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How to Improve Creative Writing
Last Updated: November 2, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Melessa Sargent and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden . Melessa Sargent is the President of Scriptwriters Network, a non-profit organization that brings in entertainment professionals to teach the art and business of script writing for TV, features and new media. The Network serves its members by providing educational programming, developing access and opportunity through alliances with industry professionals, and furthering the cause and quality of writing in the entertainment industry. Under Melessa's leadership, SWN has won numbers awards including the Los Angeles Award from 2014 through 2021, and the Innovation & Excellence award in 2020. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 32,548 times.
Creative writing is an outlet to express your imagination by putting it onto paper. Many people enjoy creative writing, but some struggle with it because of how unstructured it can feel. If you have been writing creatively and you’d like to improve your skills, try learning grammar rules and receiving feedback on your work to strengthen your creative writing and boost your confidence.
Creating Polished Work
- Using correct grammar and punctuation will also make your writing seem more polished.
- For example, instead of saying, “He quickly and quietly ate his food,” try saying, “He gulped down his meal.” This sentence is more interesting, and gives the same effect to the reader.
Tip: Take a break from writing and come back to your piece after a few hours or even days. Mistakes will be easier to spot after you’ve taken a break.
- Revising is similar to proofreading, except you are looking for ways to improve your piece, not just correcting mistakes.
- Don’t be offended if someone doesn’t like your piece, or has a lot of feedback to give. You can choose whether or not to implement a change that someone else suggests.
Finding Time and Ideas
Tip: If you think you might forget to write, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself.
- Get a library card so that you can check out books for free instead of buying them every time.
- For example, you might start with a prompt like, “Imagine what it would be like to be a plant,” or "Write about a day in the life of Barack Obama.”
- You can also use people-watching to practice writing down descriptions of behavior and clothing.
- For instance, try writing a fairytale from another character’s perspective, or setting it in today’s era.
- Deadlines that you set for yourself can seem easy to brush off, but you will be disappointed in yourself if you don’t meet them.
- Make sure your deadlines are realistic. Don’t plan on finishing an entire book by next week if you’re only halfway through.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.luc.edu/literacy/grammar.shtml
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/group-writing/
- ↑ Melessa Sargent. Professional Writer. Expert Interview. 14 August 2019.
- ↑ https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1
- ↑ https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/why-its-important-to-read/
- ↑ https://cetl.uconn.edu/about/mission/
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7 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
Writing, like any other skill, is something you can get better at with time and practice. Learn how.
From sending emails to preparing presentations, writing is often a day-to-day task in many professions spanning diverse industries. Writing skills go beyond grammar and spelling. Accuracy, clarity, persuasiveness, and several other elements play a part in ensuring your writing is conveying the right message.
What are writing skills?
Writing is a technical skill that you use to communicate effectively through the written word. Though these may vary depending on what you’re writing, there are several that transcend categories. Writing skills can more specifically include:
Research and accuracy
Each of these components can influence the quality of writing.
Why are writing skills important?
Being able to write well is a form of effective communication , which many employers see as a crucial job skill . In fact, strong communication—spanning written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual—is among the nine common employability skills that employers seek in job candidates.
Regardless of your role, with good writing skills, you can clearly transcribe your thoughts into meaningful messages, enabling you to share your ideas, build relationships, and strengthen your professional image.
Learn more: Important Communication Skills and How to Improve Them
How to improve your writing skills
Writing, like any other skill, is something we can get better at with time and practice. Here are some strategies for developing your own written communication:
1. Review grammar and spelling basics.
Grammar and spelling form the foundation of good writing. Writing with proper grammar and spelling communicates your professionality and attention to detail to your reader. It also makes your writing easier to understand.
Plus, knowing when and how to use less-common punctuation, like colons, semicolons, and em-dashes, can unlock new ways to structure sentences and elevate your writing.
If you’re looking to strengthen your grammar and spelling, start by consulting a writing manual. The Elements of Style by William Stunk and E.B. White has long been considered a staple for writers. You can find similar resources at your local library, bookstore, or online.
2. Read what you want to write.
Knowing what a finished piece of writing can look like can guide your own. If you’re trying to write a humorous short story, read humorous short stories. Writing a book review? Find a few and take note of how they’re structured. Pay attention to what makes them good and what you want to emulate (without plagiarizing, of course). If you’re working on a school assignment, you can ask your instructor for examples of successful pieces from past students.
Make reading a part of your everyday life to improve your writing. Try reading the news in the morning or picking up a book before you head to bed. If you haven’t been a big reader in the past, start with topics you’re interested in, or ask friends and family for recommendations. You’ll gradually begin to understand what subjects, genres, and authors you enjoy.
While it’s tempting to submit work as soon as you’re done with it, build in some time to revisit what you’ve written to catch errors big and small. Here are a few proofreading tips to keep in mind:
Set your work aside before you edit. Try to step away from your writing for a day or more so you can come back to it with fresh, more objective eyes. Crunched for time? Even allotting 20 minutes between writing and proofreading can allow you to approach your work with renewed energy.
Start with easy fixes, then progress to bigger changes. Starting with easier changes can get you in the rhythm for proofreading, allow you to read through your work once more, and clear distractions so you can focus on bigger edits. Read through your work to catch misspellings, inconsistencies, and grammar errors. Then address the larger problems with structure or awkward transitions.
If you could say something in fewer words, do so. Being unnecessarily wordy can cloud your message and confuse the reader. Pare down phrases that are redundant, repetitive, or obvious.
Read out loud. Reading out loud can help you find awkward phrases and areas where your writing doesn’t flow well.
Should you use computer spelling and grammar tools?
Many computer-based tools—like spell check on your word processor, or Grammarly — can help you find and fix simple spelling and grammar errors. These tools are not perfect but can help even the most seasoned of writers avoid mistakes. Take note of any frequently highlighted words or phrases so that you can avoid the same mistakes in the future.
4. Get feedback.
Whether you’re writing emails or essays, asking for feedback is a great way to see how somebody besides yourself will interpret your text. Have an idea of what you’d like your proofreader to focus on—the structure, conclusion, the persuasiveness of an argument, or otherwise.
Approach a trusted friend, family member, coworker, or instructor. If you’re a student, your school might also have a writing resource center you can reach out to.
You might also consider forming a writing group or joining a writing class. Find writing courses online, at your local community college, or at independent writing workshops in your city.
5. Think about structure.
Grammar and spelling keep your writing consistent and legible, but structure ensures the big ideas get across to the reader.
In many cases, forming an outline will help solidify structure. An outline can clarify what you’re hoping to convey in each section, enable you to visualize the flow of your piece, and surface parts that require more research or thought.
Structure might look different depending on what you’re writing. An essay typically has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A fiction piece might follow the six-stage plot structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and denouement. Choose what’s best for your purposes.
Like many skills, one of the best ways to improve your writing is to practice. Here are a few ways you can get started:
Start a journal or a blog.
Join a class or writing workshop.
Practice free writing.
Write letters to friends or family.
Put together an opinion piece for your local newspaper or publication you like.
7. Know some common fixes.
Even if a text is grammatically correct, you may be able to make it more dynamic and interesting with some polish. Here are some common ways you can sharpen your writing:
Choose strong verbs (for example, “sprinted,” “dashed,” or “bolted” instead of “ran”).
Avoid passive voice.
Vary sentence length.
Cut unnecessary words.
Replace cliches with original phrasing.
Showing your writing skills in a job search
Your writing skills will shine throughout the job search process , whether or not you intend to show them off. This is because job applications are largely written materials, including your cover letter , resume , and email communications . Use these opportunities to demonstrate your writing skills to prospective employers by submitting clear, accurate, and engaging materials.
Additionally, if you have specialized expertise, such as experience with legal writing, medical writing, technical writing, or scientific writing, you can note that in a resume skills section and further detail that experience within your cover letter or during your interviews .
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Whether you’re a scientist or a product manager, journalist or entrepreneur, writing effectively will enable you to communicate your ideas to the world. Through practice, exposure, and familiarizing yourself with basic rules, you’ll be able to use your writing to say exactly what you want to say.
If you’re looking for a structured way to expand your writing skillset, explore writing courses on Coursera —the first week is free.
Give your team access to a catalog of 8,000+ engaging courses and hands-on Guided Projects to help them develop impactful skills. Learn more about Coursera for Business .
Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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A (Very) Simple Way to Improve Your Writing
- Mark Rennella
It’s called the “one-idea rule” — and any level of writer can use it.
The “one idea” rule is a simple concept that can help you sharpen your writing, persuade others by presenting your argument in a clear, concise, and engaging way. What exactly does the rule say?
- Every component of a successful piece of writing should express only one idea.
- In persuasive writing, your “one idea” is often the argument or belief you are presenting to the reader. Once you identify what that argument is, the “one-idea rule” can help you develop, revise, and connect the various components of your writing.
- For instance, let’s say you’re writing an essay. There are three components you will be working with throughout your piece: the title, the paragraphs, and the sentences.
- Each of these parts should be dedicated to just one idea. The ideas are not identical, of course, but they’re all related. If done correctly, the smaller ideas (in sentences) all build (in paragraphs) to support the main point (suggested in the title).
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .
Most advice about writing looks like a long laundry list of “do’s and don’ts.” These lists can be helpful from time to time, but they’re hard to remember … and, therefore, hard to depend on when you’re having trouble putting your thoughts to paper. During my time in academia, teaching composition at the undergraduate and graduate levels, I saw many people struggle with this.
- MR Mark Rennella is Associate Editor at HBP and has published two books, Entrepreneurs, Managers, and Leaders and The Boston Cosmopolitans .
The best writing exercises bring out our latent creativity. Especially if you ever feel stuck or blocked, making creative writing exercises part of your daily writing practice can be a great way to both hone your skills and explore new frontiers in your writing. Whether you’re a poet, essayist, storyteller, or genre-bending author, these free writing exercises will jumpstart your creative juices and improve your writing abilities.
24 of the Best Free Writing Exercises to Try Out Today
The best creative writing exercises will push you out of your comfort zone and get you to experiment with words. Language is your sandbox, so let’s build some sand castles with these exercises and writing prompts.
Write With Limitations
The English language is huge, complicated, and — quite frankly — chaotic. Writing with self-imposed limitations can help you create novel and inventive pieces.
What does “limitations” mean in this context? Basically, force yourself not to use certain words, descriptions, or figures of speech. Some writing exercises using limitations include the following:
- Write without using adverbs or adjectives.
- Write without using the passive voice – no “being verbs” whatsoever. (Also called “E-Prime” writing.)
- Write a story without using a common letter – just like Ernest Vincent Wright did .
- Write a poem where each line has six words.
- Write without using any pronouns.
Among exercises to improve writing skills, writing with limitations has the clearest benefits. This practice challenges your brain to think about language productively. Additionally, these limitations force you to use unconventional language – which, in turn, makes you write with lucidity, avidity, and invention.
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Want to write your world, your way? Join us for this six-week program on article writing, blogging, and essays.
Freewriting & Stream of Consciousness
What do you do when the words just don’t come out? How can you write better if you can’t seem to write at all? One of the best poetry exercises, as well as writing exercises in general, is to start your day by freewriting.
Freewriting, also known as “stream of consciousness writing,” involves writing your thoughts down the moment they come. There’s no filtering what you write, and no controlling what you think: topicality, style, and continuity are wholly unnecessary in the freewriting process. While the idea of freewriting seems easy, it’s much harder than you think – examining your thoughts without controlling them takes a while to master, and the impulse to control what you write isn’t easy to tame. Try these exercises to master the skill:
- Do a timed freewrite. Start with five minutes.
- Freewrite until you fill up the entirety of something – an envelope, a receipt, a postcard, etc.
- Freewrite after meditating.
- Freewrite off of the first word of today’s newspaper.
Among daily writing exercises, freewriting is one of the best writing exercises. Poets can use freewritten material as inspiration for their poetry. Prose writers can also find inspiration for future stories from the depths of their consciousnesses. Start your writing day with freewriting, and watch your creativity blossom.
Copy What You Read
Plagiarism is still off the table; however, you can learn a lot by paying attention to how other people write. This is what we call “reading like a writer.”
Reading like a writer means paying attention to the craft elements that make an excellent piece of literature work. Good writing requires different writing styles, figurative language, story structures, and/or poetry forms, as well as key word choice.
When you notice these craft elements, you can go ahead and emulate them in your own work. As a fiction writer , you might be drawn to the way Haruki Murakami weaves folklore into his stories, and decide to write a story like that yourself. Or, as a poet, you might be inspired by Terrance Hayes’ Golden Shovel form — enough so that you write a Golden Shovel yourself.
- Read a favorite poem, and write your own poem in the same poetic form.
- Blackout poetry: take another poem, cross out words you don’t want to use, circle words you do, and write a poem based on the circled words.
- Copy a single sentence from a favorite novel, and write a short-short story with it.
Among free writing exercises, this is a great way to learn from the best. The best kinds of exercises to improve writing skills involve building upon the current canon of works — as Isaac Newton said, you achieve something great by “standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Write From Different Perspectives
The conventional advice given to writers is to “write what you know.” We couldn’t disagree with that statement more. The best creative works force both the writer and the reader to consider new perspectives and learn something new; writing from a new point-of-view makes for a great exercise in expanding your creative limits.
Try these ideas as daily writing exercises:
- Write a story with the same plot, but with two or more perspectives. For example, you could write a lover’s quarrel from two different view points.
- Write from the point-of-view of a famous historical figure.
- Write a story or poem from the perspective of an object: a statue, a doll, a roomba, etc.
- Write from the perspective of a person you dislike.
While playing with perspective makes for a great fiction writing exercise , poets and essayists can do this too. Patricia Smith’s poem “Skinhead,” for example, is a persona piece written from the perspective of a white nationalist, but the poem clearly condemns the speaker’s beliefs.
Thus, perspective writing also works as a poetry exercise and an essay writing practice exercise . If you’re stuck in your own head, try writing in someone else’s!
Write Metaphor Lists
All creative writers need figurative language. While metaphors, similes, and synecdoches are more prominent in poetry , prose writers need the power of metaphor to truly engross their reader. Among both exercises to improve writing skills and fun writing exercises for adults, writing metaphor lists is one of the best writing exercises out there.
A metaphor list is simple. On a notebook, create two columns. In one column, write down only concrete nouns. Things like a pillow, a tree, a cat, a cloud, and anything that can be perceived with one of the five senses.
In the other list, write down only abstract ideas. Things like love, hate, war, peace, justice, closure, and reconciliation — anything that is conceptual and cannot be directly perceived.
Now, choose a random noun and a random concept, and create a metaphor or simile with them. Delve into the metaphor and explain the comparison. For example, you might say “Love is like a pillow — it can comfort, or it can smother.”
Once you’ve mastered the metaphor list, you can try the following ideas to challenge yourself:
- Create a coherent poem out of your metaphor list.
- Turn your metaphor list into a short story.
- Try making lists with a different figurative language device, such as personification, pathetic fallacy, or metonymy.
Any free creative writing exercise that focuses on figurative language can aid your writing immensely, as it helps writers add insight and emotionality to their work. This is an especially great creative writing exercise for beginners as they learn the elements of style and language.
Of course, the best way to improve your creative writing skills is simply to write every day. Keeping a daily journal is a great way to exercise your writing mind. By sitting down with your personal observations and writing without an agenda or audience, a daily writing practice remains one of the best writing exercises , regardless of your genre or level of expertise.
Consider these ideas for your daily journal:
- Track your mood and emotions throughout the day. Write those emotions in metaphor — avoid commonplace adjectives and nouns.
- Write about your day from the second- or third-person.
- Journal your day in verse. Use stanzas, line breaks, and figurative language.
- Write about your day backwards.
- Write about your day using Freytag’s pyramid . Build up to a meaningful climax, even if nothing significant seemed to happen today.
Writing Exercises: Have Fun with Them!
Many of these writing exercises might feel challenging at first—and that’s a good thing! You will unlock new ideas and writing strengths by struggling through these creative challenges. The main point is to have fun with them and use them to explore within your writing, without indulging too many monologues from your inner critic.
Are you looking for more exercises to improve your writing skills? Our instructors can offer prompts, illuminating lectures, one-to-one feedback, and more to help you improve your craft. Check out our upcoming creative writing courses , and let’s put these skills to practice.
Thank you for this. I’ve been stuck for months—more than that, actually, and you’d think that a pandemic stay-at-home would be the perfect time to do some writing. But no. I’m as stuck as ever. In fact, the only time I seem able to write consistently and well is when I’m taking one of your classes! I’m still saving my pennies, but these exercises will hopefully get me writing in the meantime. Thanks again!
Hi Kathy, I’m glad to hear some of these tips might spark your creativity 🙂 I feel the same way, I was hoping the stay-at-home order might spark some creativity, but we shouldn’t push ourselves too hard – especially in the midst of a crisis.
The best part about writing: all you have to do is try, and you’ve already succeeded. Good luck on your writing endeavors!
Bravo….!What a great piece! Honestly I learnt a lot here!
I picked interest in poetry just a week ago after reading a beautiful piece which captivated my mind into the world of writing. I’d love to write great poems but I don’t know anything about poetry, I need a coach, a motivator and an inspiration to be able to do this. This piece really helped me but I will appreciate some more tips and help from you or anyone else willing to help, I am really fervid about this.
Thanks for your comment! I’m so excited for you to start your journey with poetry. We have more advice for poetry writing at the articles under this link: https://writers.com/category/poetry
Additionally, you might be interested in two of our upcoming poetry courses: Poetry Workshop and How to Craft a Poem .
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected] . Many thanks, and happy writing!
[…] 24 Best Writing Exercises to Become a Better Writer | writers.com […]
Hi, kinsey there. Thanks for giving information. it is a very informative blog and i appreciate your effort to write a blog I am also a writer and i like these type of blogs everyone takes more knowledge to check out my essay writing website
As a writer, I often struggle to break free from the chains of writer’s block, but this blog has gifted me with a map of inspiration to navigate through those creative storms. It’s like being handed a box of enchanted writing exercises
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10 Effective Ways to Improve Your Creative Writing
Writing a story is a craft that requires constant tweaks, edits and trial and error by the writer. Here are ten tips to improve your creative writing and save you hours of painful re-writing in the future.
(1) Don’t underestimate your reader
You have a fantastic plot, your characters are realistic, the setting is ideal and you want to make sure that the reader gets every little detail that you have in mind. Great!
The only problem is that you may be tempted to bombard your reader with many intimate details so that they see it exactly as you do. In-depth descriptions can be useful and effective, but don’t overdo it. Keep your writing neat and tight; don’t waste space on long, rambling descriptions about things that aren’t necessary to your story.
Wouldn’t it be ideal if editors received submissions and decided to look past the typos and incorrect formatting because they think it might be a little gem of a story? The fact is that if your manuscript is full of errors or doesn’t follow the required guidelines then it’s going in the trash.
Don’t rely on your computer’s spell checker. If you make a typo, the computer will not warn you if you’ve still spelt a valid word. Your gorgeous heroine meets the bog (boy) of her dreams? The wealthy doctor places his golf ball on his tea (tee)?
(3) Give Your Characters Life
Characters are vital to your story so treat them with care and give them that breath of life that you, the writer, have the power to give. Give them unique characteristics; make them believable by making them have a purpose, motivation and conflicts to resolve.
(4) Use Strong Words
You want your writing to sound decisive, so use words that get the point across. Did Bob’s really big headache cause him a lot of pain or did Bob’s migraine cause excruciating pain? But remember not to overdo it: don’t use words that the reader won’t understand, you want to use strong words, not confusing or extravagant ones.
(5) Show Don’t Tell.
Who hasn’t heard that one before? But it’s a valid point and a useful rule for all writers. Fiction is for entertainment, so entertain your reader! Give them an excuse to escape into the reality that you have created. Let them see, hear, feel, smell, laugh, cry, love and hate. Show your reader the world that you’ve created, don’t just tell them about it.
(6) Check your Commas
While commas can be effective many inexperienced writers tend to sprinkle their sentences with them. When placed incorrectly, commas can chop up your sentences and sometimes even alter the meaning. Brush up on your high-school grammar; your work will improve with that alone.
(7) Grab their Attention from the Start
Opening lines are often referred to as ‘the hook’ because that’s exactly what you want them to be. You get the reader’s attention and reel them in for the rest of the story. Try something powerful to kick-start your story. For example: ‘Mark’s back broke with an audible crack’ or ‘Eliza didn’t realize that she was going blind’ or ‘The bullet that pierced Henry’s back and left him paralyzed was meant for a homeless man’. Each of these lines makes the reader ask ‘why?’ and once they ask that question, the reader will keep on reading until they find the answer.
(8) Give Your Reader a Satisfactory Ending
You can leave the reader speculating or wondering why at the end of your story, but try to resolve as much as you can. If your reader finishes the last sentence and is still asking questions about what happened to who and why, then you still need to tie up the loose ends.
(9) Sober up
Think of writing as going out to a bar: you go out, the lighting is dim, it’s noisy, maybe you drink too much but you meet a person who’s attractive, witty, shares the same interests as you and you’re smitten by them. A few days later you meet for coffee: are they as good looking or charming as you remember?
This can happen with writing. You become intoxicated with the feeling of success and think that you have written an award-winning piece. The question is, once you’ve sobered up, is it as good as you thought it was? Put your manuscript away and try not to think about it for a couple days. Then take it out and read it with a clear, open mind. Read it through once from beginning to end, then break it up into sections, then read it sentence by sentence. Is it as good as you remembered? If so, then well done! But the odds are that if you were too excited about finally wrapping it up, then you’ll find some points to revise.
(10) Challenge Yourself
Are you trying too hard to write in a specific genre or style? Do you only write short stories or novels or poems or movie scripts? Give that creative muscle a workout and try something different. It will be a refreshing exercise for your mind and you might be surprised by the result. If you don’t succeed then you have still learnt a valuable lesson.
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11 Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
We could all be better writers.
That goes for you, me, and everyone in the world.
Writing is a skill. And like any other skill, there’s no limit to how good you can get.
Even professional writers want to be better at their craft—and a lot of them put in a ton of work.
But you don’t have to be Hemingway to write a successful book. You just have to convey valuable information in a compelling, clear way.
Don’t be daunted by the writing process and go down the rabbit-hole trying to become a “perfect” writer. There’s no such thing. And you’ll just stop yourself from writing.
Just focus on becoming an effective writer .
Unfortunately, the internet is full of generic writing advice. For example,”Be original.” That’s not helpful or actionable. How the hell do you learn to be original?
The advice I’m going to give you is practical. It’s concrete. And it’s what Scribe has used to help thousands of first-time Authors write really good books.
Here are our 11 easy tips that will instantly take your writing to the next level.
11 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
1. start with a clear understanding of what you want to say.
The first step in writing a book isn’t actually writing. It’s figuring out what you’re trying to say.
If you don’t know what the point of your book is, your readers certainly won’t. There’s nothing worse for writing than that.
The number 1 thing you can do to improve your writing is to take the time to position your book and put together a solid outline. If you start without taking these steps, you’ll end up with a haphazard book—if you even finish at all.
Book positioning is about answering your readers’ main question: Why should I read this book?
In order to do that you have to figure out 3 things:
- What are your objectives? What do you need to achieve with the book in order for you to feel like it was a success?
- Who is your target audience? Who do you need to reach in order to reach your goals?
- What’s your book idea? What is your book about, and why will your audience care?
Once you have those questions answered, you can move on to your outline.
An outline is a great way to keep your writing fears at bay. If you know the overall point and structure of the book, you’re much less likely to get derailed by writer’s block, anxiety, or procrastination.
To come up with a good outline , first you have to brainstorm your chapters.
What do you want people to know? What are you trying to teach them? How are you going to solve their problems? What are the main concepts, arguments, and ideas that you want to convey to your readers?
Once you’ve got all of that figured out, you can start arranging them into a table of contents.
What order is going to make the most sense to your readers? What’s the best way to divide this material so it flows logically from chapter to chapter?
Finally, you need to decide what stories, data, hooks, and main ideas will go into each chapter. This will give you a clear framework for when you’re writing your first draft.
You can find our full outline template here , plus an explanation of how to put it to good use.
2. Let Go of Pressure To Be Perfect
When writing, don’t spend time worrying about whether your word choice is right, whether your sentence structure is smooth, or even whether it makes sense.
Your first draft should always be what I call a “vomit draft.” It’s not going to look good, but you’ll have something to show for it. Plus, you’ll feel much better once you’ve gotten the words out.
I know this may sound weird. You’re only writing a book because you want it to be good. So shouldn’t you make the first draft as good as you possibly can?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Authors agonize over the first chapter of a book, trying to get it perfect. Then, when they can’t achieve it, they abandon the book altogether.
The point of a first draft isn’t to have flawless writing. It’s to get your ideas onto the page.
Writing is a process. You’re going to change things around. You’ll add, delete, and edit. And then you’ll add, delete, and edit some more.
There’s no point wasting hours and getting lost in the weeds during your rough draft.
If you’re still not convinced, remember this: even the best writers have terrible first drafts.
You just don’t know it because those drafts go through a lot of editing before you see the finished product.
I’ve written 4 New York Times Bestsellers, and all of my first drafts were garbage. But they gave me a place to start. It’s much easier to fix something than it is to fix nothing.
Write the first draft. Then you can worry about how good it is.
3. Talk It Out
You might have a great outline, but when you sit down to write, you’re still intimidated by the blank screen.
I get it. Seeing your words in black and white can be daunting.
Some people hate the act of writing. Others are just much more comfortable speaking. That doesn’t make you lazy or unskilled.
It just means that you’re not a natural writer–like literally everyone else on earth. Everyone on earth (basically) learns to talk without having to be taught, but writing must be taught. There’s a reason for that. Writing is a cognitive skill that’s totally distinct from thinking and talking.
If you find yourself in this situation, here’s my solution: try talking it out.
Speak it out loud. Record yourself . Then get the recording transcribed.
Now, be aware, a transcript isn’t the same as a book. You’re going to have to edit out all your “um”s, cut out all the parts where you rambled, and rearrange a lot of the material.
But you’ll have a written document to work from.
It’s the same principle as the vomit draft. You can talk it out first and polish it later.
4. Get Out of The Way of Your Voice
A lot of writers talk about “finding their voice.”
That makes it sound like their voice is hiding under a sofa cushion or wedged under their car seat.
A voice isn’t something you “find.” It’s something you have. It’s already a part of who you are.
Your job as an Author is to let it emerge.
A lot of people can speak fluidly about their work or give impassioned speeches in meetings. But the second you ask them to write, they think it has to be “elevated.”
They try to sound smart. Or authoritative. Or eloquent.
Instead, it ends up sounding false, boring, or confusing. And in many cases, just plain bad.
You’re already smart, authoritative, and eloquent. So, get out of your own way.
Write in the voice you already have. Stop trying to “find” it.
If you’re still having trouble, the next two steps will give you more advice for letting your authentic voice come out.
5. Write Like You’re Talking to a Friend
You may not realize it, but you’re at your most eloquent when you’re talking with friends.
That’s because you’re comfortable and relaxed. You’re not trying to force your ideas or sound like something you’re not (this is why transcribing your speech can help you so much).
When you talk to your friends, you’re always engaged, attentive, and open. You’re also willing to answer their questions because you want to make sure they understand.
It can be hard to dispel the idea that books have to sound “academic.” But, frankly, a lot of academic writing is downright boring, both to you and the reader. Unless you’re writing to an academic audience, don’t use academic writing style.
If you want to be a great writer, focus on readability. Focus on connecting with your audience .
Your readers are much more likely to respond to what you have to say if you’re being real with them.
In the words of John Steinbeck,
“Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death, and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person — a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.”
Your readers are real people. And in theory, they’re people you want to interact with. So, write to them like you’re talking to a friend.
Chances are, your readers will start to think of you as one. And they’ll pay attention to what you have to say.
6. Write Like You’re Helping a Stranger Heal the Pain You Went Through
People will read your book because they want help with a problem.
Maybe they want to grow their business, improve their health, or do a better job raising their children.
Whatever the case may be, your job as an Author is to provide a solution. Your job is to ease their pain.
Talk to the reader as if they were someone you were trying to help in real life. Show empathy. Connect. Teach them in a loving way.
Tell them, “I’ve been there. Here’s what it was like for me. ” Focus on their pain, and then focus on how you can help.
That will immediately ease your anxiety and lessen any fears you have about “voice.”
Why? Because your attention won’t be on yourself anymore. It will be on your reader. And that’s exactly where it should be.
And here’s a cool trick if you really want to level up your writing: Follow tips 5 and 6. Write like you’re talking to a friend and helping them through a difficult situation.
Don’t worry too much about having the right words. Worry about helping people, and your voice will come out naturally.
7. Make It Short
Once you have a rough draft, it’s time to edit . That’s when you can shift your focus to good writing.
Because you’re not starting from scratch, it’ll be a lot easier to fine-tune your writing style.
You want a piece of writing that’s clear, concise, and to the point. That’s why it’s best to keep it short.
A lot of people assume a longer book is better. After all, it’s got more knowledge packed in, right?
A longer book often means the author rambles, has too many examples, or doesn’t care about readers’ attention spans.
In fact, most readers don’t want long books. The average bestseller length has been steadily declining every year.
Keep it short. That way, you’ll be forced to focus on what’s essential in your writing.
“Short” also applies to:
- chapters (usually no more than 4,000 words)
- paragraphs (usually no more than 2-3 sentences)
- sentences (5-20 words)
- words (less than 12 characters)
Be careful, though. You want your writing to be as short as possible, but you don’t want to leave anything out. Make sure you’re still hitting all the important parts of your outline.
8. Make It Simple
Short and simple are related, but they aren’t the same thing.
It’s possible to write something short but complex. That’s not a good idea.
It’s ok if your ideas are complex. But you have to break them down into simpler words and sentences. Otherwise, people won’t understand you.
If the goal of your book is to persuade or teach someone, do you think you’ll achieve it with convoluted writing?
Effective persuasion requires you to cut straight to the heart of things. Convince people. Win them over with simple language. Help them understand what you’re trying to say.
Get rid of the extra words and the complicated language. Reach your readers.
9. Make It Direct
What’s wrong with this sentence?
“This blog post was deftly written by Tucker, who deeply considered writing so his extensive knowledge could be had by eager readers, who might take immense benefit from his highly pertinent experience.”
It’s twistier than a Twizzler. And it’s really hard to understand.
A lot of writers use indirect language—passive voice, jargon, and too many clauses, adjectives, and adverbs.
Don’t do it.
Every sentence you write should be clear.
Limit yourself to one thought per sentence. Break your ideas down into direct language. And avoid passive voice at all costs.
Let me explain the difference between active and passive voice since a lot of people don’t know the difference.
Active voice means the subject of the sentence performs the verb. For example,”Tucker wrote the blog post.”
Passive voice means the subject of the sentence receives the action. For example,”The blog post was written by Tucker.”
They mean the exact same thing, but passive voice takes longer for people to understand. They have to imagine the blog and then think about Tucker writing it.
Passive voice also sounds weak and shifty.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at any piece of corporate bullshit writing.
“Mistakes were made.”
Passive voice means that the person doesn’t have to take responsibility for their actions. A strong leader would say, “I made a mistake,” not “mistakes were made.”
Using active voice instead of passive voice is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do to improve your writing.
10. Make It about the Reader
Why do people buy books?
The subject interests them. They thought it would be helpful. They were curious about the contents. They wanted to laugh. They wanted to cry.
There are countless reasons people buy books. And none of them has anything to do with what the Author wants.
Readers don’t care that it’s your dream to publish a book . They don’t care that you want to sell 3,000 copies. They don’t care that you want to grow your business, find new clients, or make money .
They want to get something from your book.
That’s why good writers always make their books about their readers.
For every word you write, ask yourself, “Why does the reader care?” If you can’t answer that question, scrap it. Shift your focus back to something the reader will care about.
Successful books are the ones that resonate with readers. And to resonate with readers, you have to offer them something worthwhile.
11. Write to an Interested 12-Year-Old
You know your field like the back of your hand. That doesn’t mean everyone else does. If you want to be inclusive and make your writing accessible to everyone, act like you’re talking to an interested 12-year-old.
12-year-olds aren’t toddlers. You don’t have to talk down to them.
But they’re also not people with advanced degrees in financial planning, consulting, or whatever else your specialty is. They’re clever enough to catch on and ask good questions, but you have to be thorough in your explanations.
Yes, this advice is true even for business writing. You might be talking to CEOs, but that doesn’t mean you have to use ten-dollar words or complicated concepts.
Ironically, writing for an interested 12-year-old takes more effort than writing for someone well-versed in your field. Ask any teacher, and they’ll tell you that it’s much easier to explain grammar when their audiences already know what a noun is.
It’s also much harder to keep a 12-year-old’s attention. You have to tell great stories with a hook if you want them to listen.
Your audience might be interested in your topic, but they aren’t captive. If your book is full of jargon or boring anecdotes, they’ll put it down.
It’s hard work to make sure your book is clear and interesting.
But that hard work will pay off. Telling simple, compelling stories is the best way to keep readers’ attention.
The Scribe Crew
Read this next.
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8 Easy Ways To Improve Your Writing Skills
When it comes to looking at how to improve your writing skills, we can sometimes feel a bit lost. With so much to cover and so many different suggestions, where do you start?
In this detailed guide, I’m going to show you 8 easy ways you can improve your creative writing abilities. They range from the obvious like reading and practising to joining writing groups, such as my community of writers.
However, while they may seem obvious, do not dismiss them. There are unique approaches you can take to ensure you get the most out of each one. For instance, reading analytically. But more on that below.
If you know of any other good ways to improve your writing skills, please share them in the comments below!
Why Is It Important To Improve Your Writing Skills?
Much is learned from life’s harsher lessons. When it comes to looking back on previous pieces of writing, we can feel embarrassed or ashamed. Instead, I say look back with pride . Look at it with the reassuring feeling that you’re able to see what’s wrong with it, what its weaknesses are, how you can change it—this shows you’ve improved your writing skills.
You know that next time you will do better and appreciate that in recognising all of these things, you’ve grown and improved and you’re now a better writer.
Here are a few of the most effective ways I’ve learned that help me to improve my craft.
”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” Stephen King.
Reading teaches you the craft of writing. You learn new words, new perspectives, sentence structure, pacing, characterization , plotting techniques , worldbuilding approaches. You see the ‘ writing rules ‘ and how they can be broken. Reading empowers you with knowledge drawn from first-hand examples.
Here’s another insightful quote from George RR Martin:
“The most important thing for any aspiring writer, I think, is to read ! And not just the sort of thing you’re trying to write, be that fantasy, SF, comic books, whatever. You need to read everything. Read fiction, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers. Read history, historical fiction, biography. Read mystery novels, fantasy, SF, horror, mainstream, literary classics, erotica, adventure, satire. Every writer has something to teach you, for good or ill. (And yes, you can learn from bad books as well as good ones — what not to do).” George RR Martin
As well as enjoying (or hating a story) it’s important to pay attention to the craft of how it’s written. If you’re unsure of a word, take the time to look up the definition and a few example sentences. With a critical eye observe word usage, syntax, structure, plotting.
To get through a few more books, you could try audiobooks or podcasts . Stephen King says he listens to them while driving, a much more productive alternative to listening to Led Zeppelin IV for the umpteenth time. There’s a website (and also an app), audiobooks.com, which has few free ones. You’ve nothing to lose in trying it.
And it’s definitely one of the most effective ways when it comes to exploring how to improve your writing skills.
You practice your craft as much as you can. With everything life has to throw at us it can be hard to find the time and motivation to write. But something is better than nothing. Every word is a step in the right direction.
Take a leaf out of Joanna Cannon’s book (excuse the pun). While working as a psychiatric nurse in an underfunded NHS she wrote her debut, bestselling novel, cramming in words before work, after work and during breaks.
Remember, you’re practising and improving. Don’t put the pressure of trying to write a good book on your shoulders. Allow yourself the freedom to experiment and explore.
“The more you write, the better you’ll get. But don’t write in my universe, or Tolkien’s, or the Marvel universe, or the Star Trek universe, or any other borrowed background. Every writer needs to learn to create his own characters, worlds, and settings. Using someone else’s world is the lazy way out. If you don’t exercise those “literary muscles,” you’ll never develop them.” George RR Martin
Lessons linger around every corner, but you must seek them. Everyone knows something you do not and there’s no shame in that. Those that succeed, listen. Begin with the basics and build from there. Read books on writing (like A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook ), watch lectures on YouTube, sign up for webinars, courses, workshops. Join forums or writing groups, discuss, share, critique.
You’re learning a new craft, and unless you’re James Joyce reincarnate you must take time to learn. Carpenters, electricians, doctors, lawyers go through years of training to master their fields. So must you.
They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something. That’s about 90 minutes a day for 20 years. A daunting prospect, but achievable. Put in the work and trust that everything else will follow.
If you’d like to get started with workshops and lectures, here’s my free webinar on how to write a fantasy novel. For me, resources like this are one of the best ways to improve your writing skills.
The real world has the power to inspire you. Go hiking, walk around your park, even just walk down your street. Catching a glimpse into the personal life of a stranger can provoke ideas for characters and development , so can seeing an unusual building or landmark.
Seeing the diversity in the appearance of people is a great source for character development. It’s remarkable how unique we all look; something I certainly take for granted. And it’s the little details that make wonderful stories.
Take a pen or paper, or make notes on your phone. Who knows when ideas will pop into your head.
5. Embrace failure
In failing we learn our weaknesses and better understand ourselves. It’s part of the process. So embrace it and absorb all of the feedback you can, whether from editors or beta readers.
Don’t let those lows extinguish your desire and enthusiasm. You can write and you have a story worth telling. Accept that you’re not going to get it right the first time, but be determined to keep going and succeed. When you finally achieve your goal it’ll feel better than taking any drug.
So don’t let rejection dampen your spirits. Use it to help you improve your writing skills.
6. Keep faith
This one’s linked to failing. No matter how down you feel, how ill-motivated you are, how low your confidence may be, always cling to that flame of hope.
Savour the little successes, as slight as they may be. A new subscriber to your mailing list, a few lines of feedback in a rejection email, achieving your daily word count, even just writing a word (some days it can be that hard). The world may say no, but the only person who can blow out that hopeful flame is you.
Further reading – Mental Health In Fantasy Books
7. Defeat procrastination
This is perhaps the most personal one of all for me. I’ll check my emails and 45 minutes later there I am scrolling through Twitter, a blank page before me.
Remove temptations. Turn off the wifi, leave your phone in another room. Tackle whatever defeats you head-on, and be bold in your steps. No half measures, as everyone’s favourite meth cook Heisenberg would say. Allow your mind to focus, to forget, to engage.
Further reading – 11 Essential Ways To Stop Procrastinating
8. Join An Online Writing Group
One of the best approaches I’ve come across when it comes to looking for ways to improve your writing skills is to collaborate and work with fellow writers.
They can provide you with honest feedback, a crucial analysis of your story structure, characters, theme and premise , and give you the vital feedback you need to take your story to the next level.
I find that whenever I’ve worked with someone who’s provided me with feedback, that I improve my writing skills. I learn new approaches, see things in different ways, experiment with new styles or gain greater confidence in my voice.
And that’s why I’ve created my own writing community, to enable other writers to share in the same benefits that I enjoy every day.
While we congregate in our private Facebook group, we also have a dedicated Discord channel within which you can chat with fellow writers, arrange beta reading and discuss ideas. This can only help you improve your writing skills.
To join, just click below.
Join A Writing Group Full Of Passionate Writers
Get More Help With How To Improve Your Writing Skills
If you’d like any further support and guidance with improving your creative writing ability, then there are lots of other resources that you can take advantage of.
Chief amongst them is my fantasy writing podcast, The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed .
While this has a focus on the fantasy genre and its many subgenres , we cover all kinds of general writing subjects, such as creating conflict, plus episodes on how to get published.
To listen, just click below.
More Guides and Resource On How To Improve Your Writing Skills
If you’d like to read up on some other ways you can improve your writing skills, then I have some other related guides you may enjoy, as well as tips from some other reputable sources:
- Head here to learn more about viewpoint, tense and narrative distance
- For more general writing tips , head here, or go here for fantasy writing advice
- If you’d like help finding publishers and book reviewers , check out my writing tools page.
- Learn more about improving your writing flow
- If you’re into academic writing , this guide will help you
If you have any questions about how to improve your writing skills, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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8 thoughts on “8 easy ways to improve your writing skills”.
These are great! 7 is a struggle for me as well.
Thank you! I’m glad you found them useful. Don’t get me started on procrastination. I’m doing it right now…
“They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something”… And there is NO science/facts to back that up, even if it were true that all people learned skills a the same rate, which is also untrue. We need to stop spreading this, ‘It takes ten thousand hours to become good’ nonsense and just say, ‘Work at it, and you’ll get better.’
“Accept that you’re not going to get it right first time, but be determined to keep going and succeed.” This is so important. I see a lot of younger people now who grew up being told they could do literally anything ‘if you just put your mind to it,’ and when they try to do something but don’t get it perfect on the first attempt, they get frustrated and give up, because they think just wanting to do something should make them perfect at it without any effort to acquire the skill.
It’s more like you need to write 100,000 words to blow all the crap out of your system. It’s just a ballpark of when you will have hit your stride and gained an experience level, and can start developing your personal style more readily. As you say, it’s different for everyone, but a good guideline and something concrete you can shoot for.
Useful advise, simple (I like this best!) but good to be reminded. Thank you for sharing.
I greatly disagree with GRR Martin’s take on fanfic. When you write fanfic, you are still gaining writing skills, learning character development, plot, theme, world-building beyond that of the original setting… all things which let you improve your skills in language and storytelling. Is it a crutch? Sure. If someone needs an actual crutch, are you going to yank that away from them? No, that’d be dickish. I think of fanfic as more of a sandbox environment, where you can build whatever you want based on whatever you want. What if this event happened instead? What if I want these two characters to interact? Do it! The human brain is designed for running this kind of simulation! And here’s the thing… sometimes great works can come out of the things you build based on someone else’s foundation. I hate to point to 50 Shades as an example, but it’s success can’t be denied. Friends of mine have converted Gargoyles and TMNT fanfics into published books; it’s just a couple of steps away from being original work once you cut some of the connections. One friend has basically taken two characters she likes to write, renamed them, put them in a humanized AU and made the setting a tech-advanced alien planet, with a society based on ancient Egypt. And it’s incredible, and resembles nothing of the original other than the personalities of the characters. Plus, she’s French, and this experience, with a little guidance, is helping her learn to write in a second language. I’ve encountered and helped numerous people who wanted to write and share their stories, but were still in the process of learning English to the point of sounding natural. Again, fanfic’s a way to help them gain that experience in a way that keeps them motivated. I can’t stress how so, so important that is to learning! So people like GRR Martin saying, “No, go make your own,”… that’s elitist dickbaggery. It’s right up there with “Do it right the first time or don’t do it at all.”
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“They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something.” You do know this is just something one person said many years ago (without any evidence to support it), and a lot of people have just been parroting ever since (also without any evidence to support it, beyond, ‘They say you need ten thousand hours of practice…’), right? At the very least, it should be obvious that not every person acquires new skills at the same pace, so what takes one person ten thousand hours to master may take another twenty thousand and a third only one thousand.
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How to Improve Your Creative Writing Skills
Table of contents
Creative writing assignments are not new to you, but whenever you are asked to write a poem or a fictional story in college, do you feel nervous? Well, you are not alone. The pressure to be ‘creative’ is real.
Having good creative writing skills can be one of the most important things that students need to have nowadays. To enhance your creative writing skills, you can start by understanding what creative writing is and the factors that can support your development in creative writing.
In this article, we’ll touch upon what creative writing is, along with how you can become a better creative writer and the other skills you can work on to do so.
What is Creative Writing
Creative writing, as the name itself, is a newer style of writing that goes beyond the formal, professional, and traditional styles of writing. Most people with creative writing styles end up creating fictional or nonfictional works.
Some examples of creative writing work include poems, stories, journalistic, film scripts, and more. Therefore, creative writing is often known as the most expressive writing style.
These days, creative writing has come in many forms that are easy to find around us, including each significant genre and style. For example, creative writing includes biographies, fiction works, poetry or spoken words, non-academic essays, speeches, and scriptwriting.
5 Ways to Improve your Creative Writing Skills
If you think that some people are just born to be excellent writers, you are mistaken. While it is not something you can learn or imbibe, with regular practice and training , nothing can stop you from acing the art of creative writing. Here are five simple ways to enhance your creative writing skills.
1. Read, read, and read more
First, if you love to write something, you should also love to read!
The reason why you need to read more is that by reading, you can pour the ideas that you have into work. Practicing writing skills is very important to produce excellent and enchanting art.
Have you ever wondered why many lecturers suggest their students read some articles or journals? Some of them even give their students whole journals as references for the classes. Well, it is because by reading a lot of articles, essays, or academic reports, you will be able to produce one in the future!
You will get used to the styles, the format, and the differences between each article. By getting used to these, you will be able to choose your own topics to write down and make your own article or essays. But make sure you don’t plagiarize their writing – the idea is to take inspiration.
2. Review the work of other writers
In addition to reading your favorite writers’ works, you should also make an attempt to review their work.
By reviewing your favorite writer's work, you can figure out their ways of doing the research (qualitative, quantitative, etc.) and how they apply the theoretical basis in their study. Or how they propose their new idea about the matters that are discussed.
So, it will bring many ideas for you who are still on your way to doing creative work too. Doing a review will give you many inspirations on what you can or can't write.
3. Understand the language and grammar rules
Even though it’s called ‘creative writing,’ it doesn't mean you can neglect the critical language and grammar rules in writing.
Make sure you use languages that suit your writing style, the kind of works you will make, and the genre of your works. Choosing the wrong words or diction can cause readers to get bored and even doubt the quality of your work.
Next, grammar is essential to show that you have above-average writing skills. In addition, using good and correct grammar will help you to write stories more coherently and easily understood.
So people will not feel confused when reading your writing if the grammar is messed up. After all, creative writing also does works that are still part of the literature field, so you can't forget about the grammar rules.
4. Explore voice and characters in your writing
Furthermore, to improve your writing skills, you can try to write things in a different way than usual.
For example, if you want to write down your opinion on a particular social phenomenon, you can try to write down the point you want to write down in your work.
Try to find the best research methods , theoretical basics, and kinds of studies that you can apply to that social phenomenon. This way, your ability in writing will improve step by step.
Next, to explore the topics or notions you want to bring out from the study, you can try to write them down in detail. Consider asking questions such as:
- What kind of effect will this social phenomenon have on society?
- How did this social phenomenon start?
- What is the other factor that affects this social phenomenon?
- Are there any effective research methods that will bring the best result for this topic?
5. Try different types of creative formats
Apart from finding a writing style that suits you, you must be brave to improve your creative writing skills by trying other writing formats. This will help you to increase your creativity in writing.
For instance, if you’re comfortable writing fictional stories, why not experiment and give poetry a try? This will help you understand different creative writing formats and the nuances they come with.
4 Essential Skills you Need for Creative Writing
Apart from creativity (of course!), there are other critical skills you need to ace your creative writing assignment. Let’s take a look at what those are.
If you want to improve your creative writing, start working on your imagination. It will help you to build ideas for your writing.
For example, when you see specific government rules in your country, you can try to imagine what would happen if those rules failed. Is there any chaos ensuing? Will there be any rules that can be more effective and actual to replace the current rules?
Tip: be observant and start taking notes. You never know when your ideas can find their way into your writing.
Here’s an interesting video by Psych2Go on being creative and building your image.
A good writer never gives up on writing. There will be a phase when you feel so unmotivated that you can't write anything! It is okay if you want to pause for a while and take some rest. But, make sure that you will come back and continue your work again.
Remember: practice makes perfect, and giving up should never be an option.
Next, you should be adaptive to the development of the creative writing world that may happen in the future. It is good to have a unique, authentic style of writing.
But, make sure that you can fulfill what the audience wants, the writing style that is famous nowadays, or what kind of topics and research people would love to read.
The last and most important skill a student should have is resilience! Don't be afraid of critics or any suggestions that people give to your works. The golden rule is to not take any feedback on your writing personally.
Whenever you write something, it is a good idea to share it with your friends and family and be open to criticism. This gives you a fresh perspective which will only help you improve your creative writing skills.
We agree creative writing can be daunting and might need a lot of work, but it is certainly something you get better at with time and practice.
The next time you are met with a creative writing assignment and are unsure of your skills or are running out of time, reach out to a reliable creative writing service like Writers Per Hour.
Be it a poem, prose, story, or script – our team of writers are experts in all forms of creative writing and will deliver original, high-quality work within the stipulated deadline.
Last edit at Jul 27 2023
Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour . She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.
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Creative Writing Ideas Techniques: 10 Tips to Improve Your Writing Skills
By: Author Paul Jenkins
Posted on Published: June 9, 2023 - Last updated: July 31, 2023
Categories Writing , Creativity
Creative writing is an art form that allows individuals to express themselves through their writing. It is a way to convey emotions, thoughts, and ideas uniquely and creatively.
However, coming up with new and exciting ideas for creative writing can be challenging. Whether you are a seasoned writer or just starting, having a toolbox of techniques and ideas to draw from can help you develop your skills and take your writing to the next level.
Many techniques and strategies can be used to generate creative writing ideas.
One approach is focusing on a character and building a story around them. Another technique is to use visuals or prompts as a starting point for your writing.
Additionally, brainstorming and freewriting can help you generate ideas and get your creative juices flowing. By incorporating these techniques and others, you can develop your unique writing style and voice.
Creative Writing Basics
As a creative writer, it is essential to master the basics of craft, structure, and literary devices. These three elements are the foundation of any successful piece of writing, whether it is a novel, short story, or poem.
This section will explore these elements in-depth and provide tips and exercises to help you improve your creative writing skills.
Craft refers to the technical skills involved in writing, such as grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. It also includes creating vivid descriptions, believable characters, and engaging dialogue.
To improve your craft, it is essential to practice regularly and seek feedback from other writers or writing groups. You can also read books on writing to learn about different techniques and approaches.
Structure refers to writing organization, including its plot, point of view, and setting.
A well-structured story has a clear beginning, middle, and end; each scene or chapter should move the plot forward.
Choosing the right point of view and setting is essential to convey the story’s emotions and perspective effectively. To improve your structure, you can use outlines, storyboards, or other planning tools to help you map your story’s structure before you begin writing.
Literary devices are techniques writers use to create meaning and impact.
These include metaphors, similes, imagery, and symbolism. Using literary devices can help create a more vivid and engaging story that resonates with readers. To improve your use of literary devices, you can study examples from other writers or experiment with different techniques in your writing.
In conclusion, mastering the basics of craft, structure, and literary devices is essential for any creative writer. By practicing regularly and seeking feedback from others, you can improve your writing skills and create stories that captivate readers.
In creative writing, generating ideas is one of the most important steps. Without a good idea, it can be difficult to get started and keep going. Fortunately, many techniques can help you develop great ideas for your writing. Here are a few techniques to consider:
Creative Writing Prompts
One of the easiest ways to generate ideas is to use creative writing prompts. These are short, simple ideas or phrases that can be used as a starting point for your writing. You can find creative writing prompts online or in books or come up with your own.
Some popular prompts include:
- Write a story about a character who falls in love with someone unexpectedly.
- Describe a place you’ve never been to before.
- Write a story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world.
Another way to generate ideas is to observe the world around you. Pay attention to the people, places, and things you encounter daily. Take notes on interesting details or observations that you can use in your writing. For example, if you notice a couple having an argument in a coffee shop, you could use that as inspiration for a scene in a romance novel.
Freewriting is a technique that involves writing without stopping for a set period. The goal is to write whatever comes to mind without worrying about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. This can help you get past writer’s block and generate new ideas. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and write whatever comes to mind. You might be surprised at what you come up with!
Reading is a great way to get inspired and generate new ideas. When you read, pay attention to the writing techniques that the author uses. Take notes on interesting phrases, descriptions, or characterizations that you can use in your writing. You can also use reading to spark your imagination. For example, if you’re writing a nonfiction essay about love, you could read a romance novel to get ideas.
Research is another way to generate ideas for your writing. Look up information on topics that interest you, and take notes on interesting facts or details you can use in your writing. You can also use research to spark your imagination. For example, if you’re writing a nonfiction essay about love, you could research the history of marriage to get ideas.
One of the most important aspects of creative writing is character development. Characters are the driving force behind any story, and their actions and motivations are what keep readers engaged. Here are a few techniques to help you develop compelling characters:
Understanding Your Characters
Before you start writing, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your characters. This means knowing their backstory, their motivations, and their personality traits.
One way to do this is by creating a character profile including their age, occupation, hobbies, and fears. This will help you create a fully realized character that feels real.
Writing prompts can be a great way to develop your characters. For example, you could write a scene where your character faces a difficult decision. This will help you understand your character’s thoughts and values. You could also try writing a scene from your character’s past to explore their backstory.
Like any skill, character development takes practice. One way to improve is by writing character sketches. These short scenes focus on a specific aspect of your character, such as their relationship with another character or their reaction to a specific event.
By writing these sketches, you’ll better understand your character and how they fit into your story.
Overall, character development is a crucial part of creative writing. By understanding your characters, using writing prompts, and practicing, you can create compelling characters that will keep your readers engaged from beginning to end.
Narrative techniques are the tools that writers use to tell a story effectively. They can help to create a sense of atmosphere, convey emotions, and develop characters. In this section, we will discuss some of the most important narrative techniques that writers use.
Point of View
The point of view is the perspective from which a story is told. It can be first person, second person, or third person. The First-person point of view uses “I” or “we” to tell the story. The second-person point of view uses “you” to address the reader directly. The third-person point of view uses “he,” “she,” or “they” to describe the characters.
The point of view can affect the reader’s understanding of the story and their relationship with the characters.
The setting is the time and place in which the story takes place. It can be used to create a sense of atmosphere and convey the story’s mood.
The setting can also affect the characters and their actions. For example, a story set in a dark, eerie forest will have a different feel than one set in a bright, sunny meadow.
Emotions are an important part of any story. They can help to create tension and conflict, and they can also help to develop the characters. Writers can use descriptive language and imagery to convey emotions and create a sense of empathy with the characters.
Perspective refers to how the story is told. It can be objective or subjective. An objective perspective is when the narrator is neutral and does not take sides.
A subjective perspective is when the narrator has a specific point of view and may be biased. Perspective can affect the reader’s understanding of the story and their relationship with the characters.
Storytelling is how the story is told. It can be linear or non-linear. Linear storytelling is when the story is told in chronological order. Non-linear storytelling is when the story is told out of order. Storytelling can affect the reader’s understanding of the story and their relationship with the characters.
Metaphors are comparisons between two things that are not alike. They can be used to create imagery and to convey emotions. Metaphors can help to make the story more vivid and memorable.
Narrative techniques are essential for writers to tell a story effectively.
The point of view, setting, emotions, perspective, storytelling, and metaphors are all important elements that can help to create a compelling story. Using these techniques, writers can create an atmosphere, convey emotions, and develop characters that readers will remember.
Regarding creative writing, different genres require different techniques to make the story stand out. Here are some genre-specific techniques to help you write your next masterpiece.
Romance novels require strong character development and emotional depth. To create a compelling romance story, consider the following techniques:
- Develop relatable characters with vulnerabilities and flaws
- Use vivid sensory details to bring scenes to life
- Build tension and conflict between characters
- Use dialogue to reveal character personalities and motivations
- Create a satisfying resolution that leaves readers feeling fulfilled
Nonfiction writing requires extensive research and a clear, concise writing style. To make your nonfiction work stand out, consider the following techniques:
- Use storytelling techniques to make the information engaging and memorable
- Use clear, concise language to convey complex ideas
- Use concrete examples and evidence to support your arguments
- Use formatting techniques such as headings, bullet points, and tables to organize information
- Use a strong voice and point of view to connect with readers
Fantasy writing requires world-building and a vivid imagination. To create a captivating fantasy story, consider the following techniques:
- Create a unique and believable world with its own rules and customs
- Develop complex characters with their motivations and backstories
- Use vivid sensory details to bring the world to life
- Use magic and supernatural elements to create a sense of wonder and awe
- Use themes that resonate with readers, such as the battle between good and evil
Mystery writing requires a strong plot and attention to detail. To write a compelling mystery story, consider the following techniques:
- Create a complex and intriguing plot with unexpected twists and turns
- Develop a strong protagonist with a unique perspective and backstory
- Use vivid sensory details to create a sense of atmosphere and tension
- Use foreshadowing and clues to keep readers engaged and guessing
- Create a satisfying resolution that ties up loose ends and surprises readers
Sci-fi writing requires a strong imagination and attention to scientific detail. To create a captivating sci-fi story, consider the following techniques:
- Create a unique and believable world with its own scientific rules and technology
- Use themes that resonate with readers, such as the impact of technology on society
- Use scientific concepts and theories to create a sense of wonder and awe
Fairy tale writing requires a sense of magic and whimsy. To create a captivating fairy tale story, consider the following techniques:
- Create a unique and fantastical world with its own rules and customs
- Develop archetypal characters such as heroes, villains, and mentors
- Use vivid sensory details to create a sense of enchantment and wonder
- Use themes that resonate with readers, such as the power of love and the battle between good and evil
- Use magical elements such as spells and curses to create a sense of danger and suspense
Dramatic writing requires a strong plot and emotional depth. To write a compelling dramatic story, consider the following techniques:
- Use themes that resonate with readers, such as the struggle for power and the search for identity
Improving Your Writing
Improving your writing is a continuous process that requires dedication and practice. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, new techniques and ideas exist to explore.
This section will discuss some effective ways to improve your writing skills.
Writing techniques are essential tools that can help you enhance your writing skills. Some of the most effective writing techniques include:
- Brainstorming : This technique involves generating ideas and concepts about a specific topic. Brainstorming can help you develop new and creative ideas for your writing.
- Outlining : Outlining is organizing your ideas and thoughts before you start writing. It can help you create a clear structure for your writing and make the writing process more efficient.
- Drafting : Drafting involves writing a rough version of your work. It can help you identify areas that need improvement and refine your writing.
- Editing : Editing involves reviewing and revising your work to improve its quality. It can help you identify errors and inconsistencies and refine your writing.
Observation is an important skill that can help you improve your writing. Observing the world around you can help you develop new ideas and perspectives for your writing. Some effective ways to observe include:
- People-watching : Observing people and their behavior can help you develop realistic and relatable characters in your writing.
- Nature-watching : Observing nature can help you develop vivid descriptions and settings in your writing.
Freewriting is a technique that involves writing continuously for a set amount of time without worrying about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Freewriting can help you generate new ideas and overcome writer’s block.
Reading is an essential part of improving your writing skills. Reading can help you better understand different writing styles and techniques. Some effective ways to read include:
- Reading widely : Reading a variety of genres and styles can help you develop a diverse range of writing skills.
- Analyzing literature : Analyzing literature can help you understand the techniques and styles used by other writers and apply them to your writing.
There are many resources available to help you improve your writing skills. Some of the most effective resources include:
- Writing courses : Writing courses can help you develop new skills and techniques for your writing.
- Writing groups : Writing groups can provide feedback and support for your writing.
- Writing books : Writing books can provide valuable insights and techniques for improving your writing.
By utilizing these techniques and resources, you can improve your writing skills and develop your unique writing style.
Overcoming Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is a common problem that many writers face. It can be frustrating and discouraging, but there are several techniques that you can use to overcome it.
One way to overcome writer’s block is to change your environment. Sometimes, being in the same place for too long can stifle creativity. Try a new location, such as a coffee shop or a park, to get a fresh perspective.
If you can’t physically change your environment, try changing your workspace’s lighting, music, or scents.
Another technique to overcome writer’s block is approaching your writing differently. If you’re stuck on a particular scene or character, try writing from a different character’s point of view or in a different tense. This can help you see your writing in a new light and develop fresh ideas.
In addition to changing your environment and perspective, several other techniques can help you overcome writer’s block. These include:
- Freewriting: Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and write whatever comes to mind without worrying about grammar or structure.
- Outlining: Create an outline of your story or essay to help you organize your thoughts and break down your writing into manageable chunks.
- Brainstorming: Write down every idea that comes to mind, no matter how silly or impractical it may seem. This can help you generate new ideas and get unstuck.
Using these techniques, you can overcome writer’s block and return to writing with renewed creativity and confidence.
Publishing and Community
Publishing and community are two essential aspects of creative writing that every writer should consider. While publishing is about sharing your writing with the world, the community is about finding an audience and connecting with other writers.
This section explores how to publish your writing and build a community around your work.
The publishing industry is vast, and there are many genres to choose from regarding creative writing. Every genre has its unique audience and publishing opportunities, from romance to horror to science fiction.
For example, if you’re interested in writing romance novels, you might consider submitting your work to Harlequin, one of the largest publishers of romance novels.
Novels are one of the most popular forms of creative writing, and many publishing opportunities are available for aspiring novelists.
Some publishers specialize in specific genres, while others accept a wide range of fiction. Before submitting your work, research the publisher’s submission guidelines to ensure that your manuscript meets their requirements.
Short stories are a great way to hone your writing skills and build a portfolio of published work. Many literary magazines and journals accept short story submissions, and there are also many online platforms where you can publish your work.
If you’re interested in publishing your short stories, research the submission guidelines for each publication to ensure that your work is a good fit.
Playwriting is a unique form of creative writing that requires a different set of skills than other forms of writing. If you’re interested in writing plays, there are many opportunities to have your work produced and published.
Some theaters accept unsolicited submissions, while others only accept submissions through agents. Research the submission guidelines for each theater before submitting your work.
Personal essays are a popular form of creative nonfiction, allowing writers to share their experiences and insights.
Many literary magazines and online publications accept personal essay submissions, and there are also many opportunities to publish personal essays in anthologies and collections. If you’re interested in publishing your essays, research the submission guidelines for each publication to ensure that your work is a good fit.
Blogging is a popular way for writers to share their work and connect with readers. Whether you’re interested in starting your blog or contributing to an existing blog, there are many opportunities to publish your writing online. If you’re interested in blogging, research the platform’s guidelines and audience to ensure your content is a good fit.
Building a community around your writing is essential for finding an audience and connecting with other writers. There are many ways to build a writing community, from attending workshops and conferences to joining online writing groups.
Connecting with other writers allows you to receive feedback on your work, share resources and ideas, and find support and encouragement throughout your writing journey.
In conclusion, creative writing is a valuable skill that can be developed through various techniques and approaches. As we have seen, there are many different ways to approach creative writing, from using similes and imagery to exploring different points of view and narrative structures.
One key aspect of successful creative writing is originality. By exploring new ideas and perspectives, writers can develop unique stories that stand out. Additionally, turning points and resolutions can add depth and meaning to a story, helping to engage readers and keep them interested.
Another important factor to consider is the writing style. Whether you prefer the concise, straightforward prose of Ernest Hemingway or the more elaborate language of a crime novel, developing your unique writing style can help you stand out as a writer.
Of course, it’s also important to remember that creative writing should be fun! Whether you’re exploring funny story ideas or delving into more serious themes, writing should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
If you struggle to develop ideas for your next writing project, don’t hesitate to ask friends and family for inspiration. You can also explore literature, movies, video games, and other sources for creative writing ideas and techniques.
Ultimately, the key to successful creative writing is to stay true to your voice and vision. You can develop your skills and boost your confidence as a writer with practice and perseverance. So go forth and write, and see where your imagination takes you!
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Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills Today
Every writer wants to make it, get published, get noticed—but how do you get there? How do you make sure you’re writing skills are up to par? Sure, you could spend a couple years and plenty of cash on an MFA, and there are plenty of books and manuals that will tell you “How to improve your writing.” But sometimes, it’s the little things that can make you a better writer. Just a few small changes to your writing process might take you to a whole new level—and it only gets easier from there! Try out a few of these simple but highly effective writing exercises to strengthen your writing know how and make you stand out from the crowd:
Sleep on it
One of the easiest ways to improve your writing skills is to simply sleep on it. Put the draft away and don’t look at it for 24 to 48 hours—longer if you don’t have a looming deadline. Don’t think about it either. You need some time away from your writing to get a more clear-headed perspective on it. If it’s too fresh, you’ll still be attached to it, and you won’t be able to muster up the courage to ‘ kill your darlings ,’ as they say. This cool-off period is actually a great time to do some reading, which is our next strategy…
Read, read, read
There’s really no way around it—you cannot become a better writer without being a keen reader. So pay attention to different writing materials. And when you read, it’s smart to diversify. Pick up genres that you normally wouldn’t and give them a try. Read Tolstoy as well as lighter blog posts. You don’t have to fall in love with a sci-fi novel if you’re usually an English literature fan, but it’s healthy for your writer brain to have a varied diet of writing genres and styles.
If you have time, join a book club to force yourself to read analytically again. Be an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction of all lengths, and you’ll see your writing style, whether that’s creative writing or technical writing, magically improve.
Take an online class
Attending a class on writing or going to a writing workshop can be a big investment of time and money. To help you save on both, take an online course like CreativeLive’s Take Your Writing from Good to Great with Jennie Nash . The great thing about a video course is that you can watch it anytime you want, rewind it if you don’t understand something, and you can do this all while munching on popcorn in your pajamas or browsing social media.
Create a strategic plan to help you realize your book-writing dreams. Learn more with Jennie Nash.
Not every writer will agree with this technique, but one simple way to improve your writing is to tighten it up. Cut out excessive adjectives and extra phrases that are simply not necessary in your sentence structure. Worse still, overly complex sentences can be distracting for readers. Use simple structure and simple words when you can. This will make you a better writer in no time.
You can paste your text into a free program like Word Counter , which will, among other things, reveal the frequency of certain words and phrases used. This way you can tell if you’re guilty of overdoing it with a favorite phrase or word. Other platforms like Grammarly are a nice way to help you brush up on common grammar mistakes.
Ignore the inner critic
Until you’ve got your first draft down on the page, don’t make any edits. You need to let the words flow freely before you start chopping them up into little pieces. So don’t consider word choices too carefully at first. It’s not easy to suppress your inner editor, but try it one or two pages at a time, and see if this method works for you.
Get new perspective
Whether you meet in person or you exchange writing feedback online, having more eyes on your work is a surefire way to grow your writing skills. You always need an outside perspective. If you’ve got the budget for it, hire an editor or another experienced writer to give you detailed feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to read your work for clarity before you submit it. More likely than not, he or she will have some good advice.
Write every day
To improve your writing you need to practice, just like any other skill. It’s that simple. Do you have 5 free minutes every day? Yes, you do. In those 5 free precious minutes, whip out that hipster notebook you’ve been wondering what to do with, open a new document (or an ongoing journal document so you don’t have to stare at a blank space ) on your laptop, open up that basic notepad app on your phone–and write something, anything. If you experience writer’s block, try again the next day. The best writers don’t get it on the first time.
Set the timer on your phone and just write nonstop for 5 minutes. If you prefer a writing project or a writing exercise to give you some structure or purpose, there are tons of those online . Do this every day, and those 5 minutes will naturally stretch into 10, 15 or 30 minutes a day because you won’t be able to stop those creative juices from flowing.
Choose your atmosphere wisely
Sometimes, firing up a specially designed playlist or settling into the window-side table of a favorite cafe might be all you need to get the words flowing . Outside cues and stimulation can put you in the right frame of mind and draw out the inspiration and know how you need to write with ease and confidence.
If you’re serious about good writing (or great writing!) or getting published, there’s no time to make excuses—start implementing these strategies today, and watch your writing prowess blossom!
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Suchi Rudra is a nomadic writer of articles, stories and songs, taking inspiration from her travels. Follow her wanderings at Tread Lightly, Travel Naturally .
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How to Improve Creative Writing Skills: 10 Fun Ways for Kids!
Want to be a novelist when you grow up? But worried that your English skills may not be up to scratch. Or maybe you just can’t seem to find the right inspiration to get you started! Here’s a list of 10 ways to improve your creative writing skills this summer. Guaranteed to leave you inspired and ready to write your next big novel or a super sweet short story!
What are Creative Writing Skills?
Before we tell you how to improve your creative writing skills, you need to know what exactly this means. Creative writing refers to fictional writing or storytelling. Take, for example, a newspaper article is not an example of creative writing, as it must include facts about a situation. While with creative writing you can use your imagination to make stuff up. Generally, the purpose of creative writing is to produce something which is entertaining, engaging and even personal.
Many writers use creative writing as a way of expressing their feelings and thoughts. It is a type of art form which uses words instead of pictures to connect with people. Examples of creative writing may include:
- Song lyrics
- Short Stories
- Movie scripts
- Scripts for plays
But not all creative writing is fictional. Some like memoirs can be non-fictional and based on true stories. But could be written using imaginative language or have a dialogue between characters .
10 Ways to Improve your creative writing skills
1. read everything you can find.
Let’s start with the obvious one! Read a lot! Read anything you find lying around your house from old storybooks to newspapers. While reading this stuff, pay attention to the words being used by the writer, the use of metaphors, adjectives, characters, the plot, the conflict in the story etc. If you come across a word you don’t understand, use a dictionary to find its meaning and then practice using it in a sentence to gain a better understanding of that word. For more ways to get kids reading, check out this cool article .
2. Find inspiration in everyday things.
The world around you is full of interesting events. Go for a walk and ask yourself questions, such as what is that person doing? What is that dog looking at? Why are those people arguing? Write a summary of something that is happening on the TV or a video game you just finished playing. Write about everything and anything you see, hear, smell or feel! You’ll be surprised at what pops up in your head.
3. Use writing prompts to inspire you.
There are tons of resources on the internet that can inspire you, in magazines, newspaper headlines and any other words you find lying around. Why not check out our writing prompts for kids or sign-up for our newsletter for monthly creative writing resources?
4. Criticise the work of others.
When reading a book, try to identify the flaws in that story and list a couple of improvements. Also, note down the best parts of that story, what did you enjoy while reading that book? This can help you to understand the elements of a great story and what to avoid when writing. You can aim to do weekly or monthly book reviews on the books you read. Soon you’ll be able to master the secrets of great creative writing like a master!
5. Keep a journal and write something in it every day.
Even if you think your life is boring and nothing interesting ever happens in it. You can write about your goals and inspirations or what you did for lunch today. Anything is better than nothing! One day you’ll look back at these notes and they’ll inspire you to write an awesome story – you never know.
6. Play imaginative games.
Games such as cops and robbers or pretending to be a character from your favourite TV show or movie can be really inspirational. You can use our printable Red Riding Hood paper finger puppets to role-play the story of Red Riding Hood! Link a writing activity with these games, such as writing a day in the life story for a character you are playing or sending an imaginary letter to your favourite character in the story.
7. Rewrite a famous story.
Sometimes creating new characters or a story plot from scratch can be difficult. To improve your creative writing skills you can take a well-known story, such as Cinderella or any other fairy tale and change it slightly, so it has a different ending or comes from a different character’s perspective. For example, you can write from the point of view of the ugly stepsisters and how they felt when Cinderella found her Prince Charming! Or what if Prince Charming chose the stepsisters over Cinderella, what would she have done to escape?
8. Use image prompts to inspire you!
Image prompts, such as photographs, paintings, or a picture in a magazine can be great. You can even take your own pictures when on a day out or on holiday. When you come home, for each picture you can write an interesting caption to describe it. You can even try creating a whole story from all your holiday photos!
9. Incentivise your writing!
When writing, try setting yourself some small goals. For example today I will aim to write 100 words. Once you achieve this goal, give yourself a reward. This can be anything you like, such as going out with your friends, watching your favourite film or playing your favourite game. The important thing is that you stay motivated when writing. This is most important when trying to improve your creative writing skills.
10. Connect writing with your interests.
If you love football, why not write about your favourite footballer? How would you feel if you met them? What would you say to them? Why not write an imaginary letter to them? Whatever you enjoy doing, you can link any writing activity to it!
Check out our list of over 100 creative writing exercises for more ideas on how to improve your creative writing skills.
Bonus Creative writing Tips
- Don’t worry too much about spelling or grammar. You can fix these afterwards, once you have your story in place. Focus on developing creative story ideas and how wacky your stories can become!
- Ensure you have a comfortable place to write your stories. Check out our Pinterest for suitable reading and writing nooks! The perfect writing nook should have pens, paper, pencils, a dictionary, a thesaurus, a bookshelf and anything else that you love!
- Plan your story before writing. Check out our cool, printable storyboard template here .
- Schedule some time every day to focus on reading or writing activities.
See over 26 creative writing tips that will turn you into a professional writer!
Top 5 Skills for Creative Writing
Interested in creative writing? The skills of a creative writer include:
- Imagination: You need a great deal of imagination to excel in creative writing. No one wants to read the same old story again, they want to see a unique take on a topic – Something that makes them go wow!
- Persistence: Writing takes time. Whether it’s a poem or a novel, you need to be able to spend hours, days and even weeks and months perfecting your ideas and working out a plot. And then comes the editing and publishing process. Let’s just say you can’t be a great creative writer in one day – that’s for sure.
- Resilience: T he life of a creative writer is hard. You will be faced with a lot of criticism from all sorts of people. Some might think your story is not realistic, others might say your plot is a little dull. But you need to be able to handle criticism and build from it. Remember criticism is not a bad thing, it helps you become a better writer.
- Writing Ability: Your words have to make sense, grammatically. You can be a professional creative writer if you’re not sure how to use commas or don’t know how to format dialogue properly. For this reason, it is important to understand the basics of writing in general before you become a creative writer.
Got any more tips to improve your creative writing skills? Let us know by commenting below!
Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.
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9 Easy Ways to Improve Your Child’s Creative Writing Skills
Creative writing skills boost problem-solving, innovation, and resourcefulness. Helping our kids build these skills is important. Plus, it also gives them an outlet for all their creative ideas. How do you build those skills without making it seem like work?
Here are 9 ways to make creative writing skills fun:
1. Read Often
Books are the best precursor to writing. So get your kids reading! With repeated exposure to words, ideas, and styles, and in books, kids build the ability to mimic and adopt them.
Flood them with exposure to books and watch their skills rise. Yes, it will look a lot like what they’ve read at first. That’s ok! They’re just playing “dress up” with other people’s ideas. They’ll soon start writing like themselves.
Encourage your children to read more than one type of writing. If they gravitate toward non-fiction, maybe try historical fiction. If they only like superhero stories, introduce them to a story with a main character of a different gender or ethnicity.
2. Identify Ways to Practice
Just like anything, improving creative writing skills takes practice. Set your children up for success by making practice easy and fun. This will only help them in future grades when they are required to write book reports .
You can piggy-back creative writing off of other imaginative play and encourage your child to write down episodes of the games he plays. Allow the free flow of ideas – the more creative the better!
Focus on this type of activity can be tricky for kids. It’s important to give kids a dedicated writing space. Fill it with fun paper or a kids’ journal, great pencils, and few distractions.
3. Encourage Your Child to Write
Children are often predisposed to wanting to write. Even before they can form letters correctly, many children will say they are “writing.”
Nurture this desire!
When children feel writing is powerful, and their writing matters, they will want to keep trying. However, they want to start writing is how they should write.
If your child struggles with the physical act of writing, consider helping with that part. You can use talk-to-text features in apps or even agree to be their “scribe.” Then they worry less about the act of writing and pay more attention to the ideas they are forming.
4. Encourage Journaling
Journaling is a great way to encourage creative writing. It gives them a concrete way to see their “progress” writing.
A handful of kids’ journals often come preloaded with prompts and ideas, which helps kids get started. It also helps that journaling is usually a daily activity. By having smaller, but more frequent, writing sessions, it helps children develop a perspective on what writing can be.
Journaling also helps build emotional intelligence. By writing about their feelings, children work through their thoughts and emotions and are better able to recognize and accept them. It gives them the opportunity to talk about difficult things without embarrassment, advice, or recrimination.
5. Use “Feeling” Words
Another benefit of building creative writing skills is children learn to use powerful words to draw in their readers.
You can encourage this development by helping them give their character’s feelings. When writers allow their characters to feel, they make them more relatable and interesting. But since the feelings of the characters don’t necessarily come to mind for kids, direct suggestion may help. Help them get there by asking questions about the characters. Why was the hero doing that? What was she thinking? How was she feeling?
Additionally, use inclusive language to make readers feel part of the story as it evolves. Educate children on the diversity of readers and encourage them to introduce characters that are from different cultures and backgrounds.
6. Use Writing Prompts
Does your kid express an interest in writing only to freeze when they actually try to write? Writing prompts could help your child overcome it.
Writing prompts can be found in many places. Look for interesting signs, funny pictures in advertisements, or even just asking “what if” and “why” questions . You could even play a song to inspire ideas and writing.
The idea is not to make them write about something, but to give them enough of an idea to push past the fear of getting started. Once kids get past the first few sentences and are “in” their story, their ideas will come to the surface.
7. Practice Storytelling
The reason why many creative writers write is their love of story. To help your child build creative writing skills, foster that love.
The key is to focus on telling a great story, not the writing. Let your child’s imagination run free as he piece together details that can complete a tale.
You can build stories together, with each person telling a few lines of the story before passing it along to the next. Or you can “get stuck” telling your story and need their help figuring out what happens next.
Whatever twists and turns in the plot happen are magical because it shows your child is learning they are driving the story. They get to create.
8. Play Games
A robust vocabulary is another important creative writing skill. To help your child build their vocabulary, try playing word games.
Word games are great because they put the emphasis on the game, not the vocabulary learning. The competitive aspect increases their intrinsic motivation to learn the words. The games themselves are great family activities.
If your child isn’t competitive, there are plenty of team-oriented options. You could also try magnetic poetry, other game-like world builders, or even a cool journal for kids where they write down fun words they’ve heard.
9. Provide Inspiration
The best inspiration for kids to write comes from loving the work of other writers. When your child has a book or series they love, keep it going! Encouraging their love of reading – and their love of story – will help them internalize the way their favorite authors write.
Reading to your children helps too. Because you can read higher-level books while your child listens, it allows them to focus on the story. It also gives you a chance to have conversations about meaning, characters, and plot.
As children read, they build vocabulary and understanding of how good stories develop. They will eventually be able to incorporate these ideas into their creative writing.
Creative writing is sometimes seen as a hobby- something to enjoy, but not to be taken too seriously. But building creative writing skills positively impacts children because they learn to express themselves, they practice writing about emotions, and they practice making their writing compelling to their readers.
Whichever strategies you use to help your child improve their creative writing styles, make sure you keep it light-hearted. When it is fun, they’ll want to keep trying, and that’s where the growth happens.
About the Author:
Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence.
Read more about writing and why it’s important to teach your kids cursive writing .
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50 ways to change your life in 2024
Connie Hanzhang Jin
Clare Marie Schneider
Got an ambition that's been on the shelf for a while? This is the year to turn it into a reality.
Maybe you've been trying to pay off your credit cards but have been struggling to save money because of inflation. Maybe you're thinking about taking the next step in your relationship but want to make sure it's the right call. Or maybe you just want to scratch some of those smaller projects off your to-do list: declutter , start flossing and make more friends at work .
Whatever your goal is, Life Kit is here to support you. This year's New Year's Resolution Planner has a fresh new mix of ideas to help you move forward in 2024.
Each episode comes with clear, practical advice on how to achieve the objective, which is important when it comes to sticking to a resolution . "Goal pursuit requires focused attention," says Elliot Berkman , a psychologist at the University of Oregon. "Our minds need to be focused on one thing," he says.
Ready to take action? Got your target set? Let's go!
This year, I want to ...
- Ask for a raise
- Start a side hustle
- Quit my job
- Shake my impostor syndrome
- Get stronger
- Start exercising
- Become a runner
- Be more flexible
- Get healthier (without going to the gym)
- Keep my New Year's resolutions
- Write to-do lists that work
- Start a new healthy habit
- Change my life
- Improve my focus
- Drink less alcohol
- Be a morning person
- Drink enough water
- Try to live to 100
- Sleep better
- Eat more mindfully
- Take care of my teeth
- Mend my own clothes
- Get into birding
- Learn a heritage language
- Start a creative habit
- Find good books to read
- Clean out my clutter
- Prep for emergencies
- Save time on laundry
- Make my home more climate friendly
- Embrace my perfectionism
- Explore my gender identity
- Have more fun
- Get better at saying 'no'
- Deal with burnout
- Get into meditation
- Decide whether I want kids
- Freeze my eggs
- Spend more quality time with my kids
- Be a better auntie or uncle
- Start new traditions
- Make a budget
- Get out of debt
- Find a better bank
- Stop stress spending
- Have fun on a budget
- Create a 'relationship contract'
- Be OK with being single
- Get married
- Create friends at work
The episodes were created by Life Kit. Design, development and illustrations by Connie Hanzhang Jin. Production, editing and art direction by Malaka Gharib, Clare Marie Schneider, Beck Harlan and Kaz Fantone. Special thanks to Life Kit supervising editor Meghan Keane, growth editor Arielle Retting, podcast project manager Lyndsey McKenna and engagement editor Amanda Orr.
We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823 , or email us at [email protected] .
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