*Some of these things work for both young and beginners/amateur writers*
*Also, these are things that are less obvious tips. Like it’s obvious that writing voluntarily for a local magazine could help you, but what else? What else can help you develop in a less structured way?*
Spend a year (at least) working in retail
If you’re young and you don’t have well-off parents, you probably have to work in retail. I know I did. However, don’t fret and don’t turn your nose up to it. This is good for you. I believe that working in retail helps creatives, especially writers, to grow.
- Meet interesting characters daily
- Learn to work with, understand, and withstand people, their problems, and emotions
- Confidence building
- You’ll want to get home and write, I promise you!
As long as you have a notepad and pen stashed away somewhere while you’re on shift, you’re good to go.
A writer who does not or has not travelled is limiting themselves. By getting out into the world, we are giving energy to creativity. We’re feeding it. Inspiration, motivation, and rich stories come from mingling with other cultures and all kinds of people. Through new experiences and stepping out of our comfort zones.
I cannot stress it enough: travel is good for the spirit. And when the spirit is awakened, the creative ideas are alive.
Mix with a variety of people
Whether it is from your job, school, travels, neighbours, groups and clubs or the guy at your gym, you need to meet and mix with a variety of people. Do not make your circle small. Yes, have a few close friends, but I’m not talking about friends. I mean just the general people in your life. We all need a mixture; writers even more so.
If you stick to the same people, then your characters will be flat, your ideas will be flat, and your stories just won’t be as rich as they could be if you knew more people, and had more interesting conversations with diverse people.
Plus, the connections you make when you’re young could be the people who help you on your writing journey later on. Maybe you’ll make a connection with someone who goes on to become a producer for a TV show that you’d love to write for…see where I’m going with this?
A good writer is a keen observer. If you have any desire to become a pro, then you need to be observant and be curious. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. To what people say, how they act, what they do, and why they do it. It will bring authenticity to your work. It will bring ideas out of nowhere, too.
So, when you’re out and about, always remember to bring your observer-cap with you.
Don’t limit your bookshelf to one genre. Don’t read the same book series over and over. As a writer, reading is how we get better at our craft. Therefore, you need to read a lot and often. You need to be able to spot good writing and bad writing and most importantly, be able to determine why that is.
Practice writing (duh)
Do not be afraid to pick up the pen or log-on to the computer. You are already a writer as long as you write. You don’t have to be good at it right now. You may not be for a while. But don’t let that be any reason not to write; instead, it’s the opposite: it’s exactly why you should be writing.
And share it! Put it out there and let it be torn apart. The sooner you get used to criticism and rejection, the better. Harden your skin, learn to shake it off and keep trying and trying again.
Write things outside your comfort zone
Similar to reading widely, you should also try writing widely. Don’t limit your options. You may enjoy one genre but you never know, you could have a knack of a different genre or style or medium altogether. You’ll never know unless you try, though. While you’re still young and trying to improve, I advise you to try a few things out before settling.
Choose writing again and again
No matter what else goes on in your life, you should be writing alongside it. If you ever want to be pro, you need to dedicate yourself. You need to make time. You need to sacrifice other unimportant things if you want this to really work out for you.
So, choose writing every time.
I suggest that you take some time to do volunteer work. I met some great people and explored creative projects while volunteering at my local community centre. You can do this alongside paid work, or do it instead, or do it seasonally; it’s completely up to you. But volunteer work allows you the opportunity to help others, complete hard tasks, get experience, and develop your skills in ways you may not be able to at school or in paid positions.
These will all help you to be a better person, and in turn, a better writer.
The last thing to do while you’re a young writer is to try other hobbies or experiences. Not only is it great to be multi-talented or to try many things while young, it is also important for enriching your storytelling.
If there are things that you’ve tried firsthand, then you will be better at describing them and how it feels to do them than someone who hasn’t. This is really useful. Many writers research forever trying to aptly explain an experience that they’ve never had themselves; but if you have, you’re way ahead.
- Meet many people
- Do many things
- Explore and be curious
- Pay attention
- Consume a lot
- Share your work
Bonus: Always be in a state of development and growth.