Even though I first discovered the wonders of writing at the age of eleven, I didn’t pursue it seriously until later on in life.
There are certain aspects of the writing life I’d wished experienced writers had given me guidance on.
But those were the days before technology was as it is today.
Before individuals such as Gabriela Pereira, Brian Murphy, J Thorn, Grant Faulkner, and Joanna Penn.
These are authors who have used technology (online workshops, podcasts, etc.) to pass on their wisdom and knowledge to writers looking to learn more about the writing craft and how to get their work out into the world.
If you’re a writer just starting out and have yet to discover the things and people mentioned above, I will pass on a few tips that I’ve learned over the years.
You don’t need anyone’s permission to write.
If you want to write, write! You don’t need permission from your significant other, family members, friends, co-workers or anyone to do this.
It is okay to experiment.
As a new writer, it is okay to write like your favorite authors.
You’re just starting out and the more you write, in time you will develop your own unique voice and writing style.
Feel free to experiment in different forms and genres.
Some examples of the forms I’m talking about are – essay, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screen/play/drama.
The sky’s the limit so don’t hold yourself back if you want to dabble in various parts of the writing craft.
This is one way you’ll discover your writing specialty/niche.
Tell the inner critic to take a hike.
Every single writer, be it Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Terry Brooks, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Toni Morrison, J R R Tolkien, started the same way no matter the form.
Each began with the first draft.
And every first draft, no matter how good a writer is, tends to be crappy.
Full of grammatical errors, plot holes, underdeveloped characters/ideas, and so forth.
Here are a few quotes from authors who understood the value of first drafts:
“The first draft of anything is shit.” — Ernest Hemingway
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box, so that later, I can build castles.” — Shannon Hale
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ―Terry Pratchett
“It doesn’t matter if it’s good right now, it just needs to exist.” — Austin Kleon
“Good stories are not written. They are rewritten.” — Phyllis Whitney
As you begin the first draft, tell your inner critic to go away (it can be used for when you begin the revision process) and allow the words to flow without any thought for grammar or how terrible it might be.
Allow yourself to play and explore! There are no rules for any first draft!
Those can be applied later.
Reading is important.
One of the best ways to learn about the writing craft is to read.
Read in the forms and/or genres you intend to write.
You’ll get a better feel as to what and how the finished products might look like.
By reading, you might find an author whose work you’d like to emulate.
Also through reading, seeds of ideas tend to be planted that might produce new characters and adventures to call your own.
Being a part of a community is essential.
Writing tends to be a lonely endeavor which is why finding a community of writers is important for your success, and not to mention for your sanity!
They could be found in your local towns or cities, or online.
There are many ways being in a community could help you as a new writer. Here are a few benefits listed in an article by Jami Gold:
- A community is a place where you can have your questions answered.
- A community is a place where you can find support and accountability.
- A community is a place where experienced writers will share their valuable expertise and help guide you through any difficulty you might encounter.
Remember, learning the craft of writing is not a race.
It is a lifelong process where you will continually be learning new things about it and about yourself.
Looking for a way to improve in your craft?
Here is one (free) upcoming event to check out:
Plot Your Novel In Five Days by Brian Murphy
Let me know if you like to hear more about these kinds of stuff!