As a young writer myself, I for sure look for advice to become a better writer. I’ve been hesitant to dish out on advice for other young writers, simply because I am far from knowing anything, and being twenty-two it’s an understatement to say that I’m still learning, and still got LOTS to learn!
However, I thought as you can probably relate to me and I can possibly relate to you, I’d give it a try.
There’s value in copying!
Not literally, not plagiarising. It can help discover what you like, which expressions you’d like for your own work. Every author’s work out there is just a coalescence of their own tastes, blended with all kinds of inspirations until something unique comes out of it.
You’re you and you’re unique.
Remember that. Nobody has seen life the way you’ve seen it. No one has had the same experience as you. No one has the same taste and no one has read the same books as you. Use your uniqueness and your unique experiences for your advantage and create something just as unique.
Read and study as much as you can.
Great writers are hungry readers and they read between genres and stuff they probably won’t like. They study and take notes. I always mark something or highlight a passage. Dialogues, descriptions, beginnings, endings, transitions… all the like. Ask yourself what made you highlight that sentence and what you’re feeling while reading and what made you feel that way. Appreciate the structure of the plot and find patterns. What about character arcs? Recognise foreshadowing! Would you have done anything differently? There’s so much you can study in a book – and it doesn’t have to have anything to do with school assignments.
Actively seek out feedback.
From your bestie, close supporter, your boo, your parent, your teacher or professor. Sometimes when you’re just so deep in your work and can’t see the forest in the trees, it really helps to get some feedback.
Don’t be afraid to suck. There are no rules.
Honestly, I cringe when I read something I wrote as a teenager. Most of the stuff I wrote was fan fiction or boring poetry. Most of it was terrible, naturally. Most of it didn’t even make sense and some sentences were truly pulled out of Thesaurus itself. Don’t be afraid to be bad, you can never edit nothing but you CAN edit a bad page. But that brings us to the next point:
Keep writing. Constantly.
With every nonsensical sentence and boring word, no matter how awful, how boring, how bland, will make you a better writer. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t come up with an amazing sentence right away. Write down what you want to get across and you can go over the fine details later. Just keep writing. Whatever.
Push yourself to finish the story.
Starting is always fun and the most exciting part. Finishing is pretty hard. You really need to push yourself to reach that finish line, even if most of the passages sucked.
“Your voice” will come with time.
Be patient, you’re still young and figuring it all out. Don’t stress too much about finding your voice, it’s a process.
Experience the world and life around you and try new things. Consider research if you truly hate going out. If you’re okay with it, travel, talk to people, shut up and listen more, feel. Do stupid things and get hurt in the process. Learn what everything feels like. To be fearless. To just go for it. To not go for it. To regret. Expose yourself to every experience you see coming around the corner. All of that will fill your writing and your creativity and it will fuel your honesty.
As I’ve said, I’m learning, just like you. I surely haven’t written enough. Nor read enough books. I have way too many story ideas that make it hard for me to actually finish one. But there’s authors out there who have written and finished so many books in their lifetime. So can we!