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Writing For Beginners

cartoon owl reading a book - illustrating an article about writing for beginnersWelcome to practical creative writing for beginners.

If you want to write and just don’t know where to start this is the place for you.

I know from experience it can be hard to begin if you start with a blank page.

That’s why I recommend that beginners start by trying some writing exercises.

WRITING PRACTICE

The reason I always recommend starting with exercises is that the key to improving your writing is practice.

There are plenty of exercises for you to try on this site and my advice is to experiment and just try them – until you find one that you can lose yourself in.

LOSE YOURSELF

Losing yourself in writing is a wonderful thing. It means you are focused and locked into your imagination.

This creative force is very powerful and if you write regularly you will achieve this very enjoyable state.

Enjoying writing is important and at first you may not, but just remember that very few people sit down and produce a great piece of writing straight away.

It takes time but the more you write, the easier it will be and if you are enjoying your writing it won’t take long to improve.

Galway Causeway illustrating an article about writing for beginnersCHOOSE YOUR PROJECTS

It is really important that you are careful about choosing your projects, especially if you are planning a full length novel, or screenplay.

Don’t try to write ‘great literature’ if, in reality you may be better at writing thrillers, or comedy.

Think about what you enjoy reading. This will have influenced you more than you realize.

EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR WRITING

In the beginning, you should allow yourself the freedom to experiment with different story types and genre.

This is part of the process of discovering who you are as a writer.

So to start, your only aim should be to write regularly and establish good writing habits. If you allow yourself this ‘practice’ time you will soon learn which stories and styles suit you.

CLAIM YOUR WRITING SPACE

But first make sure your time won’t be disturbed. Let those around you know you need some time alone.

Don’t be afraid to claim some writing time.

If family are likely to intrude, make sure to tell them you won’t be available for an hour or two – we’re all entitled to a little space and it is up to you to stake your claim.

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE

By experimenting with the creative writing exercises here you will clear your mind of day-to-day thoughts and this will help you focus in specifically on your writing.

After a while you will learn that doing creative exercises regularly stimulates your imagination and you will begin to have more ideas.

Remember, that these exercises are just where you start. They are not necessarily where you finish. That is up to you.

You can change and adapt whatever you like. Go where your writing takes you and always enjoy what you are doing.

After a while you will lose your sense of time and will experience the joy of ‘flow.’

If you start doing one particular exercise and find yourself not really enjoying it then stop and pick another one.

There are no rules to break, so look on these exercises as experiments that will help you to write your way to the story you really want to write.

Be kind to yourself as you learn your craft.

CREATIVE WRITING TIPS

When you have some experience you will probably seek to broaden your knowledge of the craft and business of writing. You will find lots of useful tips and information here.

WRITER’S BLOCK

Many of us writers can find ourselves stuck for words from time to time. In its milder form writer’s block can manifest itself as procrastination.

For some unfortunate writers this problem can extend over long periods of time until they become blocked.

Writers block can be demoralizing, but there are solutions.

It often helps to try working on something different from what you normally write.

If you are feeling really blocked, don’t worry, you will find lots of practical ways to deal with the problem of writers block here. 

I hope you have found my writing for beginners page helpful.

If you have any problems and can’t find the answer here, just contact me and I will be happy to try to help.

So – there’s no excuse to go to your deathbed wishing you had written that story.

  Get writing now!

P.S. All the information and exercises on the site are free to you. All I ask is that you like, plus, or share.

If have any questions or comments, just write in the comments box below. I love hearing from other writers and I do my best to answer every one.

 

 

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17 Responses to Writing For Beginners

  1. Soni Karekar January 19, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    Hi Grace,
    I am a teacher for Creative writing in English and plan to use your tips in class.
    thanks,
    Soni

    • Grace January 19, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

      Hi Soni, nice to hear from you. Don’t forget to let me know how you get on.
      Good luck and best wishes
      Grace

  2. mary cross October 25, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

    i am so distraught. I am 51 yrs old, and in my youth, when I attended college, the papers i wrote were returned with great grades and comments that asked when i was going to write or suggesting that i should…or that i have alot to say and should think about writing. well, that was many years ago, and i thought i would enjoy writing like i do blogs and sending emails, texts and correspondence at work. What i have found in this current writing class I am taking at Rowan University is that I do not have command of the English language, nor a great understanding of poetic and writing terminology. In addition, being in an evening class with such young inspired minds, has me second guessing whether i am cut out for this or have anything of importance to say because i feel ill equipped when its time to choose a prompt the professor provides for us to begin writing about; or when he times us with the challenge to come up with a story line for a fiction non fiction or writing piece. I guess with many of the other students being journalism majors and/or having been introduced to writing in the high school classes, there’s less prep necessary in urging them to complete said assignments, the comments he usually makes with them are directed at the few who may not spell a word correctly…but not for their writing ability feel embarrassed or as if my pieces are not good enough to read I also struggle with getting my thoughts in order so that the piece is not all over the place. My other recent issue I discovered was the fact that i am not sure how to add the meat to the work and in other instances show but don’t tell. I am trying to learn about all the parts of writing which are all new to me, overwhelming and have me second guessing if i am producing anything worth sharing/saying. I would not be surprised if my age is contributing to this rut i am in at this time, as well.
    i have looked up Ruth Stone poetry, read items from the creative writing text book and online items but don’t feel any aha moments nor as if i am better equipped for the tasks at hand and I have a midterm tomorrow (Monday). I had no idea writing would give me so much anxiety since i have to produce a timed fiction writing sample and provide definitions for and examples of the words / terminology for writing and poetry. I have no idea where to search for help or if I am wise to try reaching out to you and googling. Any advisement you can provide is appreciated. I am not a quitter, but really unsure about whether this was the class for me to hone in on writing skills…or if it is something else (like the committee in my mind who all seem to be vying for their ideas to hit the paper but I stopping progress…. I appreciate your reading this and your site as the advisement was very interesting and I will definitely take heed to. (sure wish i found your site months ago when classes first began. My best, Mary a senior student of uncertainty.

    • Grace October 26, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

      HI Mary,
      I am so glad you wrote to me because I too have been in that position. I think the main problem is you are over-thinking. It takes a bit of practice to get back on the writing bike and my suggestion is that you set yourself some homework.
      Spend half an hour every night, or morning writing – use one of your class prompts or one of the exercises you find here. Just go freestyle and don’t think about the outcome – this is just practice and will get you back in the habit of writing.
      It can be intimidating being in a class full of younger people, I know that but remember that many of them are as intimidated as you are. I guess you are doing your best to appear calm and unafraid in the face of these difficulties but I bet the other student are too.
      Remember you have loads of life experience that they don’t and that is an advantage – so be patient and do the best you can and your ideas will soon arrive.
      The early days of a course can be difficult but you can do it – you had the courage to join in the first place and you are good at reaching out and getting help for yourself as is proved by this post.
      Whenever you feel unnerved or anxious take some deep breaths to settle yourself – this will return your mind to focus.
      Please stop worrying so much – you need to allow yourself time to settle in to the course. Maybe you could try some meditation practice. I find this very useful for relaxing my mind and I am sure it helps with my writing.
      Please keep in touch and let me know how you are getting on.
      Take care and best wishes
      Grace

  3. Tia November 4, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    Blank page is my nightmare! Metaphors have encroached my subconsciousness. Actually, metaphorical way of thinking is so specific, but it’s hardly to imagine my writing life without this stylistic device. I just wonder could I become a writer of one style? Creative writing is a celestial gift. But every writer needs to develop it. How not to lose it? My friend put me in fear that someone can stole all my metaphorical crazy ideas….How to protect myself? I was googling and found out that checking for plagiarism by this could help…but I’m not an expert. Writing is a part of me and I don’t want to lose my face.
    Oh, and thank you! The only thing I need now is a cup of hot chocolate and picturesque view in front of me…Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Grace November 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

      Me too – blank pages just cry out to be filled! I am glad you are inspired – and I’m sure a cup of hot chocolate can’t be too far away.
      Good luck and stay inspired.
      Grace

  4. Noah December 11, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

    Hi Grace. I am a 14yr old student and I have never written a story In my life but I need to write short story for an entrance exam at my new school. Are there any tips you could give me to write this? I would appreciate any help. Thanks

  5. Nancy December 30, 2015 at 12:19 am #

    Hi Grace,
    I am happy to have found your creative writing site. Today is the first day of my writing life. I have come out and finally am taking this fun journey and putting words, thoughts, memories on paper. I have many journals that I have filled with thoughts but today I am forging ahead through the ceiling that I have stifled myself under and blowing the roof off and write. I have a coach that I am working with to keep a date with myself to cultivate the creative side of me.
    Happy New Year 2016 I am taking the actions to be the writing I put on hold the past 67 years.

    • Grace January 7, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

      HI Nancy
      I am sorry I took so long to reply to your comment – I was away for a little while. I am so glad to hear that you are making a start on your creative journey. I am sure that the fact that you have been on hold for so long will mean that your creativity will be unleashed in all its glory.
      Best of luck to you and do keep in touch.

      Grace

  6. Nancy Napoli January 9, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    Thanks. I appreciate you getting back to me.
    Best Regards
    Nancy

  7. tony April 8, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    I’ve been having this nag to write a story about my life,and I don’t have a clue on how or where to start. I’m all new to this and I don’t want to be on my deathbed and beat myself up for not writing that story that I’ve spent months said that I should.” I’m wondering if I should and if I’m capable of be a great writer someday?” Every morning I wake up I have this urge to sit at the table and write a story about myself. Where and how do I start?

    . please get back to me..

    • Grace April 10, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

      Hi Tony,
      Sorry for being so late coming back to you. I have been recuperating from surgery and am currently laid up with my leg in plaster.
      So… I am glad to hear you are itching to start writing. I suggest you start by planning some time to keep for your writing. Make appointments with yourself and keep them.
      Then try beginning with one of these exercises – write whatever you want and don’t worry about how good it is. In the early stages the best thing you can do is establish a writing routine and write regularly.
      Regard this time as your process of discovery – you are writing to cultivate your love of writing and to find out what type of writing you really want to do.
      There are loads of exercises on the site but I suggest you start with these: http://www.practicalcreativewriting.com/creative-writing-exercises/ten-minute-writing-exercise

      Please come back to me if you have any questions and give me a little time to reply as I recover.
      Best of luck with your writing.
      Grace

  8. Anthony Nacke April 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    i Have trouble almost all the time. I go and sit down and nothing comes…
    its when this happens I call myself stupid,dumb,retarded. I have Learning
    disabilities and ADHD and I have been writing for a long time and nothing ever
    comes that I am happy with. Its like God is telling to quit forever.

    • Grace April 22, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Anthony.
      Firstly – please don’t insult yourself or call yourself stupid – EVER!
      Many writers feel bad about their writing but the idea is to keep going.

      Regard your work as practice. Musicians have to practice – right! And when they are learning they make lots of sour notes but they keep going and after time they improve.

      Write regularly and don’t worry if you are happy or not with it. Regard it as practice, exercise – as with any skill it can take years.

      Check out the website below – it is aimed at writers with learning disabilities. In the past I worked with students with various challenges including learning disability and they told me this helped them a lot.
      http://www.disabilitywrites.org.uk/

      Best of luck to you Anthony – keep going & keep writing. Please remember to come back to me again and let me know how you are getting on – I would love to know.

      Grace

  9. Fran May 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

    Wow, your website is an awesome resource!! I’m not a beginning writer, but I am an amateur, in that I’ve only been published in school and even then, it’s been a long time since then. But with my 35th birthday this week, I’m even more determined to do what I’ve always wanted to do… write a novel that more than one person wants to read and get it published. Going back to my roots and reworking beginning writing values has already helped, not just with the imagination and writing, but it’s helping my anxiety and depression as well. I wanted to add a quick thank you for the post about coming out about depression… it’s totally true that you always end up feeling like the ‘fun sucker’ and frequently I find myself pulling away from people before they can pull away from me… if I’m sequestering myself away, I can convince myself it hurts less when people don’t want to deal with my issues. Writing like this, giving myself pep talks and reading that other people are going through the same things and surviving. It gives me hope, and the drive to keep trying, so thank you so much for everything on this site!!

    • Grace May 5, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

      Hi Fran
      So great to hear from you. I am glad you are making decisions about writing your novel and I urge you to keep going and write regularly. Thanks for your comments about depression and my post – I was unsure about publishing it but if it helps one person then it’s worth it. Anyway depression is an illness like any other we need all the support we can get. Sometimes the only people who can really understand depression are those who have had it.
      I wish you all the very best and don’t forget to come back and tell me how you are getting on.
      Take care
      Grace

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