This Sunday, April 10, is Encourage a Young Writer Day. Take the day to inspire the writers in your life, or get motivated to start writing.
Becoming a writer is easier said than done. Growing up, all I wanted to do was create stories and write. I would have loved to have such great tips from these two great outliers, one who writes for a living and the other who has been a writer, editor, and teacher. As a young writer myself, I have put together 10 tips from Clark Sturges, who was featured in Outliers in Education as an English professor, and bestselling author of A Map of the World and Book of Ruth, Jane Hamilton.
10 Tips for Aspiring Writers
Tips 1-5 from Clark Sturges, Tips 6-10 from author Jane Hamilton.
- Write, write, write. Write daily, just get the words on the page and get used to the practice. Even without correction or direction, you will improve. The more you write, the better you get. Whether or not you have a critic, you become your own critic.
- Find your voice. Use your voice, use vocabulary that sound like you. Don’t try to be pompous, don’t try to impress, don’t use words that aren’t your, don’t try to imitate other writers, but rather use the language that’s effective for you.
- Ask for advice. Don’t hesitate to get feedback from fellow writers or teachers. The more advice and critique, the better off you are. Don’t be afraid.
- Let the writing show you the way. Use writing to find out what you think and how you feel. Writing is a process of discovery and you learn where you’re going when you get there. You start to write and the thoughts come to you as you go, and you end up at a place that may surprise you.
- Read other writers. When you read something that strikes you, take note. Don’t imitate, but notice and learn.
- Write for yourself. Writing helps you understand your own thoughts and feelings. It is how you view the world around you. Young writers should be learning about everything in the world that’s of interest of them. The writing process is different for everybody. There’s no prescription.
- Be patient and take time with the work. The writing process is mysterious, but there is a cycle of writing, editing, and rewriting. Don’t stop at the first draft, keep working, and take time. Let the work settle in your mind, put it away for a little while, then come back with fresh eyes.
- Find a Reader. It’s important to have at least one thoughtful, attentive reader. Because there comes a time in the process where you need another human being. A reader, a magical reader, gives your work an amazingly different kind of life. And when you do find that person, read out loud to them. In vocalizing the words that you have written and read to yourself, it’s easier to tell what does and doesn’t work.
- Go to a Writer’s Community. There are many of them around the country. You get your own room, food, and time to work. It is a bubble where you can unplug from the outside world and connect to other writers.
- Read, Read, Read. Read widely. Read bad writing, read great writing. Talk to people about books, have a life with books.
Do you love to write? What are some of your writing tips? Comment below and share with friends.