Every time you say, “I want to be a writer”, think again. There’s a very good chance that you already are a writer! Yes, you are a writer if you have
A vivid imagination that knows no boundaries
Good control and command over your language
An opinion or interest in the world around you and a willingness to share your ideas
A penchant for stories - listening to them or telling them
A passion for putting pen to paper or keyboard to the word processor as the case may be!
A desire to write
So, don’t you believe anyone who tells you that writers are born, not made. You are already a writer.
How to Start Writing
Now that you know you are a writer, what you need to do is to keep on writing because practice makes perfect! Remember, writing is not just a matter of inspired moments. It’s dedicated hard work.
Why, a lot of great authors have perfected their books over years! After all, as Samuel Johnson said, “What is written without effort is read without pleasure”. What’s more, even the greatest writers don’t write well every single time they write.
So, don’t expect everything you write to be excellent. Learn to identify your masterpieces and work on your weaknesses too.
Apart from the qualities listed above, there is no other major virtue that an author requires. What you could try and discover about yourself, however, is the answer to the following question.
Why do you write?
You’ll be interested to know that there are certain reasons that writers around the world describe as the reason they write! Here are a few of these…
Writing was definitely invented for the purpose of communication. With any act of writing, the writer is either trying to communicate something to another person such as through a letter, or even to oneself as a list of things to do, for example.
To express opinions
Most of us have opinions about a wide variety of things. And writing has always been one of the best ways to express our opinions and influence others into our way of thinking.
To release emotions
Love, hate, anger, frustration, happiness, contentment. Writing enables you to capture your emotions at their strongest and translate them into creative works. Therapeutic, soothing and satisfying, the written word has been taken to great heights through sublimation.
To share oneself
Just as we enjoy talking about ourselves and our experiences, we also enjoy writing about our lives and times! Just as personal diaries make interesting reading, opening out your life to a reader is an exciting experience, for you and your audience.
To describe an event or a feeling
Ever been driven to write right after a birthday party, or a rainy day? Everyday events and feelings are great stimulators of creativity, especially because it gives you the chance to turn a mundane tale into something extraordinary!
These are just a few reasons why people all over the world write. What about you? Have you ever thought about why exactly you write? Whether it’s funny stories to entertain your little sister or to kill time, you’re sure to find new and interesting reasons to write. Go ahead and ask yourself why you write!
What kind of writing do you want to do?
Many young people who are gung ho about being writers will find that their strengths and interests lie in one or the other of the many classifications of writing today. Here’s a look at these various ‘kinds’ of writing so that you can decide what writing you are most likely to enjoy:
Fiction. (Short Story, Novels, Novella, etc.)
Non-Fiction (Self-Help, Travel, etc.)
Journalism (Investigative, Sports, etc.)
Drama (Screenplays, Theatre, etc.)
Poetry (Music lyrics, Poems, Children’s verse, etc.)
Essay (Political, Introspective, etc.)
Fiction is a figment of imagination. When a story is made up, not using a direct reference to any living or non-living characters or any real-life event, it would be called fiction.
These are books based on actual events or people and do not follow a story format. These would include self-improvement books, autobiographies, biographies, historical books, etc. These books require a lot of research and background work.
Writing for the purpose of reporting events or analysis of situations, which are published in newspapers or media websites, would be a journalist’s job. It requires a certain amount of objectivity and observation skills.
The basis for drama could be fiction or history but it is always written in script format with dialogues and descriptions. These can be enacted effectively. Scriptwriting uses this format as well.
Many different formats exist for poetry. It could easily be the most powerful and beautiful way to mould the written word. Poetry could be an expression of emotion or belief systems or a commentary on life itself.
An essay is a short, nonfiction composition that presents the writer’s opinion or analysis of a particular subject. There are two main kinds of essays, personal essays, and formal essays. A personal essay is written in a casual, conversational style. A formal essay is carefully organized and more serious than a personal essay.
Take a look at everything you have written so far. Yes, even the long emails and captions on your social media. What’s your niche? Of course, when you’re new to writing, you don’t have to know what your niche is from the very beginning.
You can try several different kinds of writing. Do a journalistic piece, lyrics that go with your favorite tune, write scripts for a one-act play and get together friends to act it out. The possibilities are boundless.
A famous writer once said, “If I write, I may not be sure of getting published. But if I don’t write at all, I definitely will not get published.” Yes, it’s important to do your reading and soak in the influences of the writers you love and admire. It’s also equally important to get, set, and start writing.
Here are a few things to do today to start warming up the fire of the writer within you!
Make a reading list: Draw up a list of books you have heard about or wanted to read. Ask friends and family for recommendations, visit websites of publishers, read reviews, etc. Once you have drawn up a list, start visiting local libraries or ask for books as gifts till you have read every single one.
Start a journal: You never know when your next idea will land on you! Make sure it doesn’t leave before you’ve got it down on paper. Go shopping for a trendy notebook, personalize it with pictures, autographs, etc and use it as your friend and trusted journal!
Write a little something: Make sure you write at least a page or two every single day, no matter what. A nice long email or letter to your cousin abroad, a report on something interesting you observed, or a page of random musings in your diary. Write today and you’ll soon form a writing habit!
Form a writer’s group: If you have friends, cousins, etc. who also like to write, form a small writer’s group where you can read each other’s work and give honest and friendly opinions. It always helps to be read and get feedback! Even if it’s not always positive!
Ideas and how to find them
The first and foremost thing that you need before you start writing is a great idea. As you go along, you’ll come up with many more, which will add depth and dimension to your story. All the same, that one great idea could carry your entire story on its own merit if it is indeed good enough!
As a writer, coming up with great ideas is probably something that you do naturally by instinct. However, there are ways and means to transform this instinct into a skill. And say goodbye to writer’s block forever!
Every writer’s best friend-The Idea bank
A lot of young writers tend to be a bit haphazard. Writing impressive poetry sentences on the backs of envelopes, textbook margins, the works. All that’s well if you are willing to keep hunting for your best words and not find them when you need them the most.
That’s right. If you don’t want your best writing to disappear into the world of shredded paper and asteroid dust, it’s time to keep a writer’s journal. Apart from being the perfect place for everything that goes on inside your head, a journal will also be like an extension of yourself.
Call it a journal, a diary, a spy pad, a writer’s notebook, or a daybook. Whichever name you prefer, they all mean the same thing: a personal and perfect way to enhance your reading and writing skills.
Journaling will encourage you to express yourself by habit. It’s a safe place for privacy, creativity, and individuality. And most importantly it’s your, dependable idea bank.
Here are the advantages of keeping a journal.
Since you carry it with you everywhere, unlike your computer, it means that you can write in it anytime and everywhere on a bus ride, during break-time, on holiday.
You don’t have to worry about punctuation or grammar. You’re free to write in it any which way you like.
You don’t have to share it with anyone unless you really want to.
When you are a famous writer, it’ll be great fun to browse through and remember your exciting journey!
Ready to start your very own journal?
1) Go shopping! Take a trip to your local bookstore and pick your own journal. This gives you an initial sense of ownership. Just make sure it’s sturdy enough to endure your lifestyle. Some pens and pencils might be added motivation.
2) A plain notebook can be decorated to add individuality. Pictures, photographs, clippings, pressed flowers can be glued or taped on the front. Some of the most creative journals start from no-frills, composition books.
3) The first page is a great place for you to introduce yourself. You might even decide to add photos of yourself and your family.
4) Don’t limit the journal to writing. You could add drawing, scrapbooking, pasting important clippings, and mementos like ticket stubs and sports stats.
5) Carry your journal along on trips. The journal is a handy companion on those long car rides, train or plane trips, and waiting areas.
6) Remember the journal is not homework. The key is fun and the ability to make creative choices. Though a journal requires discipline, it need not be something you force yourself to do.
Things you can do with your journal!
Spy: Record conversations, music lyrics, radio commentary, road signs, ads, truck messages, out-of-state license plates.
Plans: Make lists of what you want to do reading lists, to-do lists, study plans. Make lists of your favorite things too!
Knick Knacks: Pressed flowers, movie tickets, clips of articles, maps. Just a few of the things you can preserve in your journal.
Autographs: Who knows just who you might run into! Your journal is the perfect place for an autograph that you can show off to your friends later.
And most importantly write about what you feel. Keep writing a little every day in your journal. About yourself, your feelings, your opinions. It’s your best friend!
Writing tools that really work!
While the greatest thing about writing is that there is no single way to write a great story, you’ll find that there are several writing tools that all great writers use liberally. It’s the difference in use that enables a writer to carve out a unique style of his or her own.
Take a look at what these specific tools are and feel free to use them in your writing as you like, thereby creating a style that’s very you!
When appropriate, use all five senses — appearance, sound, touch, taste, smell — to provide rich detail for your reader.
“The rich aroma of mama’s spaghetti sauce filled the house, and our stomachs rumbled in anticipation of her spaghetti and the crisp, hot garlic bread that always accompanied it.”
Description with Analogy and Contrast
Analogy: Two basic tools of analogy are simile and metaphor.
A simile compares two unlike things, using “like” or “as.”
“The wind roared like a freight train through the naked winter trees, which swayed violently from its force.”
A metaphor compares two unlike things without the use of “like” or “as.”
“True wisdom is a rare and precious jewel.”
When properly used the simile and the metaphor invite us to see familiar things in unfamiliar ways and unfamiliar things in familiar ways. They do not just decorate the story, they help the reader understand the message.
Contrast: Another form of analogy is contrast. Similes and metaphors establish similarities.
Contrast shows differences. You can sometimes tell what something is by telling what it isn’t. Contrast is also inherent in the word “than”.
“To tell it straight out, there are 147,342,320 ounces of gold at Fort Knox, more than was ever viewed by all the pharaohs of Egypt.”
For writers who paint word pictures, analogy and contrast are the primary colors.
Personification is often the application of an extended metaphor. Animals, inanimate objects, and abstractions are given human characteristics.
“…the volcano in the past seven weeks had awakened from a century and a halt of slumber…Pressure built. Trying to accommodate that force, the mountain stretched and reshaped itself.”
Allusion permits the writer to compare two things, people, places, or events in a few words. It saves time on explanation.
“Living with him requires the patience of a job.”
Quotations may be used to support arguments because of particularly appropriate syntax for their historical context. Note: avoid overuse.
Pacing, Emphasis, and Repetition
Pacing: Sentences should be consistent with the subject matter. Generally, longer sentences are appropriate for more leisurely and serious topics. They slow down the reader. Short sentences convey action or tenseness. Manipulating sentence length, then, helps you establish the appropriate pace for your writing.
Emphasis: The devices a writer can use to achieve emphasis include story organization, story proportion, sentence ordering, parallel construction, punctuation, and repetition. Marks of emphasis like parentheses and quotation marks around puns should be used less often.
Repetition provides both pacing and emphasis. Repeating words is a way to provide transitions or emphasis. Repetition of form is also a useful technique. Dick Gregory uses repetition very effectively in the following excerpts from ‘Nigger’:
“Pregnant people get strange tastes. I was pregnant with poverty. Pregnant with dirt and pregnant with smells that make people turn away, pregnant with cold and pregnant with shoes that were never bought for me, pregnant with five other people in my bed and no Daddy in the next and pregnant with hunger.”
No matter what style of writing you use, it is important that you see the complete story before you begin. This minimizes errors of logic and ensures you do not miss out on anything that you intended to be in the story when you planned it out.
Success in the Creative Process
There are a few mantras for success. These are enumerated here. Some of them might sound clichés but then simple truths always have a habit of doing so. Follow them and you would find your chances at success in the creative process would improve substantially.
Have to succeed: The will to succeed and the ability to stay the course is the most important quality for any author to find his true calling.
Have to explore: A curious and wondering attitude is a must for every young writer.
Have to believe in oneself: Believe in yourself and this belief will bear fruit.
Have to focus: Learn to focus and improve your concentration to gain better results.
Be open to inspiration: Keep all your senses alive to inspiration since inspiration comes to
those who are open to it.
Work each day: To be a writer, discipline is very important. Stick to it!
A sudden idea (Eureka!): What is insight but an ability to see connections and patterns in chaos!
Must-Reads for young writers
Diary of Anne Frank
The bittersweet true story of a young girl growing up in the dreadful times of the Nazi movement. Poignant and touching, this book will make you want to write your own diary,
the way Anne did all those years.
Paulo Coelho’s simple, philosophical journey will not only inspire you to articulate