So you want to be a writer…
Updated: May 9
I remember when I first started writing on Wattpad five years ago, and the number one question that I kept on receiving was – How do I start writing?
I always found it quite strange that people would come to me for advice on how to start writing? Mostly because I didn’t actually think people would want to listen to me and follow what I had to say. Also in my mind in order to start writing, you just need to start – no?
But over the years I’ve realised that it’s not as easy as it is for some. I can even admit that before I published my first novel on Wattpad, I was afraid. Afraid of what people would say about my work and afraid that no one would actually read it. Like absolutely no one. And its that fear of no one liking or reading your work that stops many people from having the courage to start writing today.
So I’ve decided to give my personal top five tips on how to start writing:
1. Have a clear understanding of why you want to start writing
So why do you want to start writing? There’s no point of wanting to know how to start if you don’t know why you want to start in the first place. For me personally, I wanted to write because I needed an escape from life. A big one. I never really found my life overly interesting. I just believed that I was a normal, average girl with a mediocre life. Writing started off as a way of self-therapy and just an opportunity to experience a new way of living. I also knew that by publishing my work on Wattpad, my goal was to entertain people. I didn’t expect to get a large following on Wattpad, I was just grateful to have my first ten followers. Now I have over 50,000 followers and that’s way over ten, LOL!
So why do you want to start writing? Do you want to entertain people or do you just want to entertain yourself? Either way, it’s important to know why you want to start or you’re most likely going to get torn/lost during your hobby. So figure out exactly why you want to start writing.
2. Know exactly what you want to start writing
I would also say that knowing exactly what type of writing you want to do is key. There’s no point of you wanting to know how to start writing if you don’t know what you want to write?
Are you planning to write full-length novels, blog posts, poems, songs, short stories? There’s a whole range of things to choose from so it’s really up to you. Knowing exactly what you want to write will help drive you with your passion and your new hobby.
3. Have a notepad
I find it very funny when people claim to be writers but don’t even have a notepad. Fair enough if you’re the type of writer who types up your work straight away to your computer/laptop but having at least one notepad where you brainstorm your ideas is key. I also find it extremely useful to use my notepad when I’m having a serious writer’s block. A notepad allows you to get ideas out of your head that may be harder to get out if you just try to type things up straight away. Physically writing stuff down has always been therapeutic for me and since it was the way I first started writing my novels, it’s like second nature to me.
So head down to your nearest stationary store ASAP and get yourself a pretty notepad to start using to brainstorm and/or write in.
4. Have faith in yourself as a writer
There’s no point what so ever in trying to write if you don’t believe in yourself as a writer. One question that I used to receive a lot on Wattpad was ‘What is your advice for new authors?’ and I think my answer strongly applies with this fourth tip.
‘My advice for new authors would be to never give up and always stay true to yourself. If you want to write a good story that no one has ever read before then you must have the confidence to do so. No one can write the book for you, you’re the one that wants to bring a story to life so you’re the person who must write it. Never give up and always have faith in yourself. I believe in you so you must believe in yourself too. Don’t give up. Do you think I would be as successful as I am today if I had decided to suddenly give up? No. Make sure that you actually have a passion for writing and being an author, and that you’re not just doing it for the funds. Trust me the funds are nice, but it’s not worth it if you don’t have a passion for writing. Money follows passion and not the other way around.’
The number one thing that I want to make clear from my answer is: No one can write the book for you, you’re the one that wants to bring a story to life, so you’re the person who must write it.
Have faith that you are a great writer and you can get that first piece of writing done no matter what!
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself and just start!
I think the one misconception that people have about writing is that everything needs to come out perfectly. You need to know exactly how your novel ends, you need to know exactly what you want to blog about today, you need to perfectly illustrate your poetry down to an absolute T. – These are all big fat lies!
You don’t need to be a perfect writer at all. Allow yourself to make mistake, in fact, be prepared to make mistakes! As a writer, I make mistakes all the time, whether it be in storylines or in my writing itself. Understand that you won’t always get it right the first time but that’s why practising is key! Don’t stop practising because the more you practise, the more you can learn from your mistakes.
This was quite a wordy blog post today… but I hoped this help! Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions that you may have. I’m always available to answer questions that people have for me and of course, if you are seeking any personal advice, just leave a comment down below.
– Jen xo