Creative Writing 101 – Michael Legend


We shall be writing for the rest of our lives. Therefore, we must get it right. Almost everyday we post our thoughts on the internet. It’s really a turnoff to see folks who proudly publish write-ups without even noticing they made a blunder.

Wait a minute! No matter how brilliant your idea/story is, if your composition isn’t good enough, most people will throw it aside. Hey! The fact that you got a thousand likes for a writeup doesn’t necessarily mean that three persons read it to the end. One of the ways you know the impact of your writings is the feedbacks you get.

There are five major components of the writing process: Prewriting, Writing, Revising, Editing, and Publishing.
Prewriting is the process of gathering ideas and information for your project. This could include: General brainstorming, doing background research at the library or online, conducting interviews, writing character sketches, or making an outline. You can find out the meaning of the remaining components.

I get inspired when I write. And by experience, I have discovered that I write more using tools like a notepad in a mobile device. Even my first book (not yet published) passed through this process before being translated to MSWord for compilation. You should find out what works for you: writing material, audio recording to transcription, notepad, etc.

Let us now consider fundamental tips that’ll boost your proficiency in the art of writing:

1. Do it. Write. No better way to master any trade, craft, or profession without actually getting involved in it. Go ahead, write!

2. Read as much and as often as you can. Remember, every writer is a reader first. To heighten your ideology and referential capacity, you must be versatile in reading. The more you know, the more inspired you are to write and the more points you have to deliver.

3. Keep a journal or notebook handy at all times so you can jot down all of your brilliant ideas. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure it’s loaded with a note-taking app. A voice-recording app also comes in handy for recording notes and ideas.

4. Make sure you have a dictionary and thesaurus available whenever you are writing. This will help you use the right words for the right sentences and limit assumptions that may be injurious to the accuracy of your writings.

5. Be observant. The people and activities that surround you will provide you with great inspiration for characters, plots, and themes.

6. Invest in useful resources so you keep developing your knowledge in the art, use, and composition of words.

7. Grammar: learn the rules and then learn how to break them effectively.

8. Stop procrastinating. Turn off the TV, disconnect from the internet, tune out the rest of the world, sit down, and write. Just write!

9. Read works by successful authors to learn what earns a loyal readership.

10. Read some works by the canonical/orthodox/ancient authors so you understand what constitutes a respectable literary achievement.

11. Join a writers’ group so you can gain support from the writing community and enjoy team spirit in your craft.

12. Start a blog or writing series on your social media. Use it to talk about your own writing process, share your ideas and experiences, or publish your work to a reading audience. You can also pick up specific life interests where you’ve gained experience growing up and build a writing series around it.

13. Create a space in your home especially for reading and writing. Be organized.

14. Proofread everything at least three times before posting write-ups or submitting your work for publication.

15. Write every single day. No breaks. No holidays.

16. Subscribe to blogs about writing. Read them, participate, learn, share, and enjoy!

17. Make it your business to understand grammar and language. Do you know a noun from a verb, a predicate from a preposition? Do you understand tense and verb agreement? Well, you should.

18. Use writing exercises to improve your skills, strengthen your talent, and explore different genres, styles, and techniques.

19. Let go of your inner editor. When you sit down to write a draft, refrain from proofreading until that draft is complete. This helps sustain your flow and limits boredom while writing.

20. Allow yourself to write poorly, to write a weak, uninteresting story or a boring, grammatically incorrect poem. You’ll never succeed if you don’t allow yourself a few failures along the way. Do not refrain from writing because you’re worried it won’t be perfect!

21. You are a writer so own it and say it out loud: “I am a writer.” Whether it’s a hobby or your profession, if you write, then you have the right to use this title.

22. If you’ll run a blog, learn precision in your writing. Unless you’re writing an article, most blog posts should be precise and direct to the point. Elongated writings could discourage readership. You can also achieve this by breaking your blog posts into series and volumes. Don’t be in a hurry to share everything at once; it’s not the end of the world.

23. Get a mentor and/or a constructive critic. You may have more than one mentor and more than one critic. But ensure they’re experienced in the art of writing. All you need to do is reach out to them on your passion and willingness to submit to their criticism and/or mentorship. I used to mentor the wife of one of my superiors in Church. Boy! It was a heck of work. She writes and sends to me for proofreading, and usually I ended up restructuring everything she wrote for perfection. But it paid off, because she’s an independent writer today. Her writings even got featured in a national daily one time.

24. Write, write, write, and then write some more. Forget everything else and just write. Be consistent. Go!

-Michael Legend.


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