Getting started as a writer

Or what I know now that I wish I knew then (and what I’m still learning) as a writer.

1. Believe
Many new writers don’t believe in themselves when they get an idea that they want to be a writer. You have to doggedly hang on to that tiny spark of belief that you will be a writer/write a novel/collection of poetry/memoir, whatever you want to achieve and even when doubt sets in, hold on to that dream.

Also, believe in your unique writing voice. You notice this immediately in a group of writers reading their work. Every writer is different, just because you don’t write like everyone else, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong. It’s your writing voice that comes across in your writing. And everyone hears this even if you don’t.

2. Learn
Read, read, read. Write, write, write.

Join a writing group to get support and feedback (and I mean support – if your writing group doesn’t make you feel supported, leave it, and find one that does). A good writing group has writing sessions that prompt you to write quickly without edit and usually read out the work in the group. Don’t be scared – the few rushed words you’ve written contain nuggets of phrases and ideas you might expand on or use in other works. Use the opportunity to release your voice when you read your rough work in a group – thank yourself for being brave when you do.

Read books on writing. You may not understand all the techniques or ideas being delivered but hey, they’re going in and they will come out in your writing, improving it.

Find a good creative writing course, one that gives you confidence in editing your work. If you can’t find a course, read about editing. Browne and King’s book ‘Self-editing for fiction writers’ is a good start. Read it a couple of times, or more, so every concept sinks in.

3. Write
The more you write, the more you learn about writing.
But also, the more you edit, structurally and line-by-line, the more you learn about editing and how to improve your writing.
Read your work out loud and you’ll hear when a sentence needs to be adjusted.

Keep writing, keep learning, and keep believing.

4 thoughts on “Getting started as a writer

    • Thanks and good point. Set up your own writing group – Advertise your idea on social media or pop a poster into your local library, find a quiet location and get the writing group going. Especially handy as you can locate the group at a place or town convenient to you. Advice on setting up writing groups can be found online and in the book ‘Writing alone and with others’ by Pat Schneider.

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