Before there was sex, before there was the city, there was just a girl with a dream. Candace Bushnell, a columnist for the New York Observer. Writing about the adventures of her and her friends, she soon reshaped the definition of a modern woman with her sensational series “Sex and the City”. How did she do it? Drawing on her personal experiences, coupled with her talent for writing, she created the timeless Carrie, a character many today still relate to.
Many of us, like Carrie Bradshaw, a small town girl with big city dreams want to be a writer. Be it writing novels, nonfiction books, op-ed pieces, the desire to express oneself on paper is the same.
Anyone can become a writer. The hard part’s being a writer, continuing your stories, creating new material, and seeing projects through to the end.
Calling all Rory Gilmores and Carrie Bradshaws, this is the recipe to literary success.
Write Every Day
This is self-explanatory; if you aspire to improve your writing skills, they must be practiced. Daydreaming about writing the next great American novel is one thing, but putting pen to paper is another. Want to write a novel before you finish high school? Then get to it! Start off by writing a short story every couple of weeks to bring your stories together and practice character development, plot line, and story flow.
Draw On Personal Experiences
Write about what you love, not what’s popular. If angst-riddled teenage vampires aren’t your cup of tea, don’t fret! Create stories based on your life and interests, pour your genuine passion into it and the readers will come. Writing is a personal experience, and as long as your heart is in the story, someone will read it.
Learn How to Write
Sure, we all know how to write essays for our English classes. But tackling the beast that is a novel is whole other story (pun intended). Writing is a technical skill, and in order to be a good writer you must be able to manipulate the rules of story telling to suit your needs. Take a writer’s workshop class, pick up a craft book, and learn how to make your ideas come to life.
Share Your Ideas
Finished writing two or three chapters? Ask a friend to read them over! Having others involved in your book writing adventure will keep you accountable to your timeline and helps build your story. Receiving advice and suggestions will help you see your story from another perspective and will improve you story.
Failure is Your Friend
The unfortunate truth is that you will fail. Repeatedly. Your first story may not sound that great on paper as it did in your mind, or you might not get that editorial position on your school newspaper. The best way to overcome these types of situations is to fake it until you make it. Have confidence in your ability and remember that from mistakes you will learn and become a better writer. Keep your goals in mind and have faith in yourself.
Patience is Key
Talented writers don’t appear overnight. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in order to create decent stories. Your first attempt may not be your best work – and that is perfectly fine! The key to becoming an author is to persevere and keep writing even when it becomes frustrating. Do not fixate on being published; focus on creating the best work you can. The trick to becoming an established writer is having the proper mindset to work through challenges and not become discouraged. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your story.
Stay motivated to write by reading works by your favorite author, or scrolling through the motivational quote tag on Tumblr. Write a note to yourself to remind you that you are able to do anything you set your mind to. Listen to TED talks and remember that the struggle is what makes you stronger.
Write, Write, Write, and Read, Read, Read
Stick to your craft, and keep writing, even through the writer’s block. Find opportunities to voice your opinions and be recognized for your work (like The Prospect’s high school writing program!). Also, unleash your inner Hermione and read whatever and whenever you can. The best way to improve your writing quality is to absorb what the prolific authors of the past and present have demonstrated in the their works.
So if you are an aspiring writer, channel your inner Nike t-shirt slogan and just do it. Grab a piece of paper and start writing. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, so no matter how intimidating it may seem, take the plunge and consciously work on becoming a fantastic writer.