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Writing Advice

Happy (early) Independence Day! Here is just a little bit of advice that I’d offer anyone who wants to write, whether they’re new writers just starting out, or experienced writers who just need a bit of a new perspective.


Something that I would recommend for other writers, or student writers, is to be okay with changing up your style. Don’t be afraid to branch out from the things you’re used to, and if you get stuck, sometimes the best thing to do is forget about writing for a while. I know this isn’t really helpful if you’re on a deadline, but starting earlier so that you have more time to think about writing is one thing you can do to improve your writing and overcome any writer’s block that you may face.


One of the best things you can do as a writer is just start writing. If you’re thinking about adding a scene or character or aspect that you’re not sure is going to fit; add it anyway! While writing a first draft, no one expects it to be a perfectly polished piece of work. Write what you want to write. If what you end up writing isn’t where you want the piece to go, or if you’re struggling with where it can fit in, don’t force it. It’s okay to write something that doesn’t ultimately fit into where you want your end result to end up. Keep an open mind! If you’re writing something that is completely contradictory to what you’ve already written, it’s probably not going to fit, but if you have an idea where you want your piece to go, but haven’t developed it that far, it’s okay to stray from that goal.


If you’re struggling with ideas or how a character may react to a situation, add in a situation that you can play with and dramatize in order to force the character out of their comfort zone, and maybe even yours. In writing, it’s okay to play! That’s one of the most important aspects of writing. Don’t try and envision what people are going to think about your work, just try to envision how you feel about your own work. You are ultimately going to be your own worst critic. How you feel about your piece is ultimately going to be the only person’s opinion that really matters. However, if it matters to you, it will also probably matter to someone else.


Sharing personal experiences or just something that feels personal can be really uncomfortable, and it’s okay to keep it to yourself, but it’s also okay to share it. One of the most gratifying things to do as a writer is to share your work. It’s true that not everyone will share your enthusiasm, passion, or viewpoint, but that’s not really the goal of writing, to have everyone agree with you. The point of writing is to create something that is important to you, and getting your thoughts and ideas written or typed down in some medium that you feel comfortable with.


Ultimately, the biggest piece of advice that I can give is to have fun! Explore different creative elements that you haven’t used before, or just create something that you’ve taken directly out of your daily life. It doesn’t matter what you draw your inspiration from as long as you enjoy what you’re writing about.


-Caitlin Barnard


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