Writing has been my life, my love, and my voice since I was a little girl. I couldn't imagine my life without being a writer.
Looking back on the past decade of my writing journey, I have learned so much. God has taken me so far and He has given me so many wonderful people to inspire me and help me in my journey. Nothing in life is meant to be done alone; we were created for community. Because of that I believe strongly in my heart that I want to give back to other young writers the encouragement and advice given to me over my journey as a young writer.
So when my dear friend, Livy Jarmusch, asked me to write a blog post sharing my writing tips, I was so excited! This post is a part of the blog tour for Livy's brand NEW book that just released, "The Coronation"! If you haven't already, go check it out at her blog: www.livylynnblog.com. :)
And now, without further ado, here are my top ten writing tips for young writers...
1) Read. Yes, indeed, this is very, very important. I've been reading even longer than I've been writing, pretty much as long as I can remember. But reading and writing go hand in hand. Reading great books teaches you how to write great books. Reading is a way of inspiring your writer's heart. So if you have a day of no inspiration, or a day flooded with writer's block, just sit down and pick up a book to read. Read, read, read. Some great authors who have inspired and influenced me are: Ann Voskamp, Leslie Ludy, Lysa Terkeurst, and Bob Goff.
2) Just write something. It can be so easy to get distracted from our writing or feel that we need to be perfect to write. So we spend hours outlining our book, planning our characters, or constructing the plot. And while those are good things, sometimes we let them get in the way of just writing. The thing that makes you a writer is writing, so you should do it every day! Be consistent with your writing. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be on paper. Set aside a specific amount of time each day that you want to work on your writing, and write even if you don't think it's any good!
3) Get connected with other writers. As I said earlier, we aren't meant to do things alone. God created us for community! He wants us to encourage and help each other. Create a writing group with other young writers from your church or school. Join a writing community on Facebook. If you're a blogger, network with other bloggers. Help each other out! When you're a part of a community, you can gain advice and encouragement from more experienced writers. And you even have the opportunity to give back advice and encouragement to writers who aren't as experienced as you are.
4) Do it afraid. Okay, so, something you may or may not know about me is that I am honestly terrified of sharing my writing with others. Yep, it's the truth. Writing is my life and what I know I was created to do. But sometimes our greatest joy and our greatest fear collide to help us discover our greatest calling. That's writing for me. You too? Then, sweet soul, pull up a chair and listen close. If God has called you to write, you are meant to do this. He has given you a pen for a reason. If you let fear stop you from this adventure, you will miss out on so much. It may be scary to show others your writing. It may be scary not knowing what they will think. Be brave. Be brave and share your words anyway. It's going to turn out amazing. ♥
5) Write for Jesus. With all of my heart I believe that if you are not writing for Jesus and His glory, you are writing in vain. He has given us specific talents and gifts to bring Him the honor and glory He deserves. If we write to gain glory for ourselves or to bring attention to ourselves, we are missing out on the most important part of writing. With every word you type, use it to speak the love and truth of Jesus. Let Him be the reason you write.
6) Separate editing from writing. Ouch. This one hits home for me. Here's the thing: I am a perfectionist in my writing. Which means that if I don't think something sounds perfect, I sometimes don't write it. Being a writing perfectionist is tough and it is enough to stop some writers from even writing at all. You see, writing is messy and imperfect...and so beautiful. Words don't change and touch lives because they're perfect, but because they're perfectly flawed. As a reader we aren't looking for something perfect, because sometimes we just want something to assure us that you don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. So when you're writing, don't edit. Just write your words. Let them flow. Don't stop because the words don't sound perfect. There is a time and a place for editing. There is a time to strive for excellence in your writing. But that is after you've already written. Edit later.
7) Find your unique writing style. There are so many different things you could write! Do you prefer creating stories and developing characters? Would you rather write your heart out in an article or a devotional? Do you like creating beautiful sentences through poetry? Whatever it is that you love to write the most, write that. And write lots of it. But what scares you the most to write? Because I want you to write that too. You might not discover your unique writing style or writing calling until you've written what scares you the most. I grew up writing stories. Creating fiction novels was my thing. But when God called me to step out into the scary world of writing non-fiction and articles, it was hard! Yet it was there that I discovered the type of writing I love best. So write lots of different things! And in the process you will figure out exactly what you were meant to write.
8) Start a blog. If you are serious about your writing and growing your writing platform, I encourage you to start a blog. My blog has been a source of so much joy and growth for me in my writing. I wouldn't be where I'm at today in my writing without having started this blog. It was essential for me, as well as a dream come true. Having a blog not only gives you the opportunity to have your writing read by others, but it allows you to grow and develop as a writer. And your blog could be about whatever you want! Maybe you enjoy cooking and you want to have a blog dedicated to cooking. Or maybe you love stories so your blog could include short stories you write each month! You might love writing articles like me, and dedicate your blog to sharing God's truth and love with others. Let your blog reflect who you are and who God has called you to be as a writer.
9) Don't live for compliments. Another ouch for me. Because I'm afraid of what people will think of my writing, sometimes I live for their compliments of what I wrote. Hearing that other people loved what I wrote, makes me love it. If they don't love it, then I don't. And here's why that is wrong: Because not everyone is going to love your writing. Your writing is not going to be for everyone. I've heard it said before that if you live for compliments, you will die from rejection. Decide in your heart that you are writing for Jesus. Live for His applause. And love what you wrote. Your opinion honestly is what matters most. If you love what you wrote, it doesn't matter who else does. Now, the other side of this is that it's totally okay to accept constructive criticism! If you can't accept advice and criticism as a writer, you are not going to grow. It may not always be easy to hear, but you should always listen to advice with an open mind. You can't listen to everyone's advice of course, but you should be willing to learn and grow.
10) Pray. The first thing I do when I sit at my laptop to write, is pray, "Father, write through me today." You'll do your best writing, when you first give it to Him. Develop a team of dedicated prayer warriors who would love to pray over you and your writing project. Cover your writing in prayer and let God do the hard work. :)
Keep writing, dear writer. The path ahead may not always be easy, but it is always worth it.
If you are interested in advice or encouragement as a writer, I'd love to talk to you and share with you, just fill out the contact form here on my blog! I've also written a guide just for writers that can be found at my website: www.isabellamorganthal.weebly.com
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.