Creative Writing – Getting Started

Creative Writingby Annette Young

Annette YoungIn my mind, the whole process of creative writing is wonderful, yes, even the good, the bad and the frustrating. I admit I am a little biased but, I am not sure that any creative pursuit or hobby can provide as much variety as creative writing. There are so many genres in which to study and so many techniques to learn. Still, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be fun. Right?

As you progress, you absorb a vast array of techniques and you gradually start to utilise these techniques to improve your writing skills. Eventually, you start to develop your own style and begin to write with greater confidence. But, it can take time for this development to happen and when you first start out, understandably, you make a lot of mistakes.

I truly believe that you never stop learning. There are always easier ways to produce compelling material and, more imaginative ways of generating ideas and applying them. But the learning curve can be as difficult or as streamlined as you want  it to be. You can learn quickly if you apply yourself or, you can take your time and learn through trial and error.  Your journey will be personal and unique.

In the last week or so, I’ve been talking to a few of the Creative Competitor News subscribers and, our Write, Learn and Publish members and many have said to me that they struggle to get started. They have ideas but are not sure what to do about it. Do they just write and get the words out or do they have a sense of purpose and plan? Do they write each day and if so, what do they write and how do they even develop winning ideas?  I was reminded that when starting out, the learning curve can seem vast. Yes, it’s absolutely important to cover the basics and as a writer, to know what you can and must achieve and, how you do so.

Then yesterday, I was talking to a friend about the creative process and he  admitted that he wouldn’t have a clue as to how to start writing a novel or even short story. It’s not surprising, there are numerous ways of doing so and the real trick is to understand how to make the relevant techniques work for you so that you can see real results.

Creative writing is a wonderful pastime, more, it’s addictive, especially when you start to develop your skills and see real improvements, which can come surprisingly quickly. But sometimes, you just need a helping hand to streamline the process or, to lay out an effective route forward. However you learn, make it fun and never give up. Try various creative options, flash fiction, twist in the tale stories, horror, comedy and so on. Find out what works for you.  I honestly believe that anyone can take the leap from beginner to professional if they really want to.

Need some help? We have coaching and numerous writing courses to inspire. Check out our latest writing course Creative Writing Toolkit (It’s on offer).

Your Way to Creative Writing Success

Writing Success

by Annette Young

When you first start creative writing, it can seem like a mammoth journey to take before you feel comfortable with your writing and can start to believe in your own abilities. It also takes a while to find your ‘voice’ and style. Part of your creative journey is to find out your writing strengths and to build the foundations of your skillset but you need to also accept any weaknesses that may be present currently and to spend time working on those areas which you may not enjoy quite so much. As with anything in life, sometimes we veer away from those tasks or elements which are not quite so appealing.

Let others see your work. This can be scary if you are not confident but it’s part of your progression. There’s a sense of joy and accomplishment when others read and enjoy your work and then you can progress to the next stage of your development by having a professional critique. This will enable you to understand any work that is required before you even think about publication.

It’s also a good idea to meet other writers. Join a writing group if you can or, team up with a like-minded individual and work on some writing projects together. This can help take the isolating factors away from writing. There is always something to learn in creative writing and this is good because it means you will not get bored but continuously strive forward learning new techniques until you can think and feel like a writer.

Never be scared to try out new writing techniques. You may naturally be drawn to one element of writing but in fact, your natural talent lies in another area. When teaching at college level, I found many of my students had fabulous writing skills but they had never even tried those aspects of writing before. When you try out new techniques, you increase your ability to write but you also expand your mind. Most of all, have fun with your writing. Set yourself mini-goals, write to deadlines, enter writing challenges, have a writing party where you have friends and families attending creative sessions.

The more time you can spend creatively, the more instinctive your writing will become. 

Do you need help with your writing? Try our Fiction Masterclass, Novel Writing Blueprint or, any of our Creative Writing Courses.

Writing Tip: Read This Out Loud

By Angela Shafer

In my experience as a writer, I’ve picked up a few tips along the way. Many were helpful hints from college professors, others came from my own experience. I think this one is one of the best, and, oddly enough, seemingly overlooked tips.

Editing is a bore. It’s a pain. It’s far too easy to gloss over what we’ve written (it’s not like we don’t know the ending) without really taking it in. How many novels and other works have you, dear reader, come across with wonky sentence phrasings and obvious wrong words? If they’d taken this first tip, perhaps it wouldn’t have happened.

Here’s the Tip:
Read what you’ve written out loud. I stress ‘out loud’. Reading it silently, even if you think you’re getting every word in, doesn’t work because your brain knows what you’ve written and it’s very easy for what was intended to magically show up on the page. But if you read it out loud, you have to pay attention to every word, every phrasing.

It’s like when you know, in your brain, what you intend to say, but when it comes out of your mouth, it doesn’t make sense. Have you ever said something, then said, ‘wait, that made sense in my head?’ That’s the point. Reading to yourself doesn’t work. You have to read it out loud, every word. You’ll probably be amazed at what you catch.

Another thing. Forget you have spell check, at least as a crutch. When I’ve offered this read-out-loud tip to writers, some have said, “I have spell check, so that’ll catch anything that needs to be fixed.”

Here’s an idea. Run this sentence through spell check:
I enjoy talking rides in the country.

Do you think spell check would catch anything in that sentence? No, because ‘talking’ was spelled correctly, though it made no sense in this sentence. Spell check only looks for misspelled words, not wrong words in context or wonky-worded sentences.

Here’s another angle on this tip: Read your work out loud, from end to beginning. You really have to concentrate on every word then. Start with the last word and work to the first, saying every word out loud. That’s a great way to catch things that might go unnoticed even if you read it out loud from beginning to end. Of course it won’t make perfect sense, but, by having to pay closer attention, you’ll probably get through a sentence and say ‘wait a minute,’ then read it beginning to end and realize there was a reason it made even less sense than it does reading it end to beginning.

If you’re a reader, settled in with a novel, and you read a sentence that makes no sense, though the words are spelled correctly, I’ll be honest, that’s not good. A story should free your imagination without making you stop to make sense of a wrong word or incoherent sentence. Take the time, as the writer, to catch-all the uh-ohs so your readers can cozy up and be taken to the world you’ve created.

It’s not just about concern for your readers, it’s about your own name and integrity as a writer. Your best advertisement is your work, so put the best work out there you can. Not everyone is the next great writer, but we can all at least pay attention to the details that can be fixed. Writing is something that requires passion. It asks no less than our body, mind, and spirit, so we, as writers, should care about what we put out there for others to read. A simple something like reading the work out loud might sound ridiculous, but when you start finding errors that would have been missed, it’s worth it. After that, you can still run spell check to make sure words you thought were spelled correctly actually are.

I write fiction under the pen name Willow D’Sabine. I’m the author of the Covenant Series, the story of Eliza Beck, who never really fit in with her ancestral Werewolf pack, but only when she was hunted by them did she realize she was actually what they hated most…a Vampire.

Please visit my site for the Covenant Series at
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