Sunday, September 16, 2012
Making Time to Read and Write
When you’re a young writer, everyone tells you to do two things: write a lot, and read a lot; however, that isn’t exactly measurable or very specific. For example, reading a lot for one might be considered barely reading at all, and the same is true for writing as well. Also, when you’re busy and maintaining a tight schedule, leisure things are some of the first to get cut, which often means that you don’t write much nine months of the year. That can be changed, though. Here are some easy tips to get started again.
1. Read different genres
-There are so many different types of writing out there: magazines, nonfiction, self-help, short stories, drama, and more. I tend to lean towards young adult books, but I also read the newspaper daily and have read several historical fictions and biographies, both of which are unusual for me. There are so many great books in so many different categories, and it may help you figure out what you really love to write if you’re unsure.
2. Step outside of your comfort zone
- Reading different types of books helped me understand how to write nonfiction and historical writing, and how that differs from contemporary young-adult, what I usually write. I also enjoyed the deviance from my usual writing and as a result, have written more in these areas. Additionally, you could try writing from a different perspective or narrative. Recently, I’ve tried third-person instead of my usual first-person. I didn’t like it, but I learned from it, and so it made my writing and understanding of the craft better.
3. Write every day
-Obviously, everyone has busy schedules. I understand that better than ever, as I am juggling the demands of homework, sports, high school, and just regular chores. At the end of the day, you just want to collapse and not pound out a new story. However, if you write every day, you will improve much more than if you just write a few times a week. Also, if you set a pattern, it will be easier to stick to it. You don’t have to write much, either. You could just write a few hundred words a day.
Currently, I’m participating in Go Teen Writers’ 100 For 100 contest, where you write 100 words every day, for 100 days on a single work, getting at least 10,000 words written by the end of the contest. That started Monday, but you could still write unofficially with the rest of the group. It’s not limited to teens, either. Of course, there’s also the event you’ve been hearing about for months, at least from me: NaNoWriMo. It starts in a month and a half, and I’m already planning my novel. On Halloween, I have a plan: I will stay home, do my homework, and become feverishly excited while the rest of my family is (rationally) confused.