Friday, October 9, 2009
I've seen countless bits of writing advice throughout my writing career, and I believe the best you'll ever hear is to read.
And then read.
And then read some more.
I love books on the writing craft. I own about a million of them. But I think by far the most effective way to become a better writer is to read a lot. Read your favorite genres. Read in other areas you might not ordinarily try, because you may pick up something along the way that will help your writing. Choose a book you'd like to read, and even if you're reading a ton of stuff for school, give yourself a few minutes each day to read something of your choice. It may take you a month to read a book that, in the summer, would take only about, say, a week and a half, but if you're like me, it's hard to have assigned reading when there's so much other stuff I want to read just for fun. Give yourself a little treat and steal a few moments with one of your favorite authors.
And of course, you must write. Write something every day, even if it's only a paragraph. Keep a journal. Keep a book of lists. (These are especially fun!) Start a notebook, (sometimes the uglier the notebook, the better, because then you're not afraid to mess it up), and find a writing prompt, either on this site, (I promise it will be updated daily!), or another and make the time to scribble something down in it.
DEFINITELY start keeping an idea notebook, if you aren't already. Jot down every little thing, idea, concept, character type, cool job, conversation that you think could make the beginnings of a good story.
Your brain, your writing brain, is a muscle! You must exercise it! Pretend I'm Jillian. Go, go, go!
There's something so fun and creative about this time of year. I adore Halloween, and you could really come up with a lot of amazing stories or scenarios geared toward all things spooky.
Now, I realize you have tons of homework and about a gajillion things making demands on your time. If nothing else, give yourself 10 minutes of uninterrupted writing time as you lay in bed at night, preferably before you turn off the light, for the sake of legibility. I've learned this: if you don't make the time, it will not seek you out. Cut off the Facebook surfing 10 minutes early, text your friends that your mom is being a ...well, whatever you call her when you're mad...and that she's making you turn off your phone for the night. (Always blame the parents. They have broad shoulders. They'll take it for you).
Do consistent writing for a week, every day, if you're not already. Then let us know here how it's going!
Oh, and watch this site for contests! They're going to be good. :-)