Hi! I’m glad you’re ready to get started! Being
eager about writing is the best. Writing a poem is a lot like writing a short
story, so you’re on the right track. Good writing is precise and almost lyrical.
It can be really difficult to maintain motivation.
Most people will advise you to write every day, which is good advice, but it’s
just not always feasible. The more you write, the better you will get!
Personally, titles and concepts and characters are
all equally likely to get me started on a project. A cool title might pop up in
my head, and then I develop what story and characters go with it. Or I’ll have
a concept that I’ll develop and label. Other times, I start with a character
and figure out who they are and what they do.
Here’s my most popular post regarding character
Keeping motivated can be really difficult when
you’re unsure of your capabilities as a writer. But the more you wait to put
your ideas to the page, the harder it will be to pick things back up. Once
you’ve gone a week without writing, one more day seems like nothing. One more
week, one more month… where does it stop?
I’ve seen people suggest leaving off in the middle
of a sentence. When you do that, you are setting up for success. You already
know exactly how that sentence will end and where it will lead. So once you sit
down with it again, you can hit the middle of the sentence without staring at a
totally blank page.
I have a lot of different posts and tags that may
help you out!
Writer’s block and depression (1), and again (2), and some pick-me-ups (3)
First drafts don’t have to be good.
Write a whole bunch of crappy sentences if that’s what it takes
to get a good one.
Don’t let it get you down. Just get it done.
Your big ideas are worth pursuing.
This post in particular will likely resonate with you and how you feel right now: https://writeinspiration.tumblr.com/post/132168477614/ive-been-trying-to-write-for-years-unfortunately (full text included at the very, very bottom of this post)
More below the “Read More” line!
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Click here to get a random “Why Aren’t You Writing?” post!
– stuff relating to young writers and characters
– everything relating to characters
– writing prompts
Specific posts that address some of your concerns:
– If you see a need, fill it.
– diversity in YA lit
– starting to write
– clichés in YA romance
– There’s always someone worse.
– Curiosity is important.
– starting with setting
– any reason to start writing is a good reason
– Pixar’s rules for storytelling
& PLOTS WITH 105,191 NOTES
Young writers should read books past bedtime and
write things down in notebooks when they are supposed to be doing something
— Lemony Snicket (via blotsandplots)
The question for each man to settle is not what he
would do if he had means, time, influence and educational advantages; the
question is what he will do with the things he has. The moment a young man
ceases to dream or to bemoan his lack of opportunities and resolutely looks his
conditions in the face, and resolves to change them, he lays the corner-stone
of a solid and honorable success.
— Hamilton Wright Mabie
YOUR WRITING HABITS WITH 2,493 NOTES
The Rules of Writing
1: Write crappy first drafts.
2: Words don’t bleed. Cut them.
3: Write now. Edit later.
4: There are NO mistakes–only creative opportunities.
5. Don’t think. Just write.
6: Rules? There are rules?]
Starting to write:
I’ve been trying to write for years. Unfortunately I’m very young and the
schooling I’ve received on writing is nothing like I what I write about. I’m
only 14 now, but little phrases and ideas bounce around in my head. However
when I write I feel like it’s not good or mature enough because of my lack of
experience. I can’t tend to think of original plots as I’m just surrounded in
other people’s work. Do you have any advice on plot development? And do you
think I should continue trying to write?
Hi! Your question makes me quite sad. If you like
to write, then you should pursue it. It’s that simple.
School doesn’t help much in terms of creative
writing. Over the summer, when I was little, my mom would make my sister and me
write short stories. It kept me in the habit of writing even when school wasn’t
(Wanna know a secret? I often got stuck halfway
through my story, so I’d coerce my sister into showing me hers. Then I would
write the same events but in my own words. I did this for quite a while one
summer. Maybe two.)
Not only does school keep you ridiculously busy,
but it also doesn’t like teaching creative stuff much either, because math and
science are deemed as more important than anything related to the arts.
All those negative voices banging around in your
head along with all the good ideas you have? You need to learn to silence them.
Those things are what you are being trained to think.
Here’s what nobody seems to know about writing:
you have to start somewhere. No one starts off as an amazing writer.
People expect writers to have this magical well of
intuition, but honestly, it just comes from practice.
You know that thing about practicing 10,000 hours
in order to become a master at something? It applies to writing, too.
You need to watch and write things down–what you
observe can be the basis for characters or plot or whatever. Eavesdrop on a
stranger’s phone conversation to get a peek into other people’s lives. Sit on a
bench in the mall and watch people go by.
Do you know how babies learn? They observe other
people doing things and then try to mimic them.
I don’t mean that fledgling writers are babies, of
course, but I mean that you can get your best work by reading other people’s
Figure out what you like to read, what you don’t like
to read. And then ask yourself WHY.
What is it about that book you hated? Was it the
characters? The plot? The slow story-telling?
What did you love about that one book? How did it
make you feel? What parts made you feel that way?
I was in middle school when I began reading a Series of Unfortunate Events (I’m
25, for comparison’s sake). Do you know what my writing sounded like while I
was reading those? Lemony Snicket. It wasn’t on purpose, but that’s just what
happened. (Also for comparison’s sake, I now have had a short story published
in an actual anthology and completed a 60-page poetry collection as my creative
thesis, as well as a book that I’m trying to get published.)
The more you read, the more you gain. If you read
enough books, then you’ll have influences from all over that create a unique
You are the sum of everything you have ever read
or seen or thought about.
Yes, you’re a teenager. But that doesn’t stop you
from observing the world and teaching yourself to understand other writers’
If you want to write something but are worried
that it sounds too much like somebody else, then figure out why it sounds that
way. Is it just you that thinks it sounds that way? Or do other people tell you
that as well? Find out what it is that makes it sound like that. Is it the
narration? The plot? The themes?
Regardless of your answers, you are able to make
it unique to you.
You are a writer, and whatever you write will be
yours and yours alone.
As far as plot development goes, I find that
outlining helps. I don’t always keep to the outline, but asking
yourself “Then what happens?” after each event that you write down is the
best thing you can do for yourself.
A plot is a series of events. If you know what
happens naturally after something, then you write that down. It also helps if
you understand WHY something happens.
She goes to the mall.
Then what happens?
She ends up going home and crying in her room.
Why? What caused this? What physical actions
caused her to want to leave the mall? What mental actions occurred because of
the physical actions?
She runs into someone she used to be best friends
with, and they get into a fight. This makes her feel disappointed in her friend
but also unsure of herself because she doesn’t know what she has done to make
her friend act that way. She places the blame on herself instead of on her
former friend. This is because she has been told growing up that everything is
her fault and that her younger brother can’t do anything wrong.
See what I mean? And it’s okay to ask yourself
what you would do in that situation. But your characters are not you. They
probably won’t react like you would. And that’s okay and important.
As I told my students last year, ask yourself WHY
and HOW after each sentence, after each paragraph, after each plot point, after
each whatever. It will keep your story going until it reaches its natural
Okay, this ended up being way, way longer than I
intended it to be, haha. But I’m completely serious and obviously very
passionate about this. And I can say way more on the subject at the drop of a
hat, so if you have any more questions, then just give me a shout. 🙂
Best of luck. And don’t stop writing.
I mean it. 🙂