Writing can’t be taught. Not in the way that you teach maths or science or literature.
But you can nurture a talent, an interest, and an intrigue.
You can learn about how other writer’s do it, where their inspiration comes from. You can take inspiration from the way that someone else writes – and then go and do it your own way. You can learn about the craft and techniques. You can discuss and share. Learning from others, rather than in a vacuum is important in any kind of craft, hobby, vocation, or profession.
Artists and musicians and actors (all creative professions) often attend schools and classes and colleges to learn their craft. So I think that you can learn a craft.
It’s important to be a part of a writing community. To share knowledge and give feedback. To get used to receiving feedback.
Here are the things that I think are important to help make you a writer:
- Write. It goes without saying. But try and write a bit every day – even if it’s just a daily journal.
- Read. Read widely. Read fiction, non fiction, poems, short stories, articles, craft books – everything you can get your hands on. Anything that interests you.
- Get involved in a writing community. For children’s/YA fiction, join SCBWI – it’s an invaluable resource and community.
- Join a critique group and find beta/critique readers. Get to know other writers – you learn from their writing and what they’re writing. It’s also invaluable to get feedback from other people who aren’t close to the story – and who aren’t going to tell you that it’s perfect! (If you need a second pair of eyes, do get in touch with me – find out more here).
- Enter writing challenges or writing competitions. There’s a wealth of competitions and challenges out there – from Mslexia’s Novel, Poetry, and Short Story Awards, to the Bath Novel Prize, and free, short challenges like Ad Hoc Fiction – as well as my own monthly Sea Stories challenge.
- Read writing journals/magazines – I recommend Mslexia for women writers.
- Get involved on Twitter in Twitter chats. There are plenty of chats that happen regularly from #UKYAChat and #MGChat to #FeminisminYA. Whatever you’re interested in, then I bet there’s a chat.
- Say you’re a writer. And then actually write. There’s no point saying you want to be a writer, or one day you want to write a book – well, just write it. Time is never going to be right. You’re never going to do enough research or be “ready”. If you’re a writer, write.
What has helped you in your journey to becoming a writer? What are your top tips? Share them in the comments below!
Want to be a part of a great creative writing network? Looking for inspiration? Then join my new e-course, Writing the Sea.
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