Tips for the Aspiring Writer

Recently, I wrote about how I Love to Write. I now want to take a moment to encourage others who think they might enjoy writing, but are not sure what to do. Here’s a few tips for aspiring writers:

1. Just start. You never do something you don’t begin. Even if you don’t think you’re a very good writer or if you’re not sure what to write about, just sit down with a computer or notebook and start writing. Write your thoughts. Do a Google search for writing prompts. Describe the scene from your back porch. Just start.

2. Write, write, write some more, and then rewrite. One of the temptations I often face is to craft the perfect thought (at least perfect to the way I think it). I can write a few sentences or a paragraph or even a page, and get so caught up in it not sounding right that I go back and delete. It’s frustrating and it slows the process down. The truth is, you will likely never be fully satisfied with a work. Two years later, I can reread something I wrote and edited and still find things that I want to change. That’s why they say it’s best to just write, get it down, and then go back and make changes when you’re finished. Let the process carry you and then edit.

3. Read a lot. One of the best ways to learn how to write and craft a story is by reading those who have written and crafted stories. Some are better than others, and the writing geniuses are few and far between, but there are a bunch of good writers to learn from.

4. That said, find your own voice. You’re not Stephen King, Robert Frost, Earnest Hemingway, or Maya Angelou. Don’t try to be. You’re you. Yes, you’ll find things to sharpen about your style, but let your own voice shine through.

5. Don’t fear critique. I have been a part of writer’s groups where we critiqued each other. I have friends who read and make suggestions. I don’t always follow their suggestions because of tip #4. Yet I have also grown and changed. When it comes to my stories, a critique I’ve heard with consistency is that my dialogue is often great and realistic but my descriptions can be wooden and lack color. That encourages me to keep doing what I do with dialogue but to put more thought into my descriptions of places and events.

What tips might you share with aspiring writers?

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I Love to Write

As long as I can remember, I have loved both reading and writing. Creating short stories has long been a hobby. Some elementary teachers even thought one day I’d grow up to be a professional author (that hasn’t happened yet). I have submitted some stories to various contests and shared them with others. Even though my stories have yet to be widely read, I still love to write.

I love to write because it lets my imagination soar. Our imaginations and ability to create art are a gift from God. It only makes sense that God who imagined, created, and tells a story through creation would impart the same to creatures made in his image. Humanity was designed to dream and create. Painting and drawing are not my forte, nor is making music. But I love to write and create worlds and characters through words.

I love to write because it helps me deal with stress. No matter your job, no matter where you live, no matter your family and friends, even with those being good, life is hectic. Certain things have to get done. We face pressure imposed by both self and others. We battle the tyranny of the urgent. Then life occasionally throws unexpected curve balls. We feel the stress. Each of us needs healthy ways of processing and de-stressing. Writing helps with this for me. Even if I begin a story and never finish it, I am able to channel thoughts and emotions in ways that reduces the pressure.

I love to write because it is fun. You might not feel the same way. Video games, jogging, or golf might be your thing. That’s the beauty of hobbies–our personalities, talents, and passions intersect to engage in something we enjoy. I hope the things I write can encourage others and bring them enjoyment. But even if I’m the only person to ever read something, I still love to write because it’s fun.

I love to write. Maybe you love something else. Find your hobby, make the time, and embrace it.