So, You Want to be a Writer...
Happy New Year! It's the start of 2016, and now's a great time to make some resolutions. If you've made one to become a first time writer, great! Now's as good a time as any to let an idea rush out of your head and onto a page... or a few hundred pages ;)
Starting a novel can be an incredibly daunting feeling. Personally, I believe in diving in and seeing what happens. I just write. Sometimes it works, sometimes it really, really doesn't. Not every idea that crosses your mind will bloom into a novel or a short story. It might just be a simple scene, but the act of writing can be incredibly freeing. It's like pulling the cork out of a bottle - once you start, things just flow.
Here are my top tips for starting out as a writer, in no particular order:
1) Write the story you want to tell. Nothing else matters. Don't worry about someday being published or any of that malarkey. Just write.
2) Write in whatever way makes you comfortable - by hand, on a laptop, early in the morning, last thing at night... We all have our preferences.
3) If you're just getting to grips with writing, the habit of writing daily can be useful. It doesn't have to be something like 1000 words or two sides of A4, it just has to be words. Part of your story, perhaps a journal, even a blog - the more you write, regardless of what it is, the better you'll get.
4) Have an app on your phone you can write into, or always carry a notebook and pen. You never know when inspiration all strike.
5) Always seek inspiration. It can come from anything at any time.
6) Don't be afraid to experiment with genres, writing styles, plots, characters and themes.
7) First drafts are about getting the idea out of some nebulous place in your mind and onto the page. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't even have to be good. That's what editing is for.
8) Do not let anyone tell you your way of writing is wrong. There is no RIGHT way to write a book, there is your way and my way and their way.
9) And, of course, don't tell someone else their way is wrong.
10) If one idea doesn't work, try something else.
11) Never give up. Sometimes it takes a few false starts to get to the right idea.
If you're starting out with writing, good luck! Whatever you do, remember to have fun. You never know where an idea might take you.