Writers' Treasure Creative Writing Tips How to Get Started in Creative Writing in Just Three Steps

How to Get Started in Creative Writing in Just Three Steps

You’ve gone to the next step: you now know what creative writing is. You’d like to get started in it. The inevitable question is… how?

For reference, look at Daily Writing Tips’ awesome article Creative Writing 101. There are quite a few steps given there. I will be adding my own touches to them.

So, without any further ado, here are the three steps for you to climb and emerge as victor (sorry, couldn’t resist it).

Know the Genres and Subgenres of Creative Writing

It might not seem important now, but if you know the genres and subgenres of creative writing, you’ve done yourself a great service. Why? Because many great authors specialize in one big broad genre such as fiction or poetry or non-fiction. That is why… you see that great novelists write only novels, great short-story writers write only short stories, great poets only write poetry and so on. You don’t want to become “Jack of all trades; master of none.” And you can only specialize by knowing all of them.

Note: Now, of course, there are exceptions. Some novelists do write short stories and vice versa. But these types of authors are not common; they are rare. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t step outside of your broad genre and be afraid to experiment with other ones, it’s just to say that you should, first and foremost, go with the one you like most.

So do yourself a favour and read on the creative writing genres. They’re all known, of course. Fiction is branched into four sub-genres, of which only two are really popular: novels, novelettes, novellas and short-stories.

If you want to dig under the surface, you will find more and more sub-genres. Stories under 1000 words are called micro-fiction. Recently a new type of sub-genre has come into light: Twitter fiction, fiction of 140 characters. The people who make such fiction must be talented, because I can’t seem to close up a story under 1000 words. Concise writing, of course, is the issue.

Then there is poetry. I don’t write any poetry now, because I find it harder than writing fiction and hence I specialized and chose fiction as my broad genre. There are many sub-genres under poetry. Sonnet, haiku, ballad, tanka, pantoum, roundel, etc. My head hurts just looking at so many forms. Wow.

Creative Non-fiction. It’s strange that non-fiction is a part of creative writing, but then, as goes a saying, the truth is sometimes better than fiction. Memoirs, autobiographies, biographies, essays and journals, etc are all part of non-fiction.

Pick Out Your Own Genre

This is sometimes easy work, and sometimes hard work. It took me nearly a year to find out my own genre: writing fiction. Before I was experimenting with all forms without success and in vain (yeah they say the same thing). As soon as I started writing only fiction, my writing improved.

Every writer has his own genre of which he seeks to become the master of. It shouldn’t necessarily be fiction or a popular form. It can be as obscure as can be. Only enjoyment should be gained out of it, at least at the beginning. (You’re free to make money from it if you’re really good enough!)

It might be fun sometimes to step out of your genre and write something fun. I tried this with essays and it was a success. But remember that you should first write inside your genre and then after some time do what you like.

Start Writing (Regularly)

If you don’t know how to write for a period of time, check out the Daily Writing Tips article. Their idea of notebooks and finding ideas works for me.

It doesn’t matter whether you write once a day or a week or a month or anything else. Your writing should not be set on a schedule in which you can’t match your other work. “Write Every Day” is outdated advice now… the newer and better advice is “Write Regularly as much as you can inside your genre.” If you continue the practice… you should start seeing results. Never break off from your work. I tried it one time and the results were not uplifting. It took me a whole month to get back to my earlier standard.

Bottom line is: just write (regularly), and you’re started in creative writing! You can say with pride, “I’m a writer.” Just write. That’s it.

But what’s the purpose?

If your purpose is to get published and make money from your writing straight away, I’m sorry to say that you will be bitterly disappointed. Even the best authors’ first novels were proper garbage (not my words; their words) unless they were edited previously. So you might as well give up creative writing if you only want the money.

But if your purpose is to enjoy your ride and perfect your writing and just be pleased by writing, then you are welcome inside the camp of writers. You’re a writer. So you might just as well do—do what?—write.

Tomorrow we will look into the differences between creative writing and technical writing.

This post is the second instalment in the series “Creative Writing 101.”

19 thoughts on “How to Get Started in Creative Writing in Just Three Steps”

  1. I am trying to become a writer, and I am in the midst of struggling through a bumpy point right now. I am seeking outlets, other kindred spirits to connect with in order to get into focus with my plans. I am online regularly, seeking information and outlets……

    1. when writing express yourself through your thougt, imagination,feeling or emotion. if it is something on history you make some research work. feel free to write without thinking of what people may say it is your work

  2. I love to see my thoughts turn into words. But for some reason I cannot seem to write any story, just general writing I know and understand. I also have a hugh problem with, what is called, grammar!

    I just want to write better to be understood. I have my own writing style because of my serious problem with english grammar, so I created my own way of understanding english grammar.

    The logic of the words within the sentence, sentence structure and of course editing. How much do you charge for your service? pauljames@brmemc.net

  3. I’m sorry, I don’t see the point of “picking your own genre”. You don’t really give a reason for this point, other than saying: “As soon as I started writing only fiction, my writing improved.” While I don’t doubt that this is true, it is merely your own personal experience. If I enjoy writing several different genres, why shouldn’t I switch between all of them equally? A bit more explanation on this point would be appreciated, thank you.

    1. Well as they said, “Jack of all Trades, master of none”, it is better to find what you work with best rather than play around with all the genres willy nilly, because using the genre you are best with, will allow you to convey what you want to say more easily and your focus will be on being creative rather than actually trying to figure out how to write a short story or a novel, etc. Similar to how an Artist will stick with particular mediums, Watercolour is far different to Oil paints and so the Artist will stay with they are familiar with, the best way to convey what they feel.

      1. The quoted phrase actually originated as “Jack of all trades, master of none; but better than master of one”, the last bit just being dropped for ease and eventually forgotten and misinterpreted.

    2. Hi
      haven’t you heard they say little knowledge is dangerous. it is true for the point you are trying to make, since it is never easy for anyone to master a number of genres equally, except to master them all equally poorly. the best thing is what’s been said above; pick your genre and be an expert in it and leave the rest to whom who can make the best out of them.

  4. those worried about grammar , i think if you read and write more often ….you are likely to improve your grammar

    writing down raw thoughts,ideas ,emotions does work .you may refine it later ,but the raw idea in itself is half the work.

    regular writing helps one to express ideas more clearly
    i also think what drives you to write determines the quality of work
    if you are doing it to get published , you put yourself under pressure
    you will constantly feel inadequate

  5. I like creative writing but I don’t how to start, please I want someone to guide me how to write please thank you

  6. Hi
    haven’t you heard they say little knowledge is dangerous. it is true for the point you are trying to make, since it is never easy for anyone to master a number of genres equally, except to master them all equally poorly. the best thing is what’s been said above; pick your genre and be an expert in it and leave the rest to whom who can make the best out of them.

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