Writing is a wonderful outlet for your creativity, and the great thing is that it’s open to you, no matter your age or background. This article offers some ideas for how you can get started with creative writing, whether you have serious literary ambitions or simply have an idea for a short story, play, or movie you wish to explore.
Find time and space to write
Once you have decided it’s time to start writing, it is a good idea to get into a routine. This can include defined writing time, location, and how you write. All these things are determined by personal preference, so take some time to find out how to best fit writing into your life.
For example, do you need the absolute quiet of a home office or library or to be surrounded by the buzz of people, such as in a café? Do you want to capture your ideas on a computer, such as an Intel 11th Gen Desktop, or scribble on a notepad? Likewise, are you a morning writer, or do you feel more creative during the evening? Maybe your schedule is so busy that an hour on Sunday afternoon is all that you can manage. Whatever set-up works best for you, it’s important to be consistent, so you can keep making progress with your writing.
Develop your creative writing skills
Whatever your existing skill level, remember that creative writing is a craft that can be learned and developed. The two best ways to learn are to study books on the craft and to read fiction. If you have the time, the best advice is to read widely. However, if you have limited free time, select some key works in the genre or style in which you want to write and study how the professionals put their stories together.
A good way to start developing your skills is to think about a simple three-act structure:
Act One: Set up your main character (protagonist) and what they want – this is also known as the protagonist’s goal.
Act Two: Your protagonist struggles with internal and external obstacles as they try to achieve their goal.
Act Three: Everything gets resolved in a positive way (the protagonist gets what they want), a negative (the protagonist fails to achieve their goal), or a mix of the two (e.g., they achieve their goal, but it doesn’t make them happy).
Of course, each type of writing – novel, play, screenplay, poem, etc. – has its own conventions and requirements.
For example, in a novel or short story, the central premise might be more of an internal, emotional goal, such as coming to terms with the loss. Whereas, in a film script, there is usually a concrete external goal that complements the protagonist’s emotional journey (to win over a love interest, win the big race, save the planet, etc.). Meanwhile, a play is largely dialogue driven, with acts and scenes that generally take place in one or two confined settings, such as the rooms of a house.
Take some time to think about your story idea and decide where it ‘fits’ (maybe it’s not where you think).
Monetize your creative writing
Finally, if you find that you enjoy creative writing and get some positive feedback on your work, you might consider monetizing your efforts. Options include traditional or self-publishing, submitting your work to a magazine that pays for published material, or entering one of the many reputable writing competitions. One piece of advice is to look for writing competitions that offer feedback to all entrants, so even if you don’t win, you can use the comments to further develop as a writer.
Learning to write well is a lifelong pursuit. However, there is no better time to get started than right now! There are lots of free resources out there to help you and plenty of great ideas waiting to be written – who knows where it might lead?