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Starting something new is always nerve-wracking, but you might feel especially anxious about writing a story. Each one goes into detail about something that matters to each writer, which is deeply personal and a bit scary to share. That’s why I always give new writers these creative writing tips for beginners.
Read these tips and you’ll avoid the biggest mistakes new writers can make when venturing into the world of fiction.
1. Change Your Writing Environment
Life is always going to change, so you won’t have your preferred writing environment forever. I used to only write stories while sitting in class. After graduating college, that environment was gone. I struggled to write—and even thought I might never write again.
Changing my writing environment took guts and dedication, but it was so worth it. Switch up these factors to see what helps you focus or when you have the most energy:
- The time of day you write
- The location where you write
- The lighting when you’re writing
- The sounds around you
- The temperature in the room
- What you’re wearing
All of these things could improve your focus or take it away. I know I couldn’t write as well if I were on my back porch when it’s too warm outside. I also know I can’t transport myself into my stories as efficiently if the room isn’t completely dark.
But I only learned those things by playing around with my writing environment.
2. Save Helpful Resources
There are so many great resources out there to make writing less of a challenge. I have an extensive list on this post with things like picture generators, name generators, and even background noises.
If you find something that helps you write—even in a seemingly small way, like using WordHippo to find synonyms—bookmark that link! Save the websites in a list. You might enjoy using them again or need them during a future writing session.
3. Invest in Good Headphones
Unless you love writing while listening to your surrounding environment, a good pair of headphones will change the game for your stories.
I personally love Apple’s AirPods because their noise-blocking capabilities are legendary. However, you might prefer the noise-canceling headphones from Beats. Skullcandy also makes great wired earbuds, which I used for the longest time.
Headphones make any location a potential writing environment. They also give you more control over your potential distractions. Play a background noise you prefer (or white noise for nothing at all) and your stories might flow much more easily.
4. Write Down Every Idea
Although writers can find inspiration from almost anywhere, you won’t write a story for every idea you ever have.
Write them down anyway.
There have been tons of times when I opened up my running list of story ideas and selected one that inspired me—sometimes years after I wrote it down and forgot about it.
When I was younger, I kept all of my ideas on a notepad like this one because it fit in my bookbags and purses. Now, I use the Notes app on my phone. You can use whatever works best for your routine.
Write down your story ideas, scene ideas, character images, dialogue lines—whatever comes to mind. Even if you never use them, you’re flexing your creative muscles and becoming a better writer by learning to hear and listen to your instincts.
5. Jump Into Different Genres
Once you write a great story, you might stick with that genre for a while. Many writers write in one genre for their entire career, but I encourage every new writer to try different genres. You’ll explore new ways to use your skills, like building fantasy worlds or researching historical time periods.
You might not rotate through every genre forever, but you’ll borrow skills from each one to make your stories even better.
6. Always Be Reading a Book
Reading is a workout for your creative brain in a different way than writing is. Whether you’re reading something for fun or something dedicated to craft, you’re picking up skills like:
- Improved focus
- Voice identification
- Plot construction
- Character arc recognition
- Thematic element lessons
Always have at least one book in progress! Pick an audiobook, a graphic novel, a fiction hardback—as long as it has a story, you’ll become a more confident writer for your time.
7. Start With Your “Worst Draft”
Let me tell you a piece of advice that revolutionized my writing:
Label your story with something like “Worst Draft Ever.”
When I opened the first draft of my second novel, I would often immediately close it. I might feel sick or intimidated by the idea of writing a book, so I just wouldn’t try.
After putting that ridiculous title on my document, something unlocked in me. I felt more comfortable during writing sessions and didn’t sweat it if I was struggling in some scenes.
The title changed as I restarted the story at different points and even when I began editing. I believe it ended with “Worst Draft Ever, Version 9.” But by that point, I felt so confident in it! Try it out for yourself if you struggle with feeling confident in your writing or stress over meeting perfectionist standards.
8. Start Writing For Yourself
Getting published can be great. Winning contests is awesome. Those might be your dreams, but you may not get there if you don’t start writing just for yourself.
Explore genres just to see what makes you happy, what worlds you enjoy developing, and what themes mean the most to you. You’ll develop your writing style and voice while doing so, which makes publishing much easier if you ever plan to do that.
And if you don’t get published, you’ll still love your stories. They’ll feel more fulfilling because each one speaks to you, not the current book market or readership trends.
Remember These Creative Writing Tips for Beginners
You’ll have a much easier time getting started with your next story now that you’ve read these creative writing tips for beginners. Write for yourself and cheer yourself on while giving yourself the freedom to explore creative avenues. Your writing experience will be incredible—no matter what life has in store for you.
2 responses to “8 Creative Writing Tips for Beginners”
Great piece, love the advice to make your first draft deliberately the ‘bad’ draft – takes the pressure off having to find the mot juste. Thank you for referencing Now Novel too.
Absolutely! Your site is so helpful and inspirational ✨