Creative writing is a skill that can be applied to many different situations, but it is often associated with writing non-fiction, such as novels or screenplays. However, creative writing can be applied to fiction, such as short stories, poems, or play scripts; and it can even be used in advertising or promotional materials. There are essentially no rules regarding what constitutes “creative writing,” which makes it all the more important to learn how to write better creative writing.
Know What To Write
As a writer, it is your responsibility to know what to write. You don’t simply write what you want to write simply because you want to write or think that you are capable of writing something meaningful. To start writing creatively, you need to first and foremost determine if you actually have something to write about. It could be that you have an idea for a short story that you wish to pursue, or it could be that you have an entire novel in mind that you intend to pour your heart and soul into. Regardless of the motivation behind the creation of your creative writing, you must ensure that you know what the goal is before you even begin to put your thoughts on paper.
Find Your Voice
As a writer, you have a responsibility to find your voice and use it effectively in your writing. Much like your name, your voice is something that you are uniquely and inherently capable of giving to the world in the form of prose. However, it is often difficult to find the right voice for various reasons. If you are looking to find the “right” voice for your creative writing, you need to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Fortunately, there are many different writing guides and courses available online that can help you find your voice and effectively use it in your writing. Some of the more popular and trusted sites that can help you find your voice are:
- The Blue Pencil
- Frog Pen
- Writer’s Block
- The Muse
- Sage Writing
- The Official Scrivener User Guide
- The Cambridge Guide to English
Find your voice and you will find your writing; it’s as simple as that. Remember: you are responsible for what you write, so ensure that you have all the necessary information before you begin to write. In other words, never, ever begin to write something that you do not know how to finish. Once you find your voice, your story will have a flow and a cohesion that it lacked prior to finding your voice. Finding your voice is often a matter of trial and error, but it is well worth the effort. The first step is to simply write.
Start With The End In Mind
If you are looking to write creatively, it is essential that you set yourself a word count and adhere to it. There is often a misconception that you should just throw out whatever you want to write and see what happens. While it is important to have spontaneous ideas, it is also important to have a plan. Without a plan, it is difficult to know where you are heading; and as we have established, you must know where you are heading if you want to write effectively. When you start with the end in mind, you start with a clear direction and purpose; and that is all you need to have in order to write successfully.
An example of this kind of plan would be to write a short story about a father-son relationship. You will obviously start with the father’s perspective and eventually work your way to the son’s; but you must have a clear image in mind of what you are aiming for, otherwise, you run the risk of producing something that does not represent what you are trying to convey. Setting a word count is also important for another reason: it helps you determine how long your story is. If you write for five minutes but only manage to get two words out, you have effectively written a one-minute short story. Setting a time limit on your writing enables you to focus solely on the task at hand and produce something that is both entertaining and polished. Of course, this is also subject to your level of experience: the more you write, the more you will learn and the better you will become at knowing when to stop.
Consolidate Your Ideas
Once you have found your voice, you should begin to consolidate your ideas into something that is more cohesive and complete. Your story should not be just a collection of random words and ideas, but there should be a unifying theme that brings meaning to your writing. For example, the above story may have used the setting of a father-son relationship to explore the bonds of friendship, but it is still a relatively loose collection of scenes that have little to do with one another. To turn this collection of scenes into a cohesive narrative, you must firstly connect the various themes and ideas that you have encountered throughout your writing process. The themes and ideas that you connect will then serve as the framework for your story. Having a clear framework is important for many reasons, not least of which is that it enables you to consistently return to and revise your work; and to be fair, the process of writing a novel is a large and demanding one, which most individuals cannot physically commit to. A story is a compact and highly consumable form; and while it may take you a long time to write a full-length novel, a shorter piece such as a short story is much more achievable and a great way to learn the craft.
If you are new to the world of creative writing, it may be difficult to know where to begin. Many people, myself included, would advise against tackling something so complicated as a full-length novel or poem simply because it is overwhelming and rather daunting. To combat this, it is important to start small. It is important to have a goal in mind when you begin writing and that is to simply write something. Even a short story can be a challenging endeavor, but it is at least a step in the right direction; and once you have produced something, you can always build upon it.
For those looking to write creatively, be it a short story, novel, or play, there are many tips and tricks that can help you reach your full potential. It is often said that writing is rewriting, which means that you must constantly be searching for the best way to express yourself. However, it is also important to have a plan and know where you are heading, so that you do not write off-course. Ultimately, if you want to write better creative writing, it is all about practice and putting in the hours, so do not be discouraged if you do not produce something immediately. When you do finally sit down to write something, it will come quickly and with much more ease than you think and, ultimately, you will not be able to stop writing once you start.