Someone has to write those books we all love to read! Writing can be a hobby, a profession, a long lost love, a dream, but also something to dread. The reality is that writing can be just as intimidating or downright scary as it is wonderful. It can feel like you’re barely treading water, or maybe you don’t even know where to start. Here are five tips for getting started with your writing, no matter what genre or style you’re going for.
1. Read. A Lot.
It goes without saying, but you’ll need to read a book if you want to write one. Or two. Or as many as you can get your hands on. Reading will teach you quite a bit about what sounds good, what doesn’t, what genre you want to write, and even give you a good foundation with your current work. If you’re on this site in the first place, chances are you already love to read, but you need to read EVERYTHING: fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and all that comes between. It all helps. Can you imagine the very first authors who didn’t have this wealth of information and imagination at their fingertips? Thankfully, we don’t have to.
It will also be helpful to actually read about the craft of writing. Here is an article listing some good books to start out with.
2. All Practice Is Worth It
I struggled a lot this year with what my writing has been about. I have gotten consuming, must-be-written ideas that turned out to be fanfiction and novellas, the latter having very little demand and the former would never be published. It can be hard even starting a project that you know isn’t going to bear fruit, but trust me: it’s all practice, and it’ll make you a better writer. Seriously. I have plenty of failed novel attempts, fanfiction pieces, and stories that are too long to be published as short stories and too long to be published as novels, and I would not be the writer I am today without them. Not even close. So, that idea you’re not so sure about? Go for it. Just try.
3. Build A Platform
You can get so much out of writing and life by just simply writing, but if publication is your dream, then people actually reading your work is really important. So many publishers will take an author a lot more seriously if they already have a reading base to work with. If you’re not published yet, good steps to take are to create a blog and a Facebook author page. Add a Twitter handle. Post excerpts of your latest work. If you’re writing fanfiction at the moment, or you want more critique on original work, Fanfiction, Fictionpress, and Wattpad are great places to go. Create that base and create a conversation: the more people who are interested in you, the better.
4. Set Goals, Deadlines, And/Or Checklists
We would never face those blank pages without them, right? As tedious as they are, goals and deadlines are a great way to stay on track. Many a novel and story were never written because an author forgot about or shied away from it, and making yourself accountable helps you believe that what you’re writing is important. Staying on track can help guarantee that your work is finished.
If you’re a bit of a free spirit like me and deadlines terrify you, go for checklists. Write down everything you need to get done, and check off one or two a day until you ingrain a habit. This allows for more freedom: you can do things out of order, and you won’t get scared by “You need to get this and that done today.”
5. Just Do It
For all the work Americans do on a day to day basis, for some reason, we tend to think that our writing is awful. For some of us, nothing is more intimidating than a blank page, and our minds can trick us into thinking that we can do other, “more important” things. Sure, dishes are important, but writers need to write. No matter what garbage we can spew out, we need to remember that we can always edit, start another project, or form another idea from what we write today. So in the words of Nike: just do it.
Are you a writer? What advice would you give other writers?
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