5 creative writing tips
Creative writing requires a different approach from other types of writing, and can often intimidate due to the wide gamut of possibilities out there. Drawing from the resources on creative writing available on OxfordDictionaries.com, we have selected a few quick tips to help get you on the right track.
1. Know your audience
An important point to start with: you are writing for your readers, not for yourself. Familiarize yourself with your expected audience. Where do you imagine this piece of writing appearing? The readers of a poetry magazine are different from the readers of a fan fiction site; the readers of mass-market mystery novels are different from the readers of a flash fiction blog.
2. Keep your goals achievable
What are your goals? Figuring out what you want to do with your writing before you begin is a crucial step in the process. Following that – are those goals achievable? Are you planning to submit a poem or short story to a literary magazine or a competition? If you are, then there are probably submission deadlines that you need to meet, which should be reflected in how you plan out your writing process. Do you have a length that you are looking to meet? If you’re writing a mystery novel, it might be helpful to know whether the word or page count stacks up against the expectations of the readers (and publishers).
3. Make time to write
You can have everything laid out perfectly in front of you for a great novel, but you also need time to actually write it. Setting aside a daily period specifically for writing might not be necessary, but it will help establish a sense of routine and process, especially if you are working towards a deadline.
4. Don’t wait for the inspiration
Inspiration doesn’t typically strike if you’re not already working for it. So how do you go about welcoming inspiration into your writing life? One way to start is by noticing the things around you: keeping an ear out for interesting words or phrases, engaging in the delicate art of people-watching, and reading broadly – inspiration can be found everywhere, ranging from a subway car to an old newspaper. For a more extensive overview of how to gather ideas, see ‘Getting ideas for creative writing’.
5. Keep a journal
One key part of the inspiration process is tracking it down. A writing journal offers a great place to store your observations, thought-provoking quotations, and other interesting tidbits you may encounter. The end result is an accumulation of ideas that can help you in generating character, conversation, and other elements of your writing. A journal also offers a space to experiment with writing exercises, and play around with different writing techniques.
Read more tips for creative writing.