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How to Start Writing Creatively

April 12th, 2013 Books/Audio/Video

Creative writing is challenging but rewarding, and can sometimes lead to being published. Here are a few tips outlining some of the best ways to get started. 

Select a form of creative writing Creative writing comes in many forms - poetry, short stories, novels and more. A good starting point is short essays and poems. These can always be written with a common theme and made into a full-length book. Though, if you're feeling really ambitious, feel free to jump into writing a novel. If you're unsure what type of writing you'd like to do, read some examples by famous authors and poets to get an idea of what you're in for. 

Educate yourself on how to write creatively Rather than diving into writing for the first time, it's always helpful to read up on the subject to avoid pitfalls and common mistakes. Books on creative writing will often provide prompts and exercises to prepare you for independent writing. There are also websites that provide daily writing tips, prompts and message boards with advice from more advanced writers. Another option is to take a class where you can get your work edited by professors and peers. The back-and-forth you get with an editor is an invaluable part of the writing process and working on a deadline will push you to finish what you started. 

You can also join a writing circle to find other writers in search of support. Writing circles work with prompts, peer editing and entering competitions and can be found online. 

Find a creative space Find or create an area for yourself that's separate from the usual places you inhabit. Your writing space could be a quiet coffee shop, a shady park bench or a nook in your home with a great view. Small things can distract you from your work, such as being too cold or warm, so think about outside influences in advance. Some writers work best in high-traffic areas, drawing inspiration from the activity around them, while some writers find it too distracting. Test out a few different areas to decide what works well for you and remember that your preference might change depending on what you're writing. Keep lighting in mind when choosing your space - not enough light can hinder your productivity and is bad for your eyes.

Think of topics Write down a list of topics you might like to cover in prose before choosing one and getting started. Carry a small notebook around with you in case you think of a few sentences when you're out and about or you see an interesting person you'd like to base your story or poem on. Say you come in contact with an enthusiastic cashier. Ask yourself what you want to know about him or her, then make up the answers. Write a short story or poem about the individual's life - does he or she live alone? Was the person always happy? Drawing from your own experiences is always a great way to start writing, especially if you find the subject interesting. 

Jog your creativity  If you feel as though you've hit a wall, don't worry. It happens to everyone. Famous transcendentalist authors Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson drew inspiration from nature, while Edgar Allan Poe's stories were frequently based on the cities he lived in. Oscar Wilde wrote "The Picture of Dorian Gray'" with a specific friend in mind, showing that inspiration can come from anywhere. When you're stuck, take a walk, share stories with friends and observe your surroundings. If you still haven't gotten anywhere, sleep on it!

Remember that your first piece might not be perfect. Don't let it deter you, though - with writing you have to try and try again!