As someone who has spent a lot of time writing and teaching others to write, I know that writing can be difficult, frustrating, exhilarating, and rewarding. Writing can be a lot of things, but I don’t think anyone would say it’s easy. When I was a child, I wrote story after uncompleted story, and oh, how terrible they were… Looking back, there are a few things I wish I could tell my younger self about writing. What follows is a list of five pieces of advice for aspiring young writers (of any age!).
You’ve heard this before, and you’ll hear it again. To become a better writer, read. Read books, magazines, graphic novels, articles—anything and everything. Challenge yourself to read books written in the past. If you need help getting started, check out what Team Options has been reading lately.
Create an outline first.
This step is crucial for academic essays, but it helps with creative writing as well. Start by brainstorming, collecting evidence, and organizing your ideas into a coherent, logical order. It might seem like an extra step, but I promise it will save time in the end. Outline, outline, outline!
Write now. Edit later.
Staring at an empty page can be overwhelming for all of us. Don’t let the empty page win—just start writing! My students often tell me that they don’t know how to begin. The trick is simple: leave perfect word choice and flawless grammar for editing. Focus on getting your ideas on paper, and the rest will come later.
Listen to the wise words of other writers.
Don’t take it from me; famous authors have a lot to say about how they approach writing. Some suggest writing early in the morning, and others say stay up late. The key is finding what works best for you and sticking to it.
The idea here is to write on topics that genuinely interest you. Even if it’s an essay for school, try to choose subjects that you can get excited about and will enjoy researching. The more enjoyable the topic, the better your writing will be. If you’re writing for fun, check out these free-writing topics to get started.