A brand new year is a great excuse to get started with creative writing. Perhaps it’s your New Year’s resolution or a lifelong dream you haven’t had chance to pursue yet – now’s the time!
Create a routine
Often, the biggest barrier to getting started is finding the time.
Lots of writers rise early to get something on the page before everybody else wakes up. If waking up an hour earlier fills you with dread, try easing yourself in – set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier, then thirty etc.
If early mornings are a hard pass for you, then you might be more of a night time writer. When everybody else has gone to bed, seize your opportunity.
If possible, see if there is anything in your day that sucks your time away from you. For example, check your phone to see how much time you spend scrolling through social media or browsing online. Could you put some of this time towards writing instead?
Do you commute? Can you write on the bus or a train? You don’t have to use a laptop or notebook if bringing them would be too cumbersome – use an app on your phone instead.
While many professional writers try to write something every day or have set word goals, don’t feel you have to start there. Try writing one day a week to begin, or on the weekend. Instead of setting a goal to write 2,000+ words, try 200 words.
Like any new habit, you want to make sure you’re setting reasonable goals. You can always build up if the challenge you’ve set becomes too easy!
Ideas can strike at any moment and you don’t want to miss them. Don’t be fooled – you won’t remember them later. That’s why it’s good to have a notebook and pen or a notes app in your phone handy at all times.
If ideas are eluding you, try story starters. Read newspapers and magazines for real life stories you could draw from. Write down any interesting conversations you happen to overhear and describe intriguing people you see as inspiration for your characters.
Write for you
While your ultimate dream might be to have your work published, starting out with this in mind can become too daunting. Start off by forgetting all about readers and audiences for now, and just write for you. Worry about researching audiences, agents and publishers later.
Read widely and learn the “rules”
Okay, there isn’t a secret book of rules for creative writing. Many of your favourite writers probably break “Golden Rules” all the time. But before you can break a rule, you need to know that it exists. To learn them, you need to read – and read a lot!
For example, if you’re looking to write a thriller, make sure that you’ve read widely in this genre first. Don’t stop there either – read as much as you can and go outside your comfort zone. You never know what might inspire you and you can learn a lot from every type of genre.
Most importantly, have fun and remember that every great writer had to start somewhere.