You are now facing a wall of light, absorbing the contents that are flowing to your brain from the world behind the monitor. You are touching your mouse while wondering “Who the fuck is this guy and why does he pretend he knows so much?”. You might be a student, a housewife, a guy on his work desperately trying to kill time while avoiding the eyes of your boss, you might be an employee on a vacation, a teacher stressed about the ending of vacation, a student with term papers to finish before the year ends or maybe, just maybe, you’re just a random person who have stumbled upon my article.
And now you are wondering, “why am I still reading this shit?” Yes, you are. And you’re gonna read it until the end.
We have been writing stories ever since man discovered how to inscribe symbols on caves using all sorts of materials. The act of recalling and telling a story is an integral part of forming the social, cultural and even the most basic constructs of communication ever since we developed the ability to comprehend and to share our comprehensions.
But what makes one a “story teller”? What makes us a good “writer”?
I have been writing ever since my parents gave me a pencil. I love writing, scribbling random words and stuff that flows in my mind. I may not be the best writer in terms of your criteria of what a good writer is but I do aspire to become one and I’am confident enough to say that I can give a few pointers on how to improve “writing”, I’am a self-proclaimed creative writer so don’t expect too much on the technical side (because I admit; I’m really bad at following the rules, I’m really bad at technical writing)
Contrary to popular belief, creative writing is something that should not be studied technically. There are no rules, no borders or guide lines to follow. There is only exposure. The simplest and easiest way to learn writing is to expose yourself to writing.
Writing is not limited only to written literature; it deals with everything that tells a story. Films, music, books, novels, stories of other people and in my case, video games, are all considered as source of exposure towards writing.
When you expose yourself to a story, do not be an observer, be a participant (in my experience, video games are really good in this aspect, or maybe I’m just biased.)
Communicate with the characters, picture them as real people and try to describe them, talk with them. Luke Skywalker for example; take him out on a department store, what would the chosen one of the force choose to buy? What are his interests outside lightsabers and X-wing spacecrafts? What are his hobbies aside from blowing up Death Stars?
A blog article that caught your eye? Try to picture the author behind it, what was he thinking, what coffee was he drinking while he was writing the article? Picture the world he is describing, pay attention to the words that gives you a clear picture.
Read and write.
2. Do not mind the rules too much
Okay that may be an exaggeration, but aside from basic grammar and knowing the difference between they’re and their, there isn’t much technical stuff you need to learn before improving your creative writing.
Basically, ignore the grammar nazis in your mind and around you. Just focus on how you want your story to be heard and read. Do not focus on the future criticisms about your writing style or the way you construct sentences, it will all develop through time because of exposure.
Wrong grammar is okay as long as you are willing to correct it. Let’s face it, we all commit grammatical errors from time to time because we are all humans. Just be humble enough to accept corrections and be willing to correct the mistakes.
I even see myself as the guy who commits grammatical errors quite often, I misspell a lot of words and my sentence construction is quite bad with no help from Microsoft Word or a Keyboard. I’m actually a lot better when I’m writing using a keyboard than a pen. I lost my hand-writing skills quite a long time ago sadly, but with enough practice I think i can get it back.
But yeah, nobody is perfect, we commit errors and we must correct them. Life goes on, just like this article.
3. Write something you’ll read
Take a step back and read what you’ve written. Will you read it again and again if you are not the writer?
Ask this question to yourself. Write for the readers.
Now I’m not saying that you should exclude yourself and your biases. What I’m saying is that you should write with the readers in mind. The act of writing is an act of sharing, and of course you should mind the ones you are going to share it with.
You can start by selecting a target audience. Gamers? Writers? Movie enthusiasts? Music lovers? Teens?
Or you can ignore those and just write something that everybody can relate to.
4. Start with the small things
It’s hard to write something creative about something you do not like. Yes you can write about them but the overall theme and feel of the write up will be different contrary to how you write about stuff that you actually like.
This is a helpful tip especially for those who are just getting into writing. Start with the things you like, do not force yourself on the trending issues like global warming and globalization if those are not your cup coffee. Start with something small; you new puppy and how he rolls on the floor whenever you rub his ears, how your grandma gave you a new XBOX Controller for Christmas, about the things you think about when you drink a cup of coffee and all of the little and simple things.
You do not have to impress people, you just have to share a part of you. The best things are the smallest things.
5. Keep a mental journal
I suck at hand writing. Therefore I keep tabs on experiences using a mental journal.
Write at the get-go of an experience, try to describe the feelings and things about your first impressions, the things that you hate and why you hate them, just keep them in your mind. You may not be able to remember all of them, but when the time comes and inspirations starts gushing in? Bam, all these journals you thought you have forgotten will all come surging back.
Just be aware and notice everything. The cereal you had this morning, how your tummy growled as you rushed towards the toilet, that sweet noise your keyboard makes as you are typing, the strong aroma of the freshly brewed coffee you had this morning. The little things.
Share a part of you. A good writing will somehow emanate a part of you. As for me, my articles mostly contain two of my favorite things in life; coffee and video games, and somehow I instinctively write about them in all sorts of ways. I start by describing a scenario and most probably compare my experiences with experiences in games.
But that’s just me, a part of me that I sometimes put into my writings. The concept is simple; do not be afraid to put yourself in the things you write.
7. Do not aim to impress
Impressing people is good, but do not let that be your focus. Write because you want to write and not because you want to showcase your writing prowess. Write because you want to tell a story to people, write because you want to share something you know, write because you want people to smile.
It doesn’t matter if you have tons of readers or just close friends that are reading the things you right. Just write and write, share it with some people and listen to their feed backs.
The best advice I can ever give. Just have fun writing, play with your writing, drag your reader into an event or a world and play with them. Let them experience something, let them learn something. The feeling of receiving a good feed back and words like “I’ve enjoyed your blog” even if it’s just one person is very satisfying.
So there you have it.
I may not be the best writer, there are people there who are better than me and that’s okay. I love writing, and I want to share what I know about it. Now click my archives and read some of my write ups (sure shameless plugging) and send me your thoughts about them. Have fun little scribe, keep on writing.