Writers come with quirks, and characteristics, shared by readers. It’s life experience and education that guides a writer in their art. But every writer learns to follow guidelines to help them improve their work. Whether it be short stories for contests, magazine articles or anthologies, or longer pieces like a novella or novel, or even a series of novels, there is a creative writing process which can help lead to a successful story.
Here are five steps you can follow to begin your journey into the world of creative writing.
1. Creative Writing Requires Preparation.
Finding a place to allow your thoughts the freedom of creativity can be difficult. But you need this as the beginning of your writing. Some ideas come from prompts, such as the ones found for writing contests. Others come from sitting in a coffee shop and observing the world around you. Only the writer knows what will work for them. But once an idea clicks, then the research begins. Know and study what you plan to write about. An informed writer creates a better story.
2. Set Aside Time for Incubation.
Have you ever marinated a steak overnight to prepare for a fancy dinner the next day? You need to let your story ideas be treated in the same way. Allow all the information and research to marinate in your subconscious. For some, this may take a few days or weeks. Occasionally, it’s a lightbulb moment, and the story flies through your fingers and onto the pages. But allow yourself whatever time is necessary for the story to be tasty.
3. This Leads You Into Greater Insight.
With a good story, the incubation often leads to the “Eureka” moment. That’s when all the study and research and ideas come together to give you a more complete picture of what you are creating. Some believe we need this moment before starting a story. These people often never complete a creative work. The writing process leads to these moments. It doesn’t always come as a punch in the gut moment, but it comes with a conviction. The conviction to write this story.
4. Make Room for Evaluation.
Not to be disheartening, but sometimes, the well-studied ideas we devote time to don’t make the story we hoped for. For this reason, we need to evaluate our idea and convince ourselves it is worth writing. Worst-case scenario, we decide now is not the time for this story and we file the idea away. Don’t let a pretty good idea stand in the way of a great idea.
5. And Now Begins the Final Phase of Construction.
You’ve studied the subject or subjects of your idea. You’ve let it percolate in your mind and perhaps had your moment of insight. After evaluating the information available, you’re convinced you have a story idea you need to write. Now, you put pen to paper, as they say.
If you’ve never tried your hand at creative writing, research the other processes in writing. Grammar, editing, revision, well, you get the picture. But you can’t edit a blank page, so keep on writing.