I have always wanted to be a writer, but as a teenager sitting down and writing seemed SO hard. Now, at the age of 22, I can say that I have written a book. And yes, it was hard, and I spent SO many hours crying and eating ice-cream and telling myself I couldn’t do it, but I did. It was at times, horrible and at other times so, so rewarding, but I picked up some tips along the way that helped me in my writing journey, and if these tips inspire anyone to open up a word document and get typing then YAY!
1) Write little and often
I see many tips that say ‘write every day’, but sometimes it’s impossible to write every single day, and sometimes you just need a break! Write when you can, and as frequently as you can. Write whilst you’re waiting in the doctors, or on the tube, or get up half an hour earlier than usual and get some writing done before work. Writing isn’t something you have to do all day, and actually, I find myself getting more done when I have to squeeze writing in alongside everyday life. Don’t focus on the words you’re writing, or deleting, because every word counts. If you write 30 words in one day, and then delete 31 the next – great, you’re getting closer, word by word, to that finished project.
2) Don’t be downhearted by your first draft
As the great Ernest Hemingway said: ‘the first draft of anything is shit’. And it’s true. You’re first draft is all about getting the words on the page, however awful those words are. It’s all about getting your story straight – it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t read pretty. So get those words down (no matter how much your inner editor wants to redraft) and when you finish, get yourself a massive cup of tea and give yourself a pat on the back, you wrote something – and that is a massive achievement.
3) Get involved in the community
The writing community is massive and oh so wonderful. Follow other aspiring writers on twitter, support them and make friends – you’ll pick up tips and make friends, and that itself will help your writing. I met both my critique partners on Twitter and they have made my writing so much stronger. There’s a great sense of camaraderie between writers, and there are so many great projects and competitions to enter into online. If you fancy writing really quickly, why not take part in the National Novel Writing Month and write 50,000 words in the month of November.
4) Experience life
When I was younger, I imagined writers would spend all day every day at a laptop, tapping away. And whilst getting the words written is very important, experiencing life is also vital for any writer. So visit that museum, or go to London and see the sights, or kiss that boy – you never know when inspiration will strike. Just going on a simple walk could help get rid of some pesky writers block. In order to write true, meaningful stories, life experience is essential. So go and enjoy yourself, and think of it as research for your next big writing project.
5) Have fun with it
Write what you love, what you want to write – write freely and have fun, there’s no point if you’re not enjoying yourself. If you want to write the next epic fantasy, then go for it! Never hold yourself back from your writing. Whether you want to write novels, or short stories or poetry, then this mantra applies; work hard, write bravely and be happy.
So those are my tips for beginner writers, they helped me a lot when I was first writing (and they still help me a lot), so I really hope that this list will encourage some of you to pick up a pen and get writing. If you’ve got any to add, let us know in the comments below!