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    Getting started when it comes to writing stories or essays for ourselves (not school) can be very difficult. A lot of young writers can feel like they are on their own and don't know where to go or how to get started. These are some helpful suggestions for the aspiring writer that wants to work hard to become better.

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    A lot of people think that writing is some sort of ethereal activity that some people have and some don't. It's that simple, you either have it or you don't. Others believe that writing is about inspiration, catching it whenever it strikes and magically turning it into the right words and sentences to create something that someone will want to read.

    I disagree. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about writing out there today. If beginning writers (especially young ones) start believing in this myth, then they could hurt their chances of getting better. Improvement is always possible, and this is very important to keep in mind.

    The most direct parallel out there relates to sports. Natural talent has a lot to do with how good you are at a given sport, but you can always make improvements in your game if you are willing to work hard at it.

    When I was seven I decided I wanted to play baseball. The first season I played I hit two foul balls, got one hit, and struck out the rest of the time. I made countless errors and muttered to myself why on earth I kept humiliating myself day after day when it was pretty clear I was no good at this game. The answer was clear: I thought it was a great sport and I wanted to be able to play it. So I practiced everyday for a year until I started to get the hang of it. I started to hit the ball more and more. My arm got stronger simply because I was using it in ways I had never used it before. Five years later I got a telegram telling me I had been chosen to represent my country in a baseball tournament in Japan. The next year we went to Panama to play for a chance to represent Latin America in Williamsport, Pennsylvania at the Little League World Series. I would go on ...

    Solution Summary

    Writing suggestions are embedded.