So you want to start writing?
You’ve decided to finally take the plunge and start on a creative endeavor, and you’ve chosen writing as your discipline.
First, YAY!!! 🎉🎉🎉 I’m so excited for you!!!
Deciding to start a new creative hobby is no small feat and there are so many benefits that come from being creative.
It’s so easy to be overwhelmed with the large amount of (not all good) information that is out there. Seriously, I’ve read blogs about writing that were not well written. Yikes!
To make it easy for you I’ve compiled a few tips on how to start writing that make it easy to take those first steps.
Now, this isn't "how to be a good writer", I can't tell you how to do that because you have to work on that yourself, but I can help you find the right direction when it comes to writing. There is no wrong way to start writing. You just have to find the way that works best for you.
You can’t write if you can’t read, right? Well, the more you read, the better you’ll write. (Say all of that 10x fast!)
Read everything you can get your hands on. If you want to write science fiction then read as much science fiction as you can. Read the good stuff, read the bad stuff, read all of it. Reading the good stuff helps you learn what works and reading the bad stuff helps you learn what doesn’t.
But don’t stop there, just because you want to write science fiction doesn’t mean that’s all you should read. Read non-fiction, read romance, read biographies, read newspapers. Reading different types of writing can help you find a style you like.
Just don’t read so much that you forget to make time to write, ok?
Create a Habit Out of Writing
Writing isn’t just something you can do every once and awhile. If you want to be good at what you do, you have to practice.
Make it a habit to write a little bit every day. Get a notebook or journal and carry it with you everywhere. I mean everywhere. To the doctor’s office, to school, to work, on a blind date so you can write about how awful it is while it’s still happening. Ok, maybe don’t actually do that but you get the idea.
Write down your observations while waiting for the bus. Journal about your day, your thoughts and feelings. Write down daydreams and turn them into short stories. Create conversations you imagined having with the cute cashier.
Once writing becomes a regular habit it will then become like second nature. You won’t be able to wait to get out a pen and paper to write down your thoughts.
There are no bad ideas when it comes to brainstorming so write down every single idea that comes into your head. Keep a special list or notepad just for your brainstorming ideas for easy access in case you think of something on the go.
Write down everything that you think of no matter how lame you might think it is. I promise you, someone out there would love to read your story of a turtle that can fly and can talk to dogs. (I mean, people love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so why not?)
Brainstorming can also help you when you feel like you’ve got creative block.
Write What You Know and Explore What You Don’t
This is a common saying when it comes to writing: Write what you know. And I imagine people say that because it’s easy (well, easier) than writing about what you don’t know. And even though it’s easier, it’s not quite as interesting.
I don’t know about you, but I like a challenge. I like to learn new things and I like exploring different topics. So if I come up with a topic during a brainstorming session that I love but it’s something I’m not familiar with I might get put off at first but that doesn’t mean I’ll give up on it.
This goes back to my first tip about reading. The more you read about an unfamiliar topic the better you will be able to write about it. And even if it’s familiar topic, it doesn’t hurt to do a little research to help refresh what you already know.
Be Comfortable with Being Bad
It’s ok to be a terrible writer. It’s ok to not like what you’re writing. You know what’s not ok? Giving up.
No one ever wrote an amazing novel straight out of the gate. There are first drafts, second drafts, third drafts, revisions, and rewrites, cutting of scenes, and so on.
The sooner you realize not everything you write is going to be perfect (heck, probably nothing you ever write is going to be ~perfect~) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Imagine if JK Rowling had given up the first time a publisher said no to Harry Potter. (I don’t want to imagine that world because that world would suck!)
So give yourself the freedom to be a bad writer and write bad stories! After all, how can we tell if we’re improving if we don’t have any bad work to compare our good work to?
If you’ve never written anything before or you’ve only ever written for school assignments and it’s been forever, then start small. Don’t start out trying to write an epic Tolkien-esque trilogy complete with multiple languages and detailed maps.
If that’s your goal then that’s really awesome but why don’t you start out with something a little less daunting? I mean you wouldn’t immediately run a marathon the day you buy your running shoes, would you? No, you would practice, and work out slowly increasing your mileage and slowly challenging yourself more and more until you’ve reached marathon level.
The same goes for writing. Start out writing short stories. Find your voice and eventually start writing longer and longer pieces. Get the practice in and then do the work for whatever your goal may be.
Just Do It
Take a page out of Nike’s book and just do it! What’s stopping you?
If you’re reading this post then chances are you have a smartphone, tablet, or computer and can utilize some form of document program. Open it up and start typing! If you’d rather do things by hand then grab a writing utensil and the closest piece of paper and start scribbling down some ideas! (Just make sure whatever paper you find isn’t something important like your phone bill, child’s artwork, or a birth certificate.)
The only thing that you really need to start writing is to actually start. You could read all the tips and all the blog posts and all the books in the world about writing but if you don’t actually start writing, then all those tips were for nothing.
I know you can do it. I believe in you!
Well, that’s all I have for you today. What are you waiting for? Go be creative!
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