lies that light the way to truth.

It’s about the emotion of it.

Writing stories, singing songs, making art, all of these things are the manifestation of our emotional selves. Removing them from our bodies and plonking them on a page. That’s why stories follow life; the fin de siecle as a response to the fears and anxieties of the time; modernism as a freak out about industrialisation and technological advance; teenage girls saving the world from totalitarian regimes as a response to… well… you know where we are now.

People always say the best stories are the ones that are raw and vulnerable, the ones that are honest and have heart. The ones that tell the truth. And all of that comes from somewhere other than a textbook.


Let’s back up for a second here.

Because look, yes, you can learn the technicalities (phew, that’s lucky, Christmas at WHQ is saved! Buy more stuff!). Just like you have to learn your scales on the piano, brush techniques for watercolour, or a handful of Newtonian principles before you can design a skyscraper, you need to know how stories work. You need to know where to tug and nudge and push to make your words go. You need a strong foundation so you can explore the wild heights above. You need to practice the fundamentals over and over again until they come to you as quickly as 2 x 2.

That’s the slog.

But the real work? That comes from the heart. And ya know what? We can’t teach you that.

Those of you who have been around for a while know that we might be excellent at teaching you the technical-schmechnicals, but Writers’ HQ is also a secret cult luring people into intense emotional journeys that free you to truly write your best stuff (and so that we can build our secret army of artists to spearhead the revolution shhh don’t tell anyone).

We can’t teach you about your own heart.

But we can remind you where it is.

Writer-buddy, there are thousands of us out here, just like you, trying to get our stories written, day after day, putting the words down again and again until something sticks, with no apparent reason why some things work, and some things don’t. And you might feel disheartened when something doesn’t work, but you have to try again because you’re not the kind of person who just gives up, are you?

Are you?

AND! In between all of this technical-ing and emotion-ing, we’re all just trying to live our lives and just get by, and wow the world is really quite scary right now so how do we all cope with that? We’re all out here, flailing on our own, arms spinning Kermit-style, like a million syncopated hands slapping ourselves in the faces over and over, arrhythmic and lonely and stinging, but when we’re together, gradually those flails start to come together, in time, like fists beating against a chest. All of us. In time. Boom boom. Boom boom.


Making art.

Telling stories.

There are thousands of us out here. Millions.

What is your heart telling you?

Go write.

 Sarah and Team WHQ

Gold Star Writers’ HQ members get access to in-depth story deconstructions to show you how the best stories work, as well as regular goal setting workshops to make sure you achieve your goals. Give yourself a lovely little writerly gift – get your membership here >>

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