Over the next few weeks we are producing a series of blogs to help anyone interested in entering our new creative writing competition.
In this first blog here are 5 handy tips to help you get started. In the coming weeks we will be sharing more advice from our esteemed panel of judges including writer Becky Prestwich and novelist Monica Ali.
Write the story/poem/script that you want to write. Don’t try to second-guess whether people will enjoy it or not - if it means something to you then go for it. Toni Morrison wrote:
There are many ways you can interpret the theme of One Night in Bolton. If you can’t think of an idea straightaway, have a think about the places in Bolton which are significant to you: maybe because they remind you of somebody or of a particular time in your life. Do you want to write about a memory, something fictional or maybe a mixture of both?
While you’re still mulling ideas over in your head (or if you’re stuck for what to write about), go and do something other than writing. You might stare at a blank screen or page for hours on end and not come up with anything but when you’re walking outside or doing the dishes then you might just hit upon something special. Remember that you can be writing even when you’re not sat at a desk.
Read aloud what you’ve written - either face-to-face, over Zoom or even to yourself. More than getting feedback from other people, it’s about being able to listen to your words. You’ll hear things in your writing which you wouldn’t do if you were only reading it in your head. If something doesn’t sound right to you as the writer then it’s likely that it will be unclear to other people too.
Embrace rewriting. Once you’ve finished your first draft, leave it for a few days and then come back to it - you’ll see your work with a fresh pair of eyes. Be honest with yourself about what’s working well and what isn’t. If you feel like the whole thing needs changing then try and work out if that’s a valid opinion or whether you’re just being hard on yourself. If it’s the first of these then start again from scratch - you might surprise yourself with how quickly you write the redraft now you know where you want to go with it.
Remember that the likelihood is we’ll never be completely happy with anything that we create but with writing, as in life, we can’t let these doubts stop us from having a go in the first place.
We wish you the best of luck with your writing and look forward to reading your work!