Writing has been handed down from father to son, mother to daughter or the village elder to the junior by word of mouth long before there was ever any writing of any kind, so that essential element in writing has never gone away. In fact, I would say that the prime prerequisite is: can you tell a good story?
The first thing you have to have to be a writer is to have a story or an idea or something that you want to communicate. Ask the question would someone be interested in this or would someone want to read about this? Writing is just a form of communication.
Are you a storyteller or do you have something to write about?
Here are some little tests to find out whether or not you are.
Are you the kind of person that when you go to the camp out you can tell the story by the fire and have everyone’s attention, have them hanging on your every word?
How’s your timing?
What do people say to you after you finish telling a story?
Do people laugh at your jokes?
Your listeners and then readers will tell you whether or not you can tell a good story.
Now we all want to take a look at ourselves and not be too critical and not be too harsh at the same time, be open and honest with ourselves. Share your story with a friend who will be honest with you.
Sit down and write. Then, read what you wrote so you can get your flow with words. Be interested in everything around you, be interested in what other people have to say. Take what they say and learn what they got from your writing. Did your story idea interest them, did they have any aha moments from what you wrote? Use that information to fine tune what you are writing. Begin to develop your voice and your style as a writer.
What creative writing classes taught me that helped me to become a better writer.
1) Keep a journal. Sit down and spend time playing with your writing. A great exercise is to begin writing and don’t stop writing even if you don’t know what to write and your mind draws a blank. Something that can help is to just repeat the same word over and over and over on the page until you are able to move on to something else.
Do not focus on sentence structure, word choice or if what you are writing makes any sense. The point is to just keep writing and keep pumping out that stream of thoughts. You never know what you’re going to find if you really open up your mind. Do not let yourself get distracted. Some of your favorite ideas or random paragraphs of thought dumps might come from doing this.
2) Rules were made to be broken. Common sense coupled with a basic understanding of how writing and literature has changed throughout the years brings the understanding that unless an individual steps forward, brakes the confines of the popular and preferred writing style of the day and introduces something new, we would not have grown at all. We’d also be writing the same way, hundreds of thousands of words would not exist, and all plot lines would follow the same basic structure.
When we see certain trends going in and out of style and publishers catering to those trends it’s easy to get discouraged or stressed about not specifically following a three-act structure or hesitant to play around with voice intents because it’s unfamiliar to readers.
From the time we’re born to the time we die we are taught that this is the society you live in, this is what is expected of you, and this is how you’re going to live your life. Every once in a while we get somebody who doesn’t fit into the norm, someone to introduce us to something new, and changes our ways of thinking. Do not be afraid to break the rules of writing that you do not like. Creative writing is a great outlet in which to do so.
3) Do not be afraid. Break out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to tap into different styles of writing. What you learn from this can even help influence your writing style. You will come out more experienced. Taking creative writing classes can help you learn the technical aspects of writing and its history and gain critical thinking skills. In the end, there is no manual or set plan for creative writing and getting better at it, just like there’s no right and wrong way to better yourself with your skill as a writer. It’s up to you to do it.