At the risk of sounding absurd, I would like to share some fairly obvious pointers for aspiring young writers.
I had the opportunity to interact with a young writer recently and realized that things have changed considerably since I got out of writing school. Students don’t write as much they used to; they are spending a lot of their time on social media, What’s App and Instagram. With all of these being short content media, most of these young aspirants don’t really get into long content writing space. Yet, they aspire to become writers.
If you happen to belong to this club of millennials, here are a few tips that may help you get started on doing some serious writing. After all, you do need a portfolio to share if you are looking for a gig as a writer. So here goes:
- Read long content writing. It could be in the form of blogs, short stories, ebooks on kindle, or just plain old novels – the kind we read in the pre-internet era. Some of my favourite writers of all times, especially if you like to finish a story in one sitting include Edgar Allen Poe, Guy de Maupassant, Roald Dahl, Anton Chekov, to name but a few.In the blogosphere, I follow and thoroughly enjoy posts by:
Anthony Wilson (http://anthonywilsonpoetry.com/lifesavingpoemsblog/);
Stuart M. Perkins (https://storyshucker.wordpress.com/)
Andrew toy (https://adoptingjames.wordpress.com/)
Ian Brodie (http://www.ianbrodie.com/welcome)
- Analyse the work you read. A serious reader shared this tip with me early in my writing career. Just because you are reading some famous writers, it does not mean you need to accept everything they say without questioning it. As a writer, you need to look at what you are reading from different perspectives. If you find something of particular interest, read up more about the incidient, story, reference as shared by other thinkers and writers of the time. This will give you a more holistic view of what’s the incident was really all about. This is a great way to broaden your horizons and increase your understanding of the topics that you read.
- Read autobiographies of the authors that interest you. The stories of their lives will shed new light on their works as most authors draw on their own experiences however remote the references may seem.
- And last but not the least, WRITE long content. Set up a blog – you are pitching to be a writer, put up regular posts. Sure, ideas and creativity are the soul of contemporary writing, but writing is a skill, just like sketching or playing the piano.
You need to work on the skill and the ‘wordsmith’ing to be able to write smooth flowing content; especially if all you want to do is write a brilliant tweet or create a smart FB post that you are hoping will go viral.
Great copy and crafted headlines are usually the result of long hours of thinking, and crafting away at a few words that sound perfect when you get them right!
What are your tips for aspiring young writers to help them get started on their writing careers? Do share in the comments box below!
~ Bharti Athray