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).

Looking Back Creatively

Writing

by Annette Young

I have long advised writers to cherish all of their writing attempts and to have a file – whether offline or online so that they can dip into those past realms of creativity, to remember the influences of the time and to even cast a smile at those early attempts. But looking back also provides a fantastic way to chart your personal progress. 

I did just this today. 

The Creative Competitor site is absolutely huge. Due to former technical problems, we had to strip back a lot of the content (and by this I mean un-publish) so that we could determine where the core technical problems existed, and so we came across a huge amount of long forgotten content. Even though, the technical problems were resolved, going through all of the old content is a massive job and still a work in progress and today, I dedicated an hour to the task changing categories and sub-categories and eliminating out of date writing techniques and tips so that the content is accurate and easier to find. While  doing so, some of my early articles emerged from the depths of the site and made me smile. 

My early writing style was noticeable and it was all to easy to recall those early influences. Although I rarely have time to blink, let alone look back, it certainly can be satisfying to do so. Not only did I recognise my progress in writing but it was an enticing reminder of those creative moments and I could visualise myself sitting in my old office, typing away on one of my first computers, still learning all the technical aspects as well as trying to write ‘THE ARTICLE’ that would gain me early recognition. I remembered all my hopes and inspirations at that time and it was a wonderful trip down memory lane.  

When I think back to how far my own creative journey has come and, is still continuing to grow, it simply amazes me. Little did I know right in my early days of trying to write professionally just where my creative endeavours would take me. I never imagined years later having a website like The Creative Competitor, I never imagined I would become a professional writing tutor teaching adult learners at college level, I never imagined that I would write full-time for a living, although that was something I yearned for. I think all writers should rummage through their files and recapture those early days, the excitement, the anticipation of publication and the sweat and tears when those annoying rejection slips arrived.

The realms of publishing have changed substantially in the last decade but I bet your writing has done so too. 

When you look back you may be shocked at the changes. You may think that some of your writing lacked a professional touch or that the ideas were weak or that your stories lacked depth but that’s just fine. That’s part of your journey. Re-use ideas by re-writing them. Compare the old with the new and add the wealth of experience to your words too. 

Looking back creatively can really help you to progress and to re-kindle your love of the written word. 

Writing Tip of the Week 31

characterisation

When writing fiction, just remember that your readers need to engage with your characters so give them one to believe in, to connect with and to cheer on as the character overcomes all of the main obstacles planted skilfully in their path. There must be something likable about the character though, so that the reader wills them on, investing in their development by giving up their time. 

Writing Tip of the Week 29

Writing tip

It’s easy to let self-doubts overwhelm you when you first start learning the craft of writing. Stay true to your goals and remember that to write well, you must create the foundations of learning and build upon these while you shape and form your style. Remember – it doesn’t matter how good you are at the start, it’s the end goal that is important.


(c) Can Stock Photo

Writing Tip of the Week 28

Ideas form the foundation of your success so make sure your idea is captivating. It’s hard to create original ideas but dig deep and make sure you find fresh angles and that your approach is original.

Ideas

This is so important if you are trying to get your stories published or wish to impress a publisher. Don’t run with the first idea you get but consider all options. Extend and develop your idea as much as possible.

 

Writing Tip of the Week 27

Writing Tip of the Week

If you struggle to bring a little heart and soul into your writing and are trying to create moving or passionate scenes, then you may find it useful to recall some of your past romantic liaisons and remember how deeply you felt. Capture those feelings in words and bring a little honest integrity to your romantic fictional scenes. You will write with greater conviction and your readers will read with confidence and less distractions.

 

Writing Tip of the Week 25

 

Writing tipHere’s a quick writing tip – if you write on a part-time basis, you will forever be trying to find the time for your writing and nothing is more frustrating than having a day off so you can indulge your creativity and then the words will not come. The best way to avoid this is to prepare your creative pursuits the night before. Have a list, some opening sentences, some ideas…anything that will fire up your imagination. It’s typical that when we have little time, that’s when the creative inspiration mocks us, but a little organisation, and you can be ready to write the moment you awake and, you’ll be more productive from the word go.

Writing Tip of the Week 24

Creative Writing TipsMany people dream of becoming a writer and it’s understandable. The prospect of becoming a published writer or to make money from the written word is enticing but, let’s not kid ourselves, like everything worthwhile in life, it takes hard work to make creative writing a success story. If you want to be a writer, try to write each day. On those days or times when it’s impossible, think about it. Explore creative possibilities, craft possible new characters, think of plots and twists and throw in a little bit of creative ‘what if’s’ into the scenario. Mull over ideas until they become real to you. This is the difference between someone who is determined to be a writer over someone who imagines it must be nice. Ten minutes of writing each day will make a difference. Double that and you double the creative acceleration and so on. Think like a writer, act like a writer and dream like a writer.

Writing Tips – What To Do When Your Brain Says Go Away!

Brain

Annette Young - Authorby Annette Young

I love writing for a living. It’s not always the easiest job, but for me, it is the most satisfying. Even on those days when the words fail to come, I know it’s just a temporary lull in my creativity. There are days though when you may start to wonder whether a stick of dynamite might be the only thing that will explode your brain into operating again. I know from experience that there are a number of things that can stop productivity – too much stress, too much alcohol, not enough sleep, and, perhaps surprisingly, a lack of deadlines nipping at the heels.

There have been times when I have pinned myself to the chair, gazed in desperation at my blank screen, rubbed my head furiously, and even growled at myself a few times, all to no avail. Eventually, I have moved away from my desk, resorting to a last method, relinquishing the hoover from its cupboard prison, preferring the mundane action of cleaning, to the desperation of trying to write.

So sitting down waiting for the words to come, is not really the answer. It’s not writers block per se, it’s as if the brain is taking time off, but often when you need your creativity the most. Like today, I knew today was going to be tough. I woke up with a headache, I didn’t feel energetic or creative but I had so much work to get on with it, I wasn’t even sure where to start. I hate days like this when even the slightest task is like climbing a mountain.  Annoyingly, I even turned down the chance for a day out in the French countryside because I  needed to get my head down and to get on with it. In reality, the day out would have probably done the trick, but I knew that I couldn’t spare the time.

My tricks of the trade to overcome that fuzzy, foggy headed feeling include this selection of writing tips:

  • Switch projects, choose a different writing task and this will free those words.
  • Write a to-do list. Works well if you are overwhelmed with the workload.
  • Edit. If you are writing a book this is easy. Spend time editing a previous chapter and this will have you buzzing with ideas in no time.
  • Drink water. You might be dehydrated and fuzzy minded as a result. Have a bottle of water next to you on your desk.
  • Get outside. Just a change of scenery can click your brain into gear, breathe in some fresh air and let the oxygen revitalise your brain.
  • Exercise. When I can’t think, I go out onto my terrace and practise my yoga and switch off the creative process, when finished, I feel better, more in control.
  • Pick up the hoover, nothing will make you want to write more than having to do a bout of cleaning.
  • Read. Flick through a magazine, look at the reader’s letters, imagine writing a reply or actually do so if it gets those words onto paper.
  • Write down all the reasons why you love to write. By the end of your list, you will at least have remembered your attachment to the written word and feel more motivated.
  • Watch the news. Write a torrent of words that describe how you feel about the latest atrocity.
  • Visualise.  Think about your story, your article or your book, try to bring it all to life, but don’t think about writing.

You will find that once you have stopped the, ‘ I can’t think’ thought process, the words will come. Sometimes, the brain just needs oiling so that you can get those words out. Your brain might say go away, but you need to try to trick it to make it perform.

You may  have many more tricks to overcome those stagnant writing moments, feel free to share them in the comments section.

Author’s Block: What To Do When Your Muse Goes On A Vacation

By Barbara Conelli

You don’t get new writing ideas, or you do but you seem unable to turn your ideas into sentences, paragraphs, chapters. You feel that your writing is going nowhere, you are going nowhere, and you start questioning your own talent and skills.

Before you throw the computer out of the window and renounce writing forever, try these simple steps. Believe me, they work. Guaranteed! (Actually, you may find out that you don’t really need your spoiled, capricious muse after all.)

1. Don’t obsess about it
Okay, so maybe you’ve planned to write a certain number of pages or words every day and now you’re falling behind the schedule. So what? Relax. When things get better, you will soon and easily make up for the lost time. Writing is a creative process that should be allowed to flow naturally. You cannot (and you mustn’t) force yourself to write at all costs when you don’t feel like it. Writing is fun and you should find pleasure in it. Let’s face it, if you don’t write with passion, the result will be flat anyway. So stop worrying about it; a short break will do you good.

2. Get out of your comfort zone
Look for new experiences. It doesn’t matter what you do, and it doesn’t need to be related to your book. Just get out of the house and have fun. Go away for the weekend, try a new exciting activity, go to a concert, meet new people. New experiences bring new waves of energy into your life and wake up your tired brain. Forget about your writing for a couple of days and focus on new, fun stuff instead. You will see that new ideas will start popping up in your head in no time and you will find joy in writing again.

3. Create a writing ritual
Create your personal writing ritual. Some writers have their own “writing corner” where they don’t do anything else but write. Others have “writing clothes” that they wear only when they work on their book. You can have your personal “writing tea”, “writing food” or “writing scent”. Such rituals get you in the mood for writing and send a clear signal to your brain telling it that now it’s time to be creative. If possible, set a specific time for writing every day. Switch off the cell phone and tell your family and friends not to disturb you, unless it’s a question of life and death. Stick to your writing rituals and indulge in your writing routine. You will grow to love it.

When your muse leaves, it is your chance to experience new things, come up with fresh ideas and eventually become a better writer. So don’t fear your muse’s vacation time: You know you can write another great chapter of your masterpiece without her.

Barbara Conelli is a bestselling author, travel writer and proud indie publisher. She’s very passionate about sharing her publishing journey with fellow authors. To learn more about Barb’s Chique Books filled with Italian passion, please visit her website http://www.barbaraconelli.com You’re also welcome to check out her blog for more articles about independent publishing http://barbaraconelliblog.com

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Authors-Block:-What-To-Do-When-Your-Muse-Goes-On-A-Vacation&id=6626794] Author’s Block: What To Do When Your Muse Goes On A Vacation

Writing Tip of the Week 23

Ideas often come through at the most annoying of times, when falling asleep for example or if out walking or shopping and the chances are that you will have no pen or paper to hand. Don’t miss out on what could be the next best-selling novel idea, why not invest in a Dictaphone or use your mobile phone to record your ideas as they often have a recording function?

Writing successfully is all about grabbing these ideas as and when they occur. Be prepared.

Writing Tip of the Week 21

Writing can be pretty isolating especially if those around you have no interest in your creative pursuits. Get a writing buddy by joining a local writing group, college class or by setting up an ad on a writing forum. Your buddy doesn’t have to live in the same area but you can inspire each other by email. You can even do joint projects together if your styles compliment each other and this can really spur you on to great things creatively.