Many people state that they could write a book – or that they are planning to write as a hobby. How many of us actually get around to doing this? It is often a vague plan that never takes shape. It seems that ‘too busy’ is the usual excuse. This untapped potential remains a frustration and an unrealised ambition. For most people, actually starting to write a book can be too daunting a prospect, so they find wide-ranging excuses for never quite finding the time for this project.
Perhaps now is the time that your dream can become a reality. Getting started is the most difficult step… and once you are up and going, it can become a pleasure and also a priority for you time-wise. Here are three tips:
1. In order to be a writer, you must write! Make sure that you write something every day. It does not have to be profound or significant in any way. Many writers find that by keeping a notebook and pen with them, and writing down thoughts and descriptions of what they see and hear on a daily basis can exercise their writing mind. Listen to and observe conversations around you and jot down words or phrases that interest and inspire you.
2. Read! Immerse yourself in reading material in the genre in which you want to develop your skills. Adopt a strategic approach to your reading, too. Rather than reading passively, stop occasionally to check how the words are making you feel. Anxious? In suspense? Fearful? Informed? Relieved? Are you reading quickly in order to discover what happens next, or are you revelling in the description of a scene, possibly going over a paragraph twice in order to enjoy the words that have been used? When you are moved by the writing of an author, re-read the exact words that have affected you – and analyse how the author has achieved this. (As a general rule, descriptions tend to slow down the pace, and actions move it along faster.) This will probably involve the careful use of vocabulary, but there may be changes in pace, style and dialogue that have been significant. Whatever it is, you can learn from this – obviously not by copying other authors’ words, but by using similar techniques. You will want to have your own unique style in your writing, but nevertheless, it can be useful to take inspiration from those you admire most. Beware of spending too much time reading at the expense of your own output.
3. Experiment with developing a storyline or grand plan in your mind. Never use other writers’ plots – these will be obvious to your readers. Write down your ideas, even if you just jot down a list, or even make a doodle or diagram that expresses your ideas. The physical act of writing down ideas can often help to crystallise them, rather than allowing them to float around in your mind.
If the tips above have sparked an interest, you may wish to take the next step – which is to complete a writing course provided by the Academy for Distance Learning. Your friendly tutor will help you to hone your writing skills and keep you on track to write that novel, short story or non fiction piece. Just imagine the satisfaction of reaching that ambition.