In the new year, many people think about new beginnings, perhaps having a go at a long-held dream. And for some, that dream is to write. It might be to finally write a specific book they’ve had in mind for years. Or maybe it’s just starting to write full stop. Whatever you want to do, if you’re a new writer here are four writing tips to help you out as you begin your writing journey.
1) It’s okay to make mistakes
Even after all the years I’ve been writing, the inner perfectionist in me still has a bit of a meltdown whenever I start something new. This is despite me knowing that it’s not going to be amazing the instant I do it. And that all first drafts are, well, wobbly at best. Every mis-step helps you learn, everything you write is an opportunity to get better. The beauty of writing is that the magic always happens in re-writing. Which you’re allowed to do as much as you want.
2) Learn from experts – but be careful what you pay for
There are tons and tons of resources for budding writers out there. Books, forums, magazines, websites, courses – if you’re looking help and advice, you don’t have to go much further than a quick Internet search. But be careful what open your wallet for. Of course writing teachers need to be paid for their time and expertese. But beware anyone who’s promising “the secret to instant writing success”. There isn’t one – as much as we may wish there was!
3) Write what you love
I think this is more important than “write what you know”. Writing should be fun. You should enjoy it (well most of it, it will also make you want to tear your hair out at times, but that’s for another blog post). I love reading fantasy and I love writing it. That doesn’t mean I don’t read or write outside of that genre, but it will always be where I return to. If you just try to write what you think people want to read, not only will you get bored pretty quickly, you’ll be doing them and yourself a dis-service. I’m not saying that you can’t treat writing like a business, but it’s not a get quick rich scheme. Whatever genre or story you love to write, chances are there will be an audience to read it too.
4) Try a bit of everything
Some people still cling to the idea that “great writers” can only be those who write books or possibly a lot of long poems. That’s rubbish. The beauty of words is that there are many ways to put them together. When you first start out, try writing a bit of everything. Poetry, screen-writing, radio plays, short stories – sample some of everything writing offers, until you find what works for you. And that may be more than one thing, depending on the story you want to tell, or emotions or ideas you’re trying to evoke. You can learn something from all forms of writing too, so it’s a great way to hone your skills.
What do you think? Any words of wisdom to pass on to new writers out there? Please share in the comments.