People often say to me, “I don’t think I could be a writer or author.” The fact is, I don’t think anyone is born a writer. It’s something that takes practice and effort, which means anyone can make a start. Take Dr Seuss for example, you may think he had easy success but his book, And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected twenty-seven times before being published. Below are my top three tips for starting your own writing journey.
Read, read and read
Reading is crucial. It can give you ideas, build your vocabulary, but you can also pick up subtle tips on sentence structure and flow. Gary Halbert, a well known copywriter, takes this a step further. He suggests to his students to pick up an excellent print or direct-mail advert. Then it’s simple. Just copy it!
Word for word, in your own handwriting. A great way to really get absorbed and learn from the authors talent.
P.S. please don’t start to copy a 100 000 word novel after reading this!
Schedule time to write, begin with an hour a week if that’s all you can spare. Just the process of putting pen to paper is useful. One of the reasons I started doing a creative writing degree was to encourage myself to allocate more time for writing.
Once you start, you may need some inspiration. Dr Seuss, for example, had a secret cupboard of three hundred hats which he turned to when he needed to ignite his creative flame. You may get inspiration from the books you’ve been reading, maybe share your expertise or personal interests, or try writing for someone you love. If you’re struggling, then you can get books that have writing exercises, there’s plenty around.
Let others read your work, constructive criticism is the best way to improve. You might initially only share with friends or family. Most importantly, don’t get upset if someone gives you negative feedback. In my opinion, it’s better than someone just saying, “It’s good.” You could join a local writers club where you can share your work with others, reading out aloud at these clubs is great. Engaging the auditory areas of your brain provides a different perspective, so you may notice things more easily, like grammar mistakes. Lastly, you could share your work online – Facebook, blogs and Instagram are fantastic ways to broaden your reach.
If you are a healthcare professional, learn more about sharing your own story in my free e-book. Thanks for reading, let me know about your tips or suggestions for new writers!