So You Want to Be a Creative Writer?

So you just got done reading an amazing book. The characters were really well developed, the plot was interesting, and suddenly, you wish you were smoking a pipe in a quaint little home under the hills of the Shire or learning how to transform a rat into a teacup in a historic castle beyond the English countryside. And then you start to think, wow, someone actually created this! A single person was able to develop a world where complex people exist and intertwine and have it all make sense. This person, to you, might seem like some sort of super genius, but they aren’t. They are just a person, like you, who had an idea and decided to move forward with it. So, as daunting as it may seem, know you are totally capable of writing a novel, short story, poem, comic, or whatever type of creative writing you want! But honey, though it’s possible, it sure isn't easy. So, here are some little bits of advice to keep in mind during the process.

1. Read, read, read a lot!

Even if you’re well into writing your novel, or whatever type of creative writing you please, you should always be reading something else in your free time. Reading itself already enhances your writing skills, boosts your vocabulary, and can give you some ideas if you’re stuck with writer’s block. Besides, seeing how other people write, and observing how certain elements of their writing is effective to you as a reader, is helpful. That way, you’ll know how to write for the specific audience you want to write to. Also, reading is good for the soul, so always read!

2. Do your research!

Let’s say you want to write a story that takes place in Japan in the 1500s. You should most definitely brush up on your knowledge of the time and place by reading about it before starting, just so you have an accurate sense of what life was like living in Japan in the 1500s. This also helps to shape your characters, because the politics, the climate, and whether or not there was a war or plague happening at the time is certainly going to affect your character’s attitudes, motivations, and beliefs. You certainly cannot get away with just guessing and writing the story without the context of culture in mind, as that’s extremely insensitive and can lead to unwanted stereotyping. Research is important for proper representation. Even if your story is a fantasy adventure taking place on a distant planet created entirely by you, you should still research norms of relevant genres, such as sci-fi and fantasy, so you’re not going in completely blind. 

3. That first draft is supposed to be sh**ty, so keep going.

I read somewhere that the purpose of your first draft is for your story to exist, then the second draft is when you start to clean it up so it makes sense. It can be so easy to get unmotivated to write if you feel that nothing you’re generating sounds good or that it isn’t doing what you want. But I kid you not, every single writer goes through this. I guarantee that even the greats had to go through this first step to get to where they are now. Don’t get down on yourself; you are still a great writer, and know that this is the unfortunate first step to creating your very own masterpiece.

4. Write a little bit every day.

I get it, life is very busy. You’ve got school, work, a social life, hobbies, and family. It can sometimes be weeks before you can find a few hours to settle down and write.  But it doesn’t have to be this way. You should write a little bit of something every day, and whether it be two sentences or three pages, you should always be continuing your story. Some days will be more fruitful than others, but if the only thing you can muster is a couple of sentences about one small detail, then good! That’s great! Something is always better than nothing.

5. Write something you would want to read.

Most importantly, you should remember why you’re writing. You are doing it for your own personal enjoyment, right? I sure hope you are, because writing takes a lot of time, energy, and commitment. Novels can take years to write, and even more to publish. You’re going to want to actually enjoy what you’re writing. 

Personally, I can apply the same logic to a relationship. You want to spend your time and energy on someone you truly care about, and with someone who loves, appreciates, and excites you. You wouldn’t want to spend time with someone who you aren’t truly interested in, just like you wouldn’t want to write a story that doesn’t interest you. Besides, if you’re truly passionate about a project, your best work will come out of it. Write what you love, and I promise you that it will turn out great.

Remember, the only thing stopping you from doing a little bit of creative writing is yourself. Go out there and make something special!

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