5 Tips For Beginner Writers: Packing For an Artistic Adventure
Your Artist's Adventure Pack
For some of us, art is best expressed through us in the written word. However, if you do not know yet how to use this gift to expand your creativity as well as others', then it can be extremely overwhelming to figure out where to start. This can be fatal for the growing artist because it can kill the drive completely, thus losing the potential art that could have been created. When this happens, it is a tragic loss; it signifies the loss of another artist to the world.
But this is what I am here to prevent.
The adventure to experiencing and creating through the power of art is a truly incredible one. It is a road that leads to self discovery and inspiration in all of its forms, so I want to help you as you begin to set out on that road by giving you some tools to take along with you that will help you grow and prosper in your art.
Books, books, books...
Item One: Books
The first thing that you need to pack is lots and lots of books. Reading is one of the most essential parts of being a writer, because through experiencing other writers' voices, you will be able to find yours as well.
The way that every artist finds their own artistic voice, no matter the type of art, is by taking their favorite pieces of other artists' voices and crafting it into their own unique voice. If one was a painter, he or she would study other painters' creations, take away what he or she likes about multiple different paintings and use those aspects in their own work. It is the same for writers. The best was to find your voice is to study other writers' voices and use your favorite parts of those writers' creations in your creations.
A voice is not the only thing that you can gain from reading, however.
The more you read, the more you learn about your craft as well, and learning is the most significant thing that you can do when you are an artist. To maximize your learning though, you cannot seclude yourself to reading only one genre, just like you should not seclude yourself to writing in only one genre. Every once in a while, try reading (and writing) something that you would not normally read. Read a non-fiction book here and a self-help book there, and learn all you can about different styles of writing. Then try it out for yourself. If you are primarily a chick-lit author, try writing something fantasy or sci-fi sometimes. It will help you so much more than you would believe.
Item Two: Lots of Extra Pen and Paper
Make sure that you pack a lot of writing materials in your adventure pack, because practice is a crucial aspect to growing as a writer.
After reading all kinds of others' writing, you must practice your own writing. The only way that you can develop your voice and progress yourself as a writer is to write as much as possible. When you aren't reading and learning about writing, you should be writing and practicing your hand at creating beautiful pictures with your words. Now, I am not saying that every single spare moment of your time needs to be filled up with doing something, because sometimes you need a breather to just relax and ground yourself, but if people do not think you are writing too much, then you are not writing enough.
You know that old and somewhat annoying saying that your parents always used on you to get you to do something that they wanted you to do, "practice makes perfect"? Well, they weren't exactly right, but it is on the right track. You can never be perfect. It just will not happen, because there will always be something that you an improve on, but you can always strive for perfect. The more you practice, the more complete and the closer to perfect you'll get. And that is all that any of us can truly hope for.
Item Three: A Bulletin Board (Optional)
This item isn't a necessity, but I have found it to be very useful on my own journey. I made a Pinterest board for all of my writing needs and it is one of the best things that I have ever used the internet for. It is full of everything from quotes that inspire me to writing tips and writing prompts galore.
Like I said before, learning is the most important thing that a writer can do, so this is a wonderful way to expand your learning. Pinterest is full of links to great places to find inspiration and better your writing.
Even if you do not decide to utilize this great tool (although I highly believe you should), one thing I still recommend is to use writing prompts. These are especially useful when you are attempting to write in a genre you are not overly comfortable with.
They also prove to be very helpful when finding a way to cure the forever dreaded writer's block, a terrible infirmity that every writer experiences many times in their lives. If you find that you have become victim to writer's block, try writing something aside from your main project using a writing prompt. This may help get your inspiration fowing again, thus chasing away the block from your mind. I am not saying that it will without a doubt work, but it is an idea to keep in your back pocket as you travel down the road of creativity.
Here is a start to your contact book!
Item Four: A Contact Book
Another great way to learn and grow as a writer and artist is to have a way to be able to obtain feedback and constructive criticism on your work. It is sometimes hard to endure if you don't like criticism, but it really will help to have some of it.
Now, if you do not have anyone on hand or in mind that you know who could do this for you, you can always turn to the internet. You can go to websites like Wattpad.com and Figment.com (both of which websites I have used for my writing) and you will be able to not only get feedback on what readers on the web think about your work, but you can also read other aspiring artists' works and give your own feedback. It is a great system where everyone is helping each other to learn and grow, and I recommend it completely.
I have used both sites. I personally prefer Wattpad to Figment, but they are both great tools (and free!), no matter which one you use. I advise you to research both and decide which one is a better fit for you.
Item Five: Scientific Experimentation Kit
If science uses experimentation, why shouldn't art?
Science and art aren't as different as you may think. Actually, they are quite similar. They both use creativity, intelligence, talent, and action to make discoveries and invent things. So, the final thing that you must pack for your journey is the experimentation kit that you will use, not only in writing, but in life as well.
I talked a little bit about experimenting with your writing already, but it is such a fundamental part of being an artist (and a scientist, for that matter) that it deserves to be mentioned as many times as possible. But something that I have not really mentioned is about how experimenting and trying new things should not only be done in your writing, but it should be done in every aspect of your life. It is one of the best ways to grow and become the best person you can be, as an artist, yes, but just as a person as well.
And that is just as important as anything I have prepared you with so far.
One Last Thing...
Now you have zipped up your artist's adventure pack, strapped it onto you and are ready to be on your way. Before you go, I just want to wish you good luck in your adventure. May you learn and teach many things, and may you inspire and be inspired by many people along the way.
The last thing that I want to give you to carry along with you as you travel the path that many artists have traveled is strength. The going will be rough sometimes. The roads will become rocky and blistering under the heat of hardships, but you just have to remember that you are strong and that you can make it through, because what awaits you after every trial is something of undescribable beauty and wonder.
So carry this strength with you, wrap it up in the passion that you already posess, and nothing will be able to break you.
You are an artist. Now go and create some art. The world will be just a little more beautiful because of it.