Author Josh Fickes
Well, for this article, like my December article, I will not actually be recommending a book, or even a book series. Instead, this month, I recommend that you try writing. Of course, writing is not for everyone. If you find that you do not enjoy it, that is fine, it would be rude to force you to do anything, but I definitely recommend at least giving it a try.
Really one of the first things you should do when looking to start writing is think of something which you enjoy writing about. Whether it is your life, a strange fantasy setting, or some sort of mind-bending conspiracy mystery tale, it is essential to think of characters and places before beginning writing. In addition, a writer needs a plot for any kind of writing, something which influences the choices of the characters and drives the story. Plots do not require any amount of complexity, the conflict can remain vague, but every story has a plot, otherwise your writing is a grocery list. However, even in something everyday, such as keeping a journal about your time at school, a plot can still shine through; what you write about your choices or emotions or interactions with others can tell a story about a much deeper plot than most stories. For example, even an aforementioned grocery list can tell a story if given some thought. How does “kale, soy milk, quinoa” tell a different story than “nacho dip, frozen wings, cola”?
Once you have some starting point for what you want to write about, you must ensure that you stay dedicated to writing. Do not endlessly procrastinate while thinking “I don’t feel like it right now, so I’ll just wait until I’m really in an incredibly author-y mood,” but at the same time, do not force yourself to write if you find that you do not enjoy doing so. Writing should be enjoyable and thought provoking, so do not torture yourself because an online article by a poorly qualified fledgling writer told you to commit yourself when writing.
I believe that another important aspect of writing is to have a goal. Think of the story you want to tell before writing too much. Maybe you’re just writing about how your day was, but if you want some sort of cohesive plot in a story, you should think ahead. I personally find that jotting down my plot ideas on a sheet of scratch paper to form a rough outline can be helpful. However, just because you wrote something on an outline, do not pressure yourself into including it if your writing takes you somewhere else; the natural flow of your writing might take your story somewhere fascinating and unexpected. Deciding how long you want to make your writing, along with your own writing style and the density of information in your writing, can help you gauge how complex or lengthy to make your plot.
In addition to thinking about moving along the plot, consider how to drive your character development. In most stories, the characters are just as important as, if not even more important than, the plot. Think of how you might want to portray or develop the characters you have placed in your writing, or maybe simply what aspects of their personalities you want to explore. In my personal experience of writing short stories, I found it helpful to write a couple of stories to introduce myself to the heroes taking shape in my mind, before writing as detailed of a description as I could of them: their personalities, their vices, their goals, what drives them, how they see the world, and whatever makes them who they are. This then assisted the rest of my writing, giving me new ideas of situations in which to explore and develop my characters’ personalities.
To finish this list of ideas to help you with writing, finally, and most importantly, have fun and be creative! Remember, no one can tell you what to do, or not to do, in your writing. You are the master of your story, so feel free to write anything from an ordinary fairy tale to a story which pushes the very boundaries of what a story can be. Do you want to write your story as a rhyming screenplay which replaces all adjectives with emojis? Go for it! Do you want the entire story to secretly contain a hidden code which reveals an entire hidden super conspiracy plot? Heck yeah! (And make sure to tell me about it, because I would love to read that.) Do you want to write just an ordinary, well-thought out story? Do it, that is awesome! If you have a desire to write something that you find interesting, then do it. Let your creativity lead you into the sea of endless possibilities.
I hope that this article provides some guidance in how you could embark on the journey of writing, and I hope you will consider writing to see if this is a hobby which you enjoy. Remember, think of something to write about, keep your goal in mind, think about how to develop both your plot and characters, and stay filled with determination. You probably will not make a masterpiece on your first try, but keep working at it; writing, like anything else, takes practice. Feel free to show your art to your friends, and make sure to take their feedback to heart, but also feel free to do whatever you want. It is your story, after all. I hope you try writing this month, and I hope you enjoy it and continue to write long into the future.