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Creative Writing 101

It's time to start writing

By TestPublished 4 months ago 4 min read

When was the last time you picked up a pen (or grabbed your laptop) and just started writing whatever was on your mind? If you're one of my fellow Vocal writers, you've probably just finished writing ... but, if not, now is as good a time as any to hone those writing skills and get creative.

Getting creative with writing

Creative writing is easy -- it's writing with a creative edge. It's not term papers, it's poetry. It's not scientific articles, it's fun short stories and intriguing personal essays. It's all about telling a story, real or fiction, through words, through creativity.

What you're reading right now is not creative writing, but if I told you a story about the first poetry book I wrote in the first grade and made you feel as though you were there with me, that would be. It's all about expression and less about the facts.

There are a plethora of writing types that fall under the umbrella of creative writing, including:

  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • TV and movie scripts
  • Plays
  • Songwriting
  • Memoirs

Let's start writing

While you can dive into any of the above types of creative writing you want, it may be easier to start with one. Of course, some can be combined -- a poem can become a song, a movie can become a play, etc.

If you're writing something lengthy, like a script, memoir, or fictional story, you'll want to consider having the following in your story:

  • A plot
  • Characters
  • A setting
  • A point of view (whose point are you telling this story from)
  • Dialogue
  • A theme (perhaps it's a holiday, an outbreak, or a dream)
  • Metaphors (which are great in poetry, too)
  • Anecdotes (also great in poetry)
  • Emotion
  • Imagination
  • Descriptive imagery

All it starts with is an idea. And then, you can start writing. However, here are some more tips on how to get "in the zone."

Pick a writing place

You need a comfortable place to sit and write. You want to find someplace that doesn't have a lot of distractions -- it's a bitch trying to get back to the middle of a sentence after running the dog outside for a potty break.

You can write at home, outside at a quiet park or even a cemetery, or pick someplace inside to write, like a library or coffee shop. Of course, writing from home allows you to create a sacred space of inspiration -- like hanging whimsical posters, keeping influential books nearby, etc.

Create a writing ritual

Rituals are a great way to get your mind into the right space for creative writing. It could be something as simple as listening to your favorite songs on the way to the coffee shop.

For some writers, ritual is all about lighting a candle, brewing a cup of coffee or tea, or as simple as laying out some paper to get writing. Not sure what to write about yet? Watch a movie in your chosen genre for some inspiration.

Do some writing every day

Write a little all the time. Even if you don't have anything to write about, just start writing. If you need some ideas, look up some writing prompts (there are even FB groups that are all about writing prompts).

Set aside half an hour each day to write, whether you're working on a book, some short stories, poetry, or something else. Worry about the edits later, when it's time to turn your writing into something publishable. For starters, just write and enjoy the process.

Find inspiration from other writers

Being alone may be the key to finding time to write, but having other writers in your corner is a great way to better your writing, be inspired, and more. It's an opportunity to share your work with people who are in the same boat as you.

Facebook is full of writer's groups of all kinds. Joining a community like Vocal to share your words also opens you up to experiencing the works of other writers.

Find a reason to writer

While there are jobs out there for creative writers (I've held a few in my 24 years as a professional writer), doing it for a living may not be your goal. Perhaps you want to write simply to share your story. Maybe you don't even want to share, you just want to write and get the words out of your head.

If you're aiming to publish a book or enter some writing contests, make part of your ritual setting yourself deadlines -- they come in handy. If a book is in your future, be sure to do some research on publishing -- whether you're thinking of doing things traditionally or you want to self-publish.

No matter your reason or plan, just write.


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