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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Creative Writing - Getting Started

I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who struggle with creative writing. Writing is easy! Admit it. How hard is it, really, to stare at a blank piece of paper and curse at it until either your blood pressure shoots through the roof or words start magically appearing?

You see? It wasn't that hard at all.

Granted, some writers seem able to constantly fill page after page with nary a hitch, like silk flowing through their fingers. Well, that's what they'd like you to think.

How often have you said, "I know what I want to write. I just don't know how I'm going to write it?" Everyone has those moments, including the best writers.

Whether penning fiction or non-fiction, creative writing is the imaginative use of language to convey ideas or events. Having a great imagination or a strong grasp of grammar and punctuation is not always a guarantee of success. I have read stories that were based on a wonderful idea, but were written so poorly, I cringed inside. I have also read stories that were error free, flawless and completely boring.

Are you creative, imaginative, a skilled wordsmith, and a technical wonder? No? Don't sweat it. You will be.


Planning, Practice and Perseverance

Three basic ingredients are needed to build the foundation for becoming a skilled creative writer – planning, practice, and perseverance. Whether your goal is to improve your writing for personal pleasure or to earn a living from playing with words, the process is the same.

Planning – Set aside at least a little time to write every day! Create a private, comfortable place to put pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard and get to it!

Practice – Creative writing is a craft that improves with practice. As a matter of fact, your imagination can be improved with practice, too. Take an idea or topic and write a paragraph or two about it. Then, write some more! Don't worry about the quality of the end result. We'll get to the mechanics of writing later.

Perseverance – Keep at it! Maintain a positive attitude and believe in yourself. Everyone, from the simplest soul to the most outgoing extrovert, has something valuable to say to the world, be it a story to tell, a lesson to teach, or an experience to share.

Yes, I know I've over simplified the process. That's okay. We are just beginning, and we'll take it one step at a time.

What's Next?

So, now you've set up a comfortable spot, carved some time out of each day, and plastered a smile on your face. What's next? Toss out the excuses and ignore self-criticism. Here are some quick start suggestions:

Brainstorm – Fill a page with story ideas. Write whatever comes to mind, no matter how outrageous. Then, pick the one that really lights your fire and write a short story around it.

Picture It – Think of something that happened to you recently, something you would find interesting enough to tell a friend or relative about. Instead of hopping on the telephone, write a letter to your friend or relative, telling the story on paper.

The Old Switcheroo – Are you sitting in front of your monitor, staring at a blank document screen? Grab a pen and notebook! Sometimes changing your method of writing is enough to jumpstart the creative flow.

Hopscotch – I often find myself writing several short scenes that are completely unrelated. The challenge is to tie these unrelated shorts into a larger story. This method can be quite fun and broadens your imagination at the same time.

Finally, read! Read great works of literature, trashy novels, and everything in between. Expose yourself to different writing styles and feed your imagination.

Write on. Right on!

Copyright 2005 - Karen Campbell

Resources -

Original fiction and fan fiction archive - writing resources:
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