creative writing

How to Get Back Into the Creative Writing Game

As a child, I never stopped writing — and I’m sure many of you were the same. Sitting at our desks at school or sprawled across the carpet at home, No. 2 pencils making a mad dash across the dotted lines. Creative writing was a way to escape, or simply to make our small worlds feel a little bit brighter.

But as we approached adulthood, a sense of pessimism set in. We decided our work wasn’t original, sophisticated, or interesting enough to continue. We went years without picking up a pen (or opening a new Google Doc, as the case may be).

Until one day it returned — that stirring of imagination, the urge to write. But by now it’s been so long since we produced anything creative, we’ve forgotten how to even go about it!

Luckily, even if you’ve been out of the creative writing game for years, there are plenty of things you can do to get back into it. I found myself in this position in early 2018; now, less than a year later, I’ve written several short stories and even begun a novel.

In my own personal experience, here are the five best things you can do to recapture your motivation and get writing again.

1. Enter short story contests

This is my absolute top tip for getting back into creative writing. As hard as it is to admit, many of us writers are great at starting projects, but terrible at finishing them. It’s especially challenging to persist to the end of a story when your skills are rusty and your words aren’t coming out right. You think “what’s the point?” and the whole thing ends there.

Short story contests give you a prompt, a hard deadline, and — best of all — a tangible reward for finishing something. They also tend to have very manageable word requirements, typically around 2,000 to 5,000 words. That’s just a couple days of writing, a week at most! Even someone who hasn’t written anything in years can do that much.

Some short story contests require an entry fee, like NYC Midnight’s contests that crop up every couple of months. It might sound silly to spend money on what’s essentially a prompt, but an entry fee can be great motivation! As with any investment, you’ll likely feel more compelled to follow through on it because you paid, and you don’t want to have wasted your money.

If you’re strapped for cash but still want the motivation of a reward, try a short story contest like Reedsy’s weekly competition (at the top of the page, but there are plenty below it too!). They send five writing prompts straight to your inbox and you can choose whichever you like best, then enter your story free of charge.

2. Follow the “500 words a day” plan

Many pro writers sing the praises of writing 500 words a day, every day — they say it’s long enough to make pretty substantial progress, yet short enough not to be overwhelming.

I agree that 500 words is the perfect daily goal; I’ve never been one for the NaNoWriMo philosophy of “write as much as you can in very little time.” Though it works well for some people, it’s definitely not the tack to take when you’re just dipping your toe back into writing.

500 words a day is enough to consistently flex your writing muscles, while still being able to turn out decent work. In addition to the stress of having to write 1000+ words every day, I also find that it’s almost impossible to write well in such large blocks. You don’t really have time to think carefully about what you’re writing, and you definitely don’t have time to edit.

Basically, 500 words a day allows you to favor quality over quantity and regain confidence in your writing before attempting to do more.

3. Ask friends for ideas or use writing prompts

Besides pure motivational issues, many long-hibernating creatives also face the problem of what to actually write! It’s always a strange, frustrating feeling when you know you want to write something, but you don’t have any specific direction.

Luckily, other people and resources can help you out. Talking to friends, especially other writers, can be an excellent means of coming up with new ideas — even if it’s just you asking, “Hey, what’s something you’ve always wanted to read about?” Consider bouncing any half-baked ideas off them too, in case they can help you turn it into a concrete plot.

You can also use writing prompts for inspiration, which is great for when you have a genre or general feeling in mind, but not a particular topic or story. This writing prompts directory allows you to search by keyword and genre, or you can visit the writing prompts Reddit page for new ideas every day.

4. Cancel out distractions

The initial burst of creative inspiration is all well and good, but it’s no use if you keep getting distracted! Taking breaks is one thing — you definitely want to get up and stretch every so often, in order to keep yourself fresh and focused. But if you find your attention being compromised by your environment (or by checking Twitter every five minutes), it’s time to reevaluate your work habits.

First of all, make sure you know what physical setting works best for you. Everyone has different preferences and requirements for their own work setting — some people need total isolation and silence, while others benefit from a bit of background noise. Figure out your ideal situation and try to work in that environment as much as possible.

Second of all, lay down hard-and-fast rules when it comes to social media (or whatever else might tempt you on the Internet). Again, you know yourself: are you a Twitter fiend or an Insta fanatic? Whatever distracts you the most, consider blocking it on your phone or laptop.

Or if downloading a blocking app or extension is more effort than you want to exert, simply log out; even that can go a long way toward helping you avoid distraction.

5. Write your own story

Writers often use other people’s work as a source of inspiration, especially when just starting out (or jumping back in). However, this can backfire on two levels: one, you try to mimic another person’s writing style, and the resulting product sounds inorganic and false. And two, when you model your writing after a bestselling author’s, it’s easy to feel discouraged by their talent.

To truly flourish as a creative writer, you really do need to write your own story. You can draw certain elements from other things you’ve read, but it can’t just be a carbon copy of something you like. I know this from personal experience; after reading Gone Girl in 2013, I was so enthralled by Gillian Flynn’s prose that I decided I wanted to write like her. Exactly like her.

Alas, two pages into my own mystery-thriller novel, I realized that a) this writing style didn’t come naturally to me at all, and b) I didn’t even want to write a mystery-thriller; I just wanted to write something great.

But greatness doesn’t stem from a certain subject or style — there are best-selling and well-loved books in every genre and voice imaginable. The key to great writing is passion, tempered by discipline and determination.

Luckily, with these tips in your arsenal, you should already be that much closer to getting back in the creative writing game… and this time, I’m sure you’ll follow through on your goals.


GET THE BOOK BY
ERIN FALCONER!

Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

55 Responses to How to Get Back Into the Creative Writing Game

  1. JurdLamar says:

    The goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be). This means going beyond regurgitating what you’ve read; if you’re just repeating other people’s arguments, you’re never going to trouble the upper end of the marking scale. Only https://legitwritingservices.com/best-essay-writing-services-on-yahoo-answers/ has a team of professionals and can write an essay in 3 hours deadline. Do not try to think critically, just use the services of original essay writers.

  2. vex 3 says:

    Thanks to this article I can find out more. Expand my knowledge and abilities. Actually the article is very practical.

  3. bets10 says:

    Remarkable things here. I am very happy to peer your post.
    Thank you so much and I am taking a look forward to contact you.
    Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  4. Rina Meeker says:

    I’m still learning from you, as I’m making my way to the top as well. I absolutely love reading everything that is posted on your site.Keep the stories coming. I loved it!

  5. KennethMip says:

    Качественный Ремдесивир можно купить здесь в аптеке

    ремдесивир covid 19

  6. Stephenpep says:

    mexican viagra buy viagra online viagra

  7. MauriceMar says:

    online viagra prescription viagra from canada mail order viagra

  8. Jamesgreat says:

    normal dose cialis buy cialis online when will cialis go generic

  9. Travisshoob says:

    how much viagra should i take the first time? buy cheap viagra price of viagra

  10. Eddievor says:

    ed treatments that really work mens ed pills over the counter ed treatment

  11. Jamesspura says:

    where to buy viagra online buy ed pills online cheap viagra online

  12. Jamesspura says:

    can you buy viagra over the counter buy viagra generic buy generic viagra online

  13. Jamesspura says:

    canada viagra buy ed pills online generic viagra names

  14. Jamesspura says:

    over the counter viagra cvs buy viagra online where to get viagra

  15. Jamesspura says:

    roman viagra cheap viagra viagra price comparison

  16. Ernestjiz says:

    erectyle dysfunction Cheap Erection Pills cheap erectile dysfunction

  17. Ernestjiz says:

    generic viagra without a doctor prescription cheap ed pills ed aids

  18. Ernestjiz says:

    ed treatment pills ed online pharmacy ed remedies that really work

  19. Ernestjiz says:

    how to get prescription drugs without doctor ED Pills Without Doctor Prescription over the counter erectile dysfunction pills

  20. Ernestjiz says:

    prices of viagra at walmart ED Pills Without Doctor Prescription pharmacy online

  21. Dannymug says:

    generic cialis black 800mg tadalafil cialis generic

  22. Dannymug says:

    real cialis without a doctor’s prescription generic cialis for sale cialis generic

  23. BruceBep says:

    how can i order prescription drugs without a doctor best online canadian pharmacy ed treatment
    pharmacy drugs

  24. BruceBep says:

    male erection drug prices comparison ed medications online
    generic ed drugs

  25. BruceBep says:

    ed cure ed drugs over the counter over the counter ed treatment
    ed pharmacy

  26. MichealRot says:

    https://prednisonegeneric20.com/ prednisone 50 mg tablet cost

  27. MichealRot says:

    https://amoxicillingeneric500.com/ amoxicillin medicine over the counter

  28. MichealRot says:

    https://ventolin100mcg.com/ ventolin over the counter nz

  29. WilliamMedlY says:

    sildenafil pharmacy sildenafil online

  30. WilliamMedlY says:

    tadalafil tadalafil pharmacy

  31. WilliamMedlY says:

    sildenafil online buy sildenafil online

  32. Edwardpoice says:

    cat antibiotics without pet prescription https://sildenafilxxl.com/ cost of viagra

  33. Jaredaxola says:

    XYZ 壯陽藥春藥專賣店 大量購買有優惠

    https://man-r20.com/

  34. Angeloapace says:

    viagra walgreens viagra walgreens viagra pills

  35. Angeloapace says:

    erectile dysfunction treatment cheap generic drugs from india buy ed drugs

  36. Angeloapace says:

    ed in young men cheap Zithromax ed meds online canada

  37. Angeloapace says:

    ed meds online without doctor prescription canadian pharmacy online ed treatments that really work

  38. Angeloapace says:

    foods for ed generic drugs cheap drugs online

  39. Angeloapace says:

    canadian drug pharmacy generic Cipro best ed pill

  40. Angeloapace says:

    free cialis medication for providers cialis viagra or cialis

  41. GregoryLok says:

    buy prescription drugs without doctor: ed supplements best price for generic viagra on the internet

  42. GregoryLok says:

    best cure for ed: ways to treat erectile dysfunction treat ed

  43. GregoryLok says:

    natural ed cures: male dysfunction treatment ed meds pills drugs

  44. GregoryLok says:

    which ed drug is best: drug prices comparison treatment for ed

  45. GregoryLok says:

    pharmacy drugs: doctors for erectile dysfunction best ed treatment

  46. Masonhar says:

    where can i buy zithromax capsules zithromax antibiotic how to get zithromax over the counter

  47. Masonhar says:

    zithromax 500mg price in india zithromax azithromycin how to buy zithromax online

  48. Masonhar says:

    prescription drugs online without doctor buy viagra online canada pharmacy pumps for ed

  49. Masonhar says:

    zithromax capsules australia buy zithromax no prescription where to get zithromax over the counter

  50. Masonhar says:

    viagra vs cialis bodybuilding canadian drugs without prescription compare ed drugs

  51. Masonhar says:

    where to get viagra online viagra walmart viagra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.