How To Start Writing: A Guide for Beginners & Writers Who Are Stuck | Inger VB | Skillshare

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How To Start Writing: A Guide for Beginners & Writers Who Are Stuck

teacher avatar Inger VB, jack of all trades, tryer of all things

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Lesson 1 - Taking the Leap


    • 3.

      Lesson 2 - Different Things You Can Write


    • 4.

      Lesson 3 - General Writing Tips


    • 5.

      Lesson 4 - If You Get Stuck


    • 6.

      Lesson 5 - The Best Plan is Not to Plan too Much


    • 7.

      Lesson 6 - Apps & Websites to Help You Write


    • 8.

      Last Thoughts


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About This Class

Hello! Welcome to my class on 'How To Start Writing'. This is a class designed to be a guide that will help you take the initial leap into the world of writing. It's nothing fancy; no frills and no difficult-to-understand language. It's a very simple class so that you can get to writing as quickly as possible.

Who is this class for?

  • Beginners who have never written a piece of creative writing before
  • Intermediate or Advanced writers who have lost their drive, and need some inspiration or a shift in perspective to help them ignite their writing fire again.

What will this class cover?

  • The different types and genres of writing that you can choose to write
  • General writing tips to help you get started
  • Tips for what to do if you get stuck while writing
  • How to (or not to) plan and research when you're writing something
  • Recommendations of apps and websites you can use to help you write
  • A little pep talk for anyone who is unsure of themselves and whether they should pursue writing at all :)

Here are links to the apps and websites I mentioned in lesson 6:


Thank you for joining my class today! Please leave it a review, so that I can know what you did and didn't like. You can also leave me a comment with a request for a topic you'd like me to cover and I'll do my best to make it happen!

Meet Your Teacher

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Inger VB

jack of all trades, tryer of all things

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to my class on how to start writing. As you can tell from the title, this class is all about how to make the initial leap into writing. While this class is geared more so towards beginners, there may be some tips for seasoned writers in here as well, or just something that may give you the shift in perspective necessary to get you out of your RET so that you can take up writing again in this class, I'm going to cover the basics of writing, the different forms of writing, and some tips on how to find inspiration and motivation to start writing whatever it is that you want to write. If that sounds like something you're interested in, then stick around and I'll see you in the next lesson. 2. Lesson 1 - Taking the Leap: So you want to get into writing, but you don't know where to start. I have been in your exact same position and posture. And so I wanted to share a few tips on the things that helped me get started into writing and eventually led me to write poetry, multiple screenplays, and a novella. I find that the easiest way to get into writing when you don't know where to start is to free write, which is basically just to write down whatever is on your mind at the very moment you wanted to write. This is a term you might be familiar with if you journal a lot, but I think it's a great thing for writers to implement. Also, it takes the pressure off of you trying to write something good and instead let your thoughts flow freely. Just be warned that reading back over what you wrote might be a bit confusing. Because if you're anything like me, your mind is prone to wonder often. And so your writing will wander along with it. Another great way to get into writing is to use writing prompts. You can find them all over the internet, which is great because it's Bears you The sometimes daunting task of coming up with an idea to write about. Now you might not be able to use whatever you wrote from the writing prompt as an actual project, because likely thousands of other people have already used the exact same prompt is you. But it is a good way of getting into flow, writing or writing mode, if you will. Another good thing to do is to get some friends to write with old motivate each other and keep each other accountable to make sure no one falls off the writing bandwagon. It's also nice to have them around to ask for advice and for their opinion on something you're not sure of. And then you're also not sitting alone in a dark room writing and secret. It's good to remember that the more you write, the better you will get at it. 3. Lesson 2 - Different Things You Can Write: Next, we're going to talk about all the different types of writing. Writing is a relatively broad topic and there are a lot of different subcategories under this one very general term. That two main subcategories, or fiction and non-fiction. Fiction is literature that is created from the imagination. And non-fiction is literature that is based in fact and is in my opinion, the broadest category of literature. Fictional works usually come in the form of short stories, children's books, and most commonly novels. They come in a variety of genres, including mystery, science fiction, romance, fantasy, young adult, and crime thrillers among others. Non-fiction works, on the other hand, are usually books and articles on business, cooking, health and fitness, pets, crafts, home decorating, languages, travel, religion, art, education, psychology, true crimes and science. This also includes biographies and autobiographies. Lastly, I want to talk about two types of writing that fall in between fiction and nonfiction. These are scripts and poetry. Scripts can either be fictional or nonfiction. And depending on whether they are written from the author's imagination or from a novel. Or to be something more like a historical film or a documentary. Poetry is probably the least structured form of writing because it isn't actually classified as fiction or nonfiction. It can be either based off of the author's own experiences in life or it can be a more fictional approach like describing an object surrounding or feeling. Novels, poetry, scripts, and non-fictional works are all very different in the way they are formatted and presented to the reader. And they also have very different audiences. But they do, oh, pose a similar problem. If you're just starting to write. 4. Lesson 3 - General Writing Tips: As we have established, there are a lot of different categories under the term writing. And I'm going to do more in detail clauses on all of the aforementioned forms of writing. But for now, let's just go through a list of general tips that will be applicable to all types of writing. Tip number one is to read a lot. Reading is the best way by far to improve your writing. You get to dive into the minds of other authors and you're often exposed to many different writing styles within the same genre. Speaking of genres, I'd advise you to read something from every genre out there. Even if at first you think it might not be something you're interested in, you might surprise yourself and you'll learn to appreciate the differences in style from genre. Genre. Tip number 2 is to write all the time, even if what you write makes no sense at all and is completely unusable, It's a good way to exercise your writing muscle. You can write about your day, described the things you observe around you. People watch in a coffee shop and write a short paragraph about what you think the people who come and goes day or life might look like or whatever comes to your mind in the moment. Tip number 3 is to figure out the end before you even start writing so that you know where you're going. The ending doesn't have to stay exactly the same forever. But it is good to know the general direction your story is going in. And it'll make coming up with the rest of the story a lot easier. Tip number four is to write what you want to write. This is one of the most important things that I think every writer needs to here, there's no use in your writing something because you think other people will want to read it. If it makes you absolutely hate what you're writing. So don't write what you think other people want to read. Writes something that you as a reader would want to read. I guarantee you that if you would want to read what you're writing, there are other people who will want to read it too. Tip number five is to write for an audience of one. Don't try to write for a generalized audience because first of all, it doesn't exist anywhere ever. The only place you might find a nameless, faceless audience is in the theatre. And second of all, trying to write for the, every man will scare you out of writing anything at all. So a good idea is to just pick one person and they can be someone you actually know or someone you've made up and write something solely for bear enjoyment. The best part about this is that even though you're only writing for one specific person, there are a lot of people out there who will enjoy writing just as much as your audience of one. Tip number six is for when you're writing dialogue, you should always say it out loud as you write it. This one sure that it actually sounds like a conversation that are real person might have and not just speech written by a robot or a computer. And if you're sitting there behind your screen thinking, Sure, I'll talk out loud to myself. It's not like people might think that I'm insane or anything. I'm well aware of that fact. But you don't have to talk very loud. You can even whisper. The whole point of this is just so that you can hear what your words would sound like if someone were to actually say them, it'll help you get the right tone of voice and where it arrangement. You can also do this with a friend or a writing partner if you have one. Tip number seven is to leave the house. When you write at home, it's so easy to get distracted by the things around you, like a pile of dishes you haven't washed or the fact that you haven't swept the floors and the month getting out of your space will free up your mind to think about what you writing instead of the million other things that you need to get done that day. And the fresh air is just really good for you. Go out to a quiet restaurant or a cafe made specifically for creatives or a park, and just let your writing gears turn. The last tip is to sit yourself a deadline. There's this thing called Parkinson's law that states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Which basically means that it doesn't matter whether you give yourself two hours or two days to write 500 words, it'll take you that long to write them. So if you set yourself a deadline for when you want to have finished your writing project, unless something major goes wrong, that's the amount of time it'll take you to finish it. 5. Lesson 4 - If You Get Stuck: Throughout your journey of writing, there's bound to be a few times where you'll get stuck. And that's okay. It happens to everyone and there's always something you can do to help get yourself back into writing. If you're stuck on a specific scene or a chapter, one of the things you can do is just to completely bypass it and carry on with what happens afterwards. If you have a general idea of what needs to happen in that scene, you can just write it in brackets. For instance, our hero escapes by doing something clever. But if you haven't the foggiest, just leave the page blank and write whatever you think of next. It might also help you to write any dialogue that occurs in a particular scene or chapter. First, just adding basic descriptions like who said what and how it was said. Then you can come back to the scene at a later date and add in other aspects like action, background descriptions and plot. This might even make your scene longer than it might have been if you had just written it all in one sitting. If however, you're stuck in general and not just with a specific scene, it may be best to put your writing project away for a bit and give you brain some time to rest. Taking time away from your writing will reignite that spark inside you and you'll be excited to get back to it. It'll also help you see things from a different perspective and think of things that you may not have thought of before. You can also try switching up the font in which you're writing and change it to Comic Sans. I know it's every graphic designers least favorite font, but something about this font is very disarming. It's kind of like it lets you step back into a childlike state of mind and it increases your creativity and writing speeds so much. I know it sounds silly, but don't knock it until you've tried it. 6. Lesson 5 - The Best Plan is Not to Plan too Much: Most of the tips in this lesson, we'll be more applicable to the fiction side of writing rather than nonfiction, because non-fiction does require a lot more planning, research, and accuracy. One of the best writing tips I've come across is a quote by Cory Doctorow that I found a few years ago. I, someone who gets way too engrossed in the planning and research process of whatever I'm writing. This tip has helped me out a lot. It says Don't research. Researching, isn't writing, and vice versa, when you come to a factual matter that you could Google it in a matter of seconds. Don't. That way lies in endless click trans that will turn your 20 minutes of composing into a half-day is idle through the web. Instead, do what the journalists do. Type TK wherever the fact should go. Tk appears in very few English words. So a quick search through your document for TK will tell you whether you have some fact-checking to do afterwards. I find this very helpful because I'm prone to spending an entire day researching the most minute detail instead of actually writing anything. And if you never write, you'll never finish your project. Another good tip to keep in mind is to leave holes in your writing. Your writing is 50 percent reader, which means it needs to have holes for the readers to fill in with their own conclusions. I'm not talking about leaving plot holes, but rather just leaving some things up for interpretation. Don't spell out every single little detail. Your readers are smart enough to figure out a lot of these things by themselves. Let your words imply as much as they staked. One of the best examples of this is from a newspaper comic by Gary Larson, done in 1982. The panel was titled cow tools and features a cow standing in front of a table covered with oddly shaped tools that the cow had made. According to Larson, it was just meant to be a joke about how cows would be bad at making tools. But it has since become the comics most asked about Panel. People want to know why cows are making tools, what aspect of society It's commenting on. And most importantly, they want to know what the tools are for. Since the one on the right resembles a carpenter sore, people assume that the other tools must have some obvious function too. If only they could figure it out. But these tools don't have a function and the comic wasn't ever really intended to mean anything. This goes to show that if the core elements in your story makes sense, the peripheral elements can just be a bunch of incomprehensible stuff mixed in with the odd bit that almost makes sense. And people who sees the peripheral bots and rationalize them for you. And whatever they come up with will most likely be a lot more interesting than what you had originally come up with. If you even did come up with anything at all. And once they figured it all out, you can just pretend that that was what you had intended all along. So you really don't need to come up with every single part of your story. 7. Lesson 6 - Apps & Websites to Help You Write: Next we're going to talk about some of the apps and websites you can use to help you write. The first one we're going to talk about is Zane writer. Xin writer is a full-screen writing program that is almost fully customizable. You can switch between day and night mode, change the background picture and the font. You also have the option to play background sounds, but you can always switch it off if you prefer to work silently. And you can even add your own music by dragging it into the music folder. Zen writer can be used to write whatever you want to write and it auto saves everything to the Cloud so you'll never lose any of the work you've done. This isn't a free to use app, but they do have a relatively long free trial period. And once the free trial has run out, it's really not that expensive to use. Next. I also recommend using something like Google Docs or ever now to back you're writing up in the cloud. If you use a more traditional writing program like Microsoft Office Word, by backing a workup, you'll ensure that if you ever lose the work on your computer, do trick crashing, law-breaking, you'll always be able to find it again. I also like to keep a call on an external hard drive as an extra precaution because I've had multiple experiences with using something I've spent months working on. It's always better to be overly cautious, especially when you're working with technology that can sometimes be unreliable. 8. Last Thoughts: Well done on finishing materials. I hope you learn something new or found some inspiration to start and continue writing whatever you were working on. I have a few last thoughts I'd like to share with anyone who is really new to writing. Whenever we as humans try to get into something new, it can be a bit daunting and we often feel like we're not worthy or we don't belong because we're not as good as some of the more successful people in the field. But it helps you remember that they were once exactly like you. Don't worry if your first draft isn't perfect, It's not supposed to be. The sole purpose of your first draft is to get your ideas out onto paper. There's a quote by Terry prejudice that goes, the first draft is just you telling yourself the story. I really like that idea because it takes a lot of the pressure off with trying to make it good. Since you're the only person who's going to read your first draft. Writing might also feel a bit point is at times, since there are already so many works that are similar to yours, but no one will ever put all the pieces together the same way that you will. And that's the beauty of writing. Don't stop writing something just because you don't think it's good or different enough. There will always be someone who enjoys what you've written. And they will reread it over and over again and rave about it to all of their friends. So please keep writing. I promise you it's worth it. If you liked this class, would you do me a favor and leave it or review? It takes less than a minute to do and it really helps me out because you can let me know what you liked about the class and what you think I can improve upon in my next class. Speaking of, I'm already working on my next class and I hope to be putting it out very soon. If you're interested in more writing related classes, be sure to follow me on here so that I can make you know, when all of my future classes go live. I'll also be sending out some e-mails from time to time to ask your opinion on ideas for new clauses and whether there is something specific you'd like me to cover. If you already have an idea of something specific you'd like me to make a class on. You can leave it in the comments on this class and I will take some inspiration from your ideas. Also remember that writing is a very subjective thing, and so no one's writing process will ever be identical. What works for me personally, might not necessarily work for you and vice versa. And that's totally fine because there really is no perfect way to go about writing. So just do whatever works for you and stick with it. As long as you're writing. That's good enough. Thanks again for joining my class and I hope to see you in the next one.