Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder.
Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.
It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
– Barbara Kingsolver
Kingsolver is an American novelist, whose novels (The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, Pigs in Heaven, The Poisonwood Bible) have been bestsellers.
Her advice is sound. But for a young writer . . . you can’t always close an actual door.
Let’s face it, sometimes there are other people around!
But what she means, then, is to close an imaginary door.
Create a “room” – even if it is an imaginary one that just creates an invisible shield around you. Inside, you can tune out the distractions. Inside, it’s okay to write, and explore thoughts, without someone looking over your shoulder. Without you worrying about that . . . without trying to write to please them.
“Closing the door” might just be the act of opening your writing notebook. When you do, let the world fade away. Even if everyone is still right there – your friends, your parents, your annoying kid sister or brother – ignore them.
And learn to write for yourself first.
Later, you can choose which parts of it to share. What to turn in for an assignment, or what might even be worthy to be published.
First, close the door. And write.
It’s part of figuring out what you really want to say.