I came across an ABC news article that covered some interesting writing tips (which I shared on Twitter) and I decided I’d write a little bit about my number one tip I have regarding writing. However, there is a disclaimer. As much as I have studied the craft and have tried to hone my skills as much as possible, I still have lots of troubles and issues that arise in my writing. Questions and doubt fill my head, and I have become very familiar with the pain of writer’s block. I mean seriously, I’ve had a book idea in the back of my mind for the past five or so years and I STILL haven’t gotten around to finishing it.
Everybody is different. We hear that all the time to make us feel more comfortable about our uniqueness, which is important! It’s the same when it comes to writing. Everyone has their own style and tone. People use language differently and get creative with how they structure it. This is where my tip grows from because the one thing I have learnt when it comes to everything I do is to embrace individualism.
I remember when I was younger and I would read anything I could get my hands on. I would borrow so many books from the library that I’m probably the reason why they have limits! When I found a book that really interested me, I’d try and write a story like it. It wouldn’t be very original and the storyline might as well have been a copy-and-pasted version of it. Nonetheless, I thought I was being pretty creative.
It took a bit of learning to stop doing that. I had to realise that the reason why I loved writing was because I was inspired by the stories I was reading and the uniqueness of each one. Once it hit me that this was the case, I started writing whatever storylines came to my head and tried to weave my own personality in it. It wasn’t until a teacher told me that the reason she felt so engaged in a story I had written was because she could feel my personality in the text. She would read it and think of me. It might not have been the most poetic language but it had that personal connection.
Ultimately, I learned that writing involved a lot more personal connection than forcing beauty through poetic language. For me, that personal connection is achieved through putting all of myself onto the page (not literally... that would be weird). Something I notice quite often when I read is I try and grasp the personality of the author through their writing because I know that's how I write. I'm sure there are writers out there who don't put themselves on the page and that's their choice. However, I think the vulnerability of it enhances the journey the reader is on.
At the RTX Convention, I attended a panel about content creation and someone asked how they can make themselves seem original or unique to their audience since everyone is trying to do the same thing nowadays. I don't remember who but one of the panel members said that the unique part of the content was the person creating it. I think that can be said about writing as well. We can read a thousand books, each with a different author, and we won't have the same experience twice. Some of them might be similar in plot line and structure, but the tones, language and journey will all be different.
So, that's what my number one tip would be. As clichéd as it sounds: just be yourself! It's hard, I know. I know I always feel like the whatever I write could be better. All in all, we need to find ourselves as writers and what makes us want to write. We need to figure out who we are and where we feel our most comfortable. Then, we need to take that person and put it on the page in the form of characters, symbolism, locations and everything else.
Regarding this article, which you can read here, I'd say the one piece of advice that resonates the most with me would be Maria Takolander's. When I want to write a story, the hardest part for me is to start. I feel like there's a lot of pressure to get it right the first time. I think I like that piece of advice the most (not saying I don't like the other advice, I just connect with this one more) because it relates to my writing tip. Forcing yourself to just start writing your story and to not over think it can lead to your writing subconsciously turning into a piece of your personality.
I could be making assumptions here about other writers and I know I shouldn't. However, I will always take pride in my creative writing because I know it's a good indication of who I am, and I think that's important.
Do you have any writing tips? And if you do, are they from personal experience or did someone give you some good advice?
Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.