Everyone has a unique writing process, but that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from the same writing tips. These game-changing tips for creative writing could inspire you to try something different and find new success when you’re ready to write a story.
1. Read More Often
When I’m not reading something in my free time, my writing slows way down. It’s like an artist never looking at paintings or a musician never listening to other people’s music.
It’s always helpful to read more often if you’re dealing with writer’s block. It can even make you excited to write again, if you’re reading something super engaging.
There are also a few skills writers learn from reading that affect how they write. You may notice that after finishing a novel or short story, you:
- Become better at critical thinking
- Adjust your writing style
- Describe things in new ways
Whether you’re reading books about writing as a craft or reading books for fun, your creative writing will become stronger because you’re inspiring and educating yourself.
2. Take Notes on Every Idea
You won’t write a story based on every idea you ever have. I don’t know a single writer who does.
But taking notes is still a crucial writing tip.
You may not feel inspired to write about the character or story idea on your mind right now, but you never know about the future. You could also add your idea into another story or transform it into something that’s different but has the same heart.
I used to keep a notebook on me at all times when I was a student. They became scribbled accounts of all my ideas, but that’s much harder to keep up now that I don’t wear a backpack everywhere.
The Notes app on my iPhone holds my ideas now. If you don’t have that app or don’t use an iPhone, you can also use other great digital note-taking resources like:
- Google Keep: it’s a place for your virtual sticky notes and voice-to-text ideas
- OneNote: write things by hand or type them in your endless OneNote notebooks (while also saving images, videos, links, and more)
- Notion: create lists, documents, spreadsheets, and more while using templates to organize your thoughts and even make your writing time more productive
- Evernote: it’s like OneNote, but non-Microsoft users can use it across all platforms and save their info to access on any device
- Simplenote: open it and take notes, which save to specific lists
I’ve also used my general notes to help pick themes, emotions, smells, sensations, and other smaller details while outlining my books by chapter and scene.
You never know what might come in handy. Save everything you think of—you’ll thank yourself later.
3. Remember Your Audience
Stories can sometimes lose our attention, even if they’re about something we care deeply about. In that moment, I challenge you to remember your audience.
If you can’t name them in that moment, that’s okay.
It’s easy to lose sight of our audience, which makes writing stories more challenging. Are you writing for young adults who need conflict and theme written in age-appropriate perspectives that still feel authentic?
Or are you writing for mystery fans who need new twists to stay engaged because they’ve read every mystery they can get their hands on?
Who you write for will change how you write your story. Define your audience early in your writing process and save that definition somewhere. You’ll know exactly where to look when you need to remember why you started writing it in the first place.
4. Change Your Writing Environment
Our environment influences everything we do. You wouldn’t be able to focus as well if you were studying in an amusement park. You also couldn’t have as much fun at a party if the room fell silent.
Writing works the same way. Sometimes changing where you write and what you use to help your process makes stories flow more naturally.
Switch things up by writing in a dark room at night or in the sunshine on your back porch. Bring your work to a coffee shop, a library, a public museum or a fast-casual restaurant.
I even have a list of background noises you can play that help people focus for different reasons. You might find your words coming more easily while listening to rain fall, blizzard wind blowing or an airplane engine running outside your window.
5. Read Your Work Out Loud
You’re reading through your work and it doesn’t seem to flow right. You’ve already done line edits and thought through your writing extensively. What went wrong?
Nothing went wrong—you just need to try a new editing style.
Try reading your work out loud to hear how it sounds. Your ears might pick up exactly when your words sound too unnatural or awkward.
There are also great text-to-speech readers available for free. Copy and paste a section of your work to hear someone else read it out loud. Sometimes that’s easier for me because I pay more attention to another person’s voice.
If you try these tips and your story still needs more work, check out my editing tips over on my other blog. It outlines every step of the editing process and has a few resources that might also inspire your creativity.
Try These Tips for Creative Writers
I encourage you to try these simple tips for creative writers, no matter how much practice you’ve had. Exploring new perspectives and techniques is a great way to develop your skills and also learn what doesn’t work for your process. Either way, you’ll become a better writer.