Five Ways to Become a Writer
Many people believe they have a flair for writing, and they probably do. Everyone has something to say and a story to tell. They just may lack the basic skills, confidence, and approach to becoming a writer. This can be discouraging when you’re bursting at the seams to get your thoughts on paper.
Writing is not a skill that only a few can master. Writers are able to write because they want to, they try to, and they love to. It doesn’t have to be something they do for money, fame, or praise. Some may never want anyone else to read it. Some may only want a small group of people to read it. Below are five types of writing that any beginner can attempt in order to build their skills, discover their strengths, and release their inner thoughts.
Writing is writing, even if you’re just writing for yourself. Journaling can make you feel better after a hard day or even a difficult span of time. In most cases, you are the only audience so you can lay everything on the table, not worry about crossing the t's and dotting the i's, and leave your problems on the page.
You can document major life events which can be referred to later if you ever become ambitious enough to write your memoirs. Not only will you be able to map out your life, but you can remember what you were thinking and feeling in those moments, bringing your readers on that journey with you. If you date the pages just right, you can also use them as a type of calendar to refer to when events occurred. Artistic writers can also use a journal to sketch out their feelings that pertain to their entries.
Fan fiction is not the most respected medium in the writing world, but it is a guilty pleasure in the community. Many of us have tried our hand at fan fiction, especially in our angst-filled teen years when we craved drama and preferred it to the classics. I’ve filled entire notebooks with fan fiction about everything from my favorite movies to favorite bands. It’s a fun and easy way to begin to tell stories.
The rules are relaxed, and characters and worlds already established, allowing for creativity to be the main focus of your work. You can mix genres, characters, and worlds. You can stick fictional characters in historical moments and see how they come out of them. You can create alternate endings to your favorite TV shows, or write the long-awaited sequel to your favorite movie. There’s also an audience for it. The only problem is that it’s a form of plagiarism and shouldn’t be submitted to any formal publications. If you're out to write for fun, though, and sharpen your writing skills, this is one way to do it.
Recommendations and Reviews
Being a writer can be beneficial for others as well as yourself. Whenever someone needs a recommendation for a job, to get into college, or plug a business or product, they’ll turn to you. Your writing can be helpful in a realistic way rather than an escape or a dream that you are chasing.
Write product reviews on Amazon. If you’re a teacher, write college recommendations for your students, if you liked a new movie, give your in-depth opinion on your social media accounts. You never know where this will lead, and it can be great practice and exposure for eventual professional work.
Essays and Blogs
If you’re not much into writing fiction or poetry and don’t want to share your life story, essays and blogging could be the way to go. You can write about your favorite topics, share your opinions, and reach an audience who is interested in the same subjects. You’ll really discover your writing style and learn a lot about what kind of language and perspectives work and what doesn’t. You’ll also learn to take criticism based on the comments you’ll get from readers. If you’re not ready for that, it may be best to just show them to close friends and family until you achieve confidence in your work.
A great resource for learning to write multiple POV's in fiction.
Poetry and Short Stories
Not everyone has a memoir or full-length book in them, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t write poetry and short fiction. It may be intimidating to start such a project, especially after reading famous poetry and prose. When I first learned to write poetry, I felt overwhelmed. I wasn’t used to poetry that didn’t rhyme, and I didn’t know about how to use rhythm and word choice to express feelings and ideas.
Luckily, Creative Writing classes showed me how to start slow. We weren't scholars dipping our quills into ink. We were fresh out of high school and struggling to find our voices as we work shopped our writing week after week. We learned to write found poems, using lists of words, obituaries, and our own chosen groups of objects to scratch out our poems. We used already published poems from D.A. Powell and Wanda Coleman as a format for our own work. By getting the technicalities out of the way, we were able to focus on our thoughts, rhythm, and word choice.
For short stories, we consulted the book, Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories, and wrote our own versions using the formats outlined in each chapter. We submitted stories featuring unreliable narrators, stories with multiple perspectives, and interior monologues. Having a theme or perspective to go on opens up the mind to situations, characters, and dialogue that has been sitting dormant in your mind.
You don’t have to start from scratch. The best work comes from other great work, and there’s no reason to feel intimidated when creating an original piece. Your perspective and style is what will make the piece unique and original.
Are you a new writer? What do you write, where do you write, and how do you write? Leave your answers in the comments below!