Are our a young person looking to break into the world of writing but you’re feeling a little lost and not sure how to go about it, then let me help you. Welcome to the wonderful and creative world of being a novelists! This new venture of yours is going to be lots of fun, but a fair warning. Being a writer can be very hard work. Trust me! If it were easy, all your friends will be doing it!
My name is Christopher Sergi. I’m a novelist and a blogger going through the same journey you are: being a writer! Feel free to comment your thoughts below on the topics that come up in this tutorial, for not only do I want you to be a better writer, but I do too! We can learn and have fun together. Want to know more about me? Click here to read my bio, or follow me on Instagram to join me on my adventures. 😉
Read lots and lots!
Okay, so this is probably going to be the most important part of your journey. I’ll tell you a little story, when I was a kid, around the age of ten, I was a terrible reader. I was one of those kids who went into Waterstones and spent all my pocket money on books that looked nice so I could fill up my shelf, but to be honest, I never really read any of them. Only now do I know the importance of reading at a young age.
Why is this important? Because by reading you’re introducing yourself to all the concepts of storytelling from a young age. You’ll subconsciously take in all the features that make up a good book and when it comes to writing, you’ll be able to transfer that knowledge into your writing.
But if you don’t know what to read yet, that’s okay. Stick to what you enjoy and immerse yourself in it. But don’t stop reading. Reading is fun and will be so helpful to you in the future. If you’re a slow reader, like me, that’s okay too, just make sure you enjoy what you’re reading and that you can keep it up. Depending on the size of the book, I’ll say you can target yourself to about two books a month. If you can do more, go for it!
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.
So when I was a kid my main focus was to write an EPIC fantasy fiction! You know, with dragons and made up languages and fictional governments and lores and elves and all sorts of convoluted madness that was just too much work for a kid. I’m going to be honest with you. Writing is VERY hard. BUT it’s so rewarding once you know what you’re doing and you’re comfortable.
Just bare in mind when you’re young, you’re going to feel a bit overwhelmed once you get your head stuck in. Story and plot are going to confuse you, pacing and tension are going to be words you’re not used to and you are, without sounding mean, going to run out of steam at some stage whilst writing.
This is all so normal. Feeling like you suck is just part of the writing process. It happens to all aspiring writers, yes, even the great ones. They all started from somewhere and at first none of them knew what they were doing. That’s just life. You start from the bottom and you work your way up.
Don’t expect to be a published writer as a teenager.
I know, this is hard to read. 😦 A lot of what I have to say here is all based on my own experiences. When I was younger I read the novel Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Not only was I engrossed by the complexities and creativity of this world, but I was also inspired to become a writer after reading it. This was spurred on more so by the fact Christopher Paolini was also a teenage writer when he published it. I had inevitably made it my mission to be a teen writer.
Okay, so this is hard to swallow, but please don’t let this put you down. Unless you’re super talented and have a lots of luck, it is very unlikely that you’ll professionally publish anything whilst you’re still young. As I mentioned earlier, this is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the world of writing by reading as much as you can. Just because you’re not published doesn’t mean you’re not going to be later in your career.
Use this time whilst you are young to exercise your craft. Come up with ideas, read lots of books but most of all have fun with it. It’s just like Yoda said, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” You will fail and your writing will be a little pants, but that’s okay. The best thing here is that you’re writing and honing your skills.
Okay but I still don’t know what to write about.
Alright, so you want to be a writer, we’ve established that, but from experience I know it can be tough to think of ideas or at least how to get those ideas down on paper. If you really are unsure about what to write about, it may be a good idea to jot down the things you like about the books you read. Do you like the journey of Harry Potter? Or the turmoil of Katniss Everdeen? Use the events and the emotions from your favourite books and stories to inspire your own ideas.
Or, as an exercise, why don’t you write a small piece of fan fiction for a character you like from another book or movie? You could write a scene from a book from the perspective of a different character.
Or better yet, why don’t you write about an activity you love to do outside of writing? Let’s say for example you love to swim in the ocean. A bit specific I know but bare with me. You love to swim in the ocean and then something bad happens. Basically what you’re doing here is your taking your main character and giving them a goal (in this case it’s the swimming) and then you’re introducing some tension and conflict (which would be the terrible thing that happens). There could be a shark or a wave or pirates. Literally anything!
When you’re young I know it can be tough to find your voice. I was the same. I was an odd fat strange little kid living in a different country to where I was born. Life for me was a little tricky, so I turned to writing. But when I realised my writing sucked, it just made things harder. But fear not, because like ANYTHING in life, you will suck at it first time. Just because you love it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to create right away. Imagine trying to write The Lord of the Ring at the age of 12? But you might one day. 😉
The best bit of advice here is to read lots and lots and write down your favourite parts of your favourite books. You’re not trying to COPY the ideas, but you are trying to collect your interests for when you come to writing your own work. Go and have fun!!
I really hope this has helped you to think about your future career as a writer! It’s such a fun and creative world I’m shocked more people are not interested, but then I have to remind myself, that it’s hard work. But if you love to read and you love the idea of writing, then you’re already one step ahead. But if you’re still unsure about a few things, hit me up by messaging me if you need some more advice, or comment below to start a discussion, or better yet, sign up to my monthly newsletter to hear the latest. 😉