To learn the craft of writing is to take up the task of a lifetime. There is also no simple way to do it – so many authors have different methods that work for them. And I think that is key to finding your own method of writing. I don’t know if “copying” another writer’s methods or style works for other writers, but I know it doesn’t work for me. I’ve listened to countless podcasts, watched many videos and read a lot about writing, and the one thing I’ve discovered is that none of it is right or wrong. You eventually have to find your own way within those treasure troves of knowledge and discover your own voice.
Discover your own “voice”
I never used to understand the term “discover your own voice”. I used to cringe every time I read it because it sounded so clichéd to me and it still does. But now that I think I have a very basic understanding of what it means, it’s less of a “thing” and just one more lesson I’ve learned on my journey. Has any of it made me a better writer? I don’t know – how easy is it for you to critique your own work? It’s almost impossible, right? So I don’t know the answer to that question. I know that the learning I’ve undertaken has given me the confidence to finally write publicly for the first time since I started (and I am talking back when I was a youngster). I published nothing publicly because I didn’t have enough faith in myself to show the world what I had created. Not until recently. So I’m taking that one as a huge win. For some writers, it’s natural to post everything they write. For me, not so much. I am a shy person by nature, and I am not very good at promoting myself. I never have been. And I’m working hard on that part of myself and doing it through my writing.
Here are a few of the things I read, listened to or watched that I think have helped me to move forward with my writing journey. Perhaps they will do the same for you if you’re stuck or just feeling a little lost with your writing: If you’re stuck for ideas on what to write about, this should help you.
Finding your story idea
I like the content from The Write Practice because it’s easy to understand and very helpful. You can totally get bogged down by too much information, and that happened to me. I became overwhelmed by all the “free” writing help that is out there. Sometimes too much information is not a good thing, it can hinder the writing process. So if you’re stuck for a writing idea – this list might help you decide on one (you may only use these ideas to create your own, which is like a writing prompt)
How to create a story premise for your novel
I found Joe Bunting’s lessons very helpful and again, easy to follow. He explains things in very plain terms so you do not have a thousand questions by the end of the video. I used his method to write a premise for the short story I had written but wanted to refine, and it worked really well. As a result, I came up with another premise idea for the second part to that story, which I didn’t even think of prior to watching this. There is also a worksheet you can use if you need to help create the premise for your novel, but you don’t have to use it if you have your own way of keeping notes as you write.
Here is the link to his first Novel writing lesson on how to create a premise for your story. They focus specifically on novel writing but you could use this method for just about any fiction writing whether it be novel, novella or short story. I used this method to clarify the “idea” behind the story I had written, and it was a godsend.
What to do with your premise?
Once you have the premise for your novel, you can use that for many things, including keeping your writing on track so you know exactly where your protagonist is going in the story and how everything should climax at the end. I am not a planner with writing. I am very much a “sit at the desk and type” kind of writer. I make an outline for my story and I write notes along the way, but it’s mostly just me and my keyboard writing and creating as I go. I think they call this writing “seat of your pants” which makes sense. One of my favourite writers uses this style to write. I tried the alternate method which is “the planner” by using character boards and sheets and all that stuff for every single scene of the story. But it just wasn’t for me.
Thank you for reading – I hope this post has been helpful to you. I am happy to keep writing these posts, but I am not really the person to “dictate” methods of writing to other writers. Writing, at least for me, is an organic, creative process. Nobody can tell you how to write – you just have to write, period.
My current short story is nearing its end, and I am very excited to upload the last pieces of Milly’s story. I hope you’ll continue to read it and like it as this encourages me to keep writing.