Creative writers are thought to be brooding, angsty, mercurial, and sometimes, a little wacky.
To be honest, some of these attributes are true. But, creative writers also are highly imaginative, passionate, sensitive, truthful, dedicated, and genuine people.
So, if you’re okay with the montage of juxtaposing qualities and still want to pursue the vocation, here are five tips toward becoming a creative writer.
1. Stick with a schedule
Let’s face it, writing is hard work. Sitting down with a project that’s difficult — and occasionally unsatisfying — can be exhausting. But, almost all the great authors have cited sticking with a schedule as paramount to success in the business. If you’re not sitting down to write, then that manuscript will not get finished. And if you wait for inspiration to strike, you’ll end with the same result. I’ve learned if you stick it out and sit down, eventually — even after a few bad paragraphs — you might strike something epic.
This might seem like a no-brainer. But if you want to write, you have to read. Reading classics and popular contemporaries will teach you good skills and techniques, as well as give you a breadth of knowledge of the kinds of stories that exist and what works. Plus, reading short stories and novels can help you uncover secrets to character and plot that might otherwise elude you.
3. Stay active
Sometimes if you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours and only written 13 words, it’s time to take a break and go for a walk. The simple act of going outside and seeing other people can be a great impetus and catalyst for story ideas. It’s a fun exercise to free write as you’re taking in different sights and smells. You never know what you may stumble upon — it could lead to your next best seller.
4. Keep a journal
When I was in undergraduate creative writing workshops, one of my professors asked us to keep a journal. He wanted us to document different observations about our day and pay particular attention to our five senses.
‘Show, don’t tell’ is the famous modus operandi of writers, and writing down observations and descriptions will exponentially help your imagery and scene-setting skills. In addition, analyzing and observing social situations can be tremendously helpful. They often are the cornerstone of a narrative and can take off in new and wild directions.
5. Attend workshops
Workshopping probably is one of the most important factors for becoming a creative writer. If you are truly dedicated and want to publish your novel or memoir, you’ll have to let people read your stories.
Workshops are a great place to start. They’re encouraging and welcoming spaces where people can share and critique each other’s work in a safe environment. Workshops are an excellent resource to gauge how your writing will be received once it’s out in the world. You also may discover your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Having a support system to help you through the trial and error can be an excellent resource.
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Theresa Duncan was a PRWeb editor at Cision. She’s a creative writer, and hopes one day to publish novels.