There I was, 9 years old, eating a sandwich and writing my first story. I remember it so clearly. My mom and I sat in a booth at Kaplan’s Delicatessen on Van Nuys Blvd. in Sherman Oaks, California, around 1964. She was working a crossword puzzle, I was writing with a pencil in a spiral-bound notebook. I called the story RACE AGAINST TIME because two super fast rocket-cars were racing on an anti-gravity raceway, through a tropical jungle inhabited by dinosaurs. Wow! Almost 50 years later, my first book was published on Amazon, THE BRILLIANT ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN FLASHLIGHT, ADVENTURE 1: DARKNETIZED.
Why am I telling you this? Because writing stories, or writing books, or writing anything, is easier than you might think. And, well, it can also be more difficult that you expect. But it’s always a great adventure, and once your book or story is finished, you never know where it will go or who will read it. So, be sure to make it a good one. To help, here are my 5 tips for being a good writer.
- Start Writing Now. If you get an idea, just start writing. Even if you only have a few minutes, jot down a few thoughts and keep them where you can find them again.
- Keep Your Ideas Somewhere Safe. Sometimes a sentence or an idea will pop into my mind in the middle of the night. I’ve learned, I’d better write it down, because in the morning, I won’t remember it. Where could you keep your ideas?
- Write About Things You Love. For your books and stories, write about things you care about. It’s a good place to start. Maybe real-life stories about sports or school or church. Or made-up adventures, going into outer space or to the bottom of the ocean.
- Keep Your First Pass Sloppy. When you start to write, keep going. Don’t stop and rewrite. Get the idea down as it’s coming to you. Keep writing, even if there are mistakes. You’ll fix them later. Write now—while the idea is fresh!
- Set It Aside and Come Back Later. Once I finish a first pass, I like to set it aside and start on something else. When a few days or a few weeks go by and I come back, I see the writing with fresh eyes, and can make better changes. I’ve got several stories, at different stages, all going at the same time!
The main points: Enjoy writing. Keep writing. Don’t stop writing! And don’t be discouraged, just stay after it. Writing is like working with clay. It starts rough, but gets better and better as you work at it. So, what will you write about today?