Whether you have ambitions to be the next great American novelist or you’ve read our article on how healthy of a hobby writing can be for you, you’re now interested in getting started. Luckily, anyone can write, no matter your education, reading habits, or experience. All it takes is the will to do it and something to say. So, even if this is your first time trying to write, it can still be a worthwhile endeavor for you! Even better, writing is very easy to take up. You just need an idea or topic, or know where to find inspiration.
That’s exactly what we’ll be covering today. Luckily, writing is something we’re fairly familiar with, so we feel confident sharing what has helped us and what we’ve learned. Most importantly, have fun while you’re writing! Don’t forget that you’re doing this as a hobby and to enjoy yourself.
Journaling and Memoirs
One of the best and most straightforward ways to start writing is to keep a journal each day. Journaling is especially helpful for people who haven’t written in a creative sense before. Why? Because you’re the subject and the things that you’re writing about actually happened. This gives you a topic that you have firsthand knowledge about. It also doesn’t hurt that journaling tends to be shorter entries with a smaller time commitment, often before you go to bed or after you wake up. Some even suggest writing in bullet points, though if your goal is to write as a hobby, you’ll likely want to build upon these bullet points. Journaling is so effective because it can help you practice developing your own writing style in a judgment-free zone and creates a regular writing habit and devoted time each day.
Just remember, everyone has a story to tell, whether your goal is to top the best sellers lists or pass on your knowledge to your family.
When you’re ready to move on to progress from journaling, writing out your memoirs is a great way to enhance your skills while sharing your unique story. If you’re a retiree, you have a lifetime of experiences and memories to work from that are not only great fodder for writing, they’re fun to remember and discuss. One benefit that memoirs have over autobiographies is that memoirs are snapshots of your life, not the whole thing. This makes them incredibly flexible forms of writing, giving you the chance to pick out the most formative, interesting, or inspiring points in your life. Just remember, everyone has a story to tell, whether your goal is to top the best sellers lists or pass on your knowledge to your family. Your story, your lessons, are valuable and worth writing about, whether it’s a diary or memoirs.
Joining a Writers Group or Club
So, let’s say that a diary isn’t something you’re interested in. You’re more of a fiction writer, for example. One way you can devote time to your writing while improving your craft is to join a local writers’ group or club. Often, these will be meetings of like-minded individuals that are also interested in writing. Writers’ groups give you time to discuss your works, share inspirations, and have your writing read and critiqued by the other members.
These groups can also be invaluable sources of inspiration and support as you work through your writing.
Not only are these groups a great way to make new friends with similar interests, they can help improve your writing. By critiques and edits from others, they can point out weaknesses in your writing that you can work on. These groups can also be invaluable sources of inspiration and support as you work through your writing, especially if you ever hit writer’s block!
Joining a Writers’ Challenge
If a writers’ group isn’t your scene or there isn’t a group nearby, there are still ways you can kickstart your creativity. Writing challenges often set a goal for interested writers, often a word count, within a set amount of time. The most famous of these challenges is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but it’s by no means the only one. There’s the 30-Day Writing Challenge, National Poetry Writing Month, and many others.
Writing prompt challenges give writers an idea for a story and invites you to write about it.
An alternative to the word count writing challenge is the prompt challenge. Writing prompt challenges give writers an idea for a story and invites you to write about it. Sometimes, they’re randomized prompts, which gives room for creativity. Other times, they’re more guided, but leave room for you to grow the story from there. It’s fascinating how different stories can end up even if they start in the same places. Both types of challenges give you the impetus to write, though in vastly different ways. This allows you to pick which challenge works best for you.
Sometimes, the best way to get into something is to just do it. Writing is one of those hobbies. You can go to writing classes or clubs, you can take on challenges, but if you don’t follow through and write, it’ll go nowhere. There’s a lot of advice out there on getting started with writing, but the one tried and true tip is to set aside time to write each day. That’s it. Find yourself a comfortable place to write and let the words flow. Even if you’re not working on a novel or poetry or even something you’re planning on keeping after that day, devote that time to write something. This’ll give you the opportunity to hone your abilities and flex your writing muscle!
If you’re not used to writing longform or not ready to work on a novel, try writing short stories.
Once you start writing, you may want to decide on a style. If you’re not used to writing longform or not ready to work on a novel, try writing short stories. Short stories are great for working on your style without getting bogged down with too many details or long-running plots. Who knows, a short story may eventually grow into a novel. That’s how A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) first started.
Finally, don’t be afraid of revising and editing. You don’t have to have it perfect the first time. Just write to have fun, then go back and edit once you have your thoughts down. Perfection can be the nemesis of greatness and can cause writer’s block. So, write down your first draft, then go back and make edits as they’re needed. This isn’t to say you should just write down whatever comes to mind (though stream of consciousness is definitely a style), it just means that you shouldn’t push yourself to perfection the first time.
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Writing can be a fun, therapeutic hobby that helps you explore the world we live in, as well as worlds of your own creation. Once you get started in earnest, it’s hard to stop writing. The trick, of course, is getting started. With these tips and suggestions in mind, you’ll be working on your own magnum opus in no time!