Want to be a novelist when you grow up? But worried that your English skills may not be up to scratch. Or maybe you just can’t seem to find the right inspiration to get you started! Here’s a list of 10 ways to improve your creative writing skills this summer. Guaranteed to leave you inspired and ready to write your next big novel or a super sweet short story!
What are Creative Writing Skills?
Before we tell you how to improve your creative writing skills, you need to know what exactly this means. Creative writing refers to fictional writing or storytelling. Take, for example, a newspaper article is not an example of creative writing, as it must include facts about a situation. While with creative writing you can use your imagination to make stuff up. Generally, the purpose of creative writing is to produce something which is entertaining, engaging and even personal.
Many writers use creative writing as a way of expressing their feelings and thoughts. It is a type of art-form which uses words instead of pictures to connect with people. Examples of creative writing may include:
- Song lyrics
- Short Stories
- Movie scripts
- Scripts for plays
But not all creative writing is fictional. Some like memoirs can be non-fictional and based on true stories. But may be written using imaginative language or have a dialogue between characters.
10 Ways to Improve your creative writing skills
1. Read everything you can find!
Let’s start with the obvious one! Read a lot! Read anything you find lying around your house from old story books to newspapers. While reading this stuff, pay attention to the words being used by the writer, use of metaphors, adjectives, characters, the plot, the conflict in the story etc. If you come across a word you don’t understand, use a dictionary to find its meaning and then practice using it in a sentence to gain a better understanding of that word. For more ways to get kids reading, check out this cool article.
2. Find inspiration in everyday things.
The world around you is full of interesting events. Go for a walk and ask yourself questions, such as what is that person doing? What is that dog looking at? Why are those people arguing? Write a summary of something that is happening on the TV or a video game you just finished playing. Write about everything and anything you see, hear, smell or feel! You’ll be surprised at what pops up in your head.
3. Use writing prompts to inspire you.
There are tons of resources on the internet that can inspire you, in magazines, newspaper headlines and any other words you find lying around. Why not check out our writing prompts for kids or sign-up for our newsletter for monthly creative writing resources.
4. Criticise the work of others.
When reading a book, try to identify the flaws in that story and list a couple of improvements. Also, note down the best parts of that story, what did you enjoy while reading that book? This can help you to understand the elements of a great story and what to avoid when writing. You can aim to do weekly or monthly book reviews on the books you read. Soon you’ll be able to master the secrets of great creative writing like a master!
5. Keep a journal and write something in it every day.
Even if you think your life is boring and nothing interesting ever happens in it. You can write about your goals and inspirations or what you did for lunch today. Anything is better than nothing! One day you’ll look back at these notes and they’ll inspire you to write an awesome story – you never know.
6. Play imaginative games.
Games such as cops and robbers or pretending to be a character from your favourite TV show or movie can be really inspirational. You can use our printable Red Riding Hood paper finger puppets to role-play the story of Red Riding Hood! Link a writing activity with these games, such as write a day in the life story for a character you are playing or send an imaginary letter to your favourite character in the story.
7. Rewrite a famous story.
Sometimes creating new characters or a story plot from scratch can be difficult. To improve your creative writing skills you can take a well-known story, such as Cinderella or any other fairy tale and change it slightly, so it has a different ending or comes from a different character’s perspective. For example, you can write from the point of view of the ugly step sisters and how they felt when Cinderella found her Prince Charming! Or what if Prince Charming chose the step sisters over Cinderella, what would she have done to escape?
8. Use image prompts to inspire you!
Image prompts, such as photographs, paintings, or a picture in a magazine can be great. You can even take your own pictures when on a day out or on holiday. When you come home, for each picture you can write an interesting caption to describe it. You can even try creating a whole story from all your holiday photos!
9. Incentivise your writing!
When writing, try setting yourself some small goals. For example today I will aim to write 100 words. Once you achieve this goal, give yourself a reward. This can be anything you like, such as going out with your friends, watching your favourite film or playing your favourite game. The important thing is that you stay motivated when writing. This is most important when trying to improve your creative writing skills.
10. Connect writing with your interests.
If you love football, why not write about your favourite footballer? How would you feel if you met them? What would you say to them? Why not write an imaginary letter to them? Whatever you enjoy doing, you can link any writing activity to it!
Bonus Creative writing Tips
- Don’t worry too much about spelling or grammar. You can fix these afterwards, once you have your story in place. Focus on developing creative story ideas and how wacky your stories can become!
- Ensure you have a comfortable place to write your stories. Check out our Pinterest for suitable reading and writing nooks! The perfect writing nook should have pens, paper, pencils, a dictionary, a thesaurus, bookshelf and anything else that you love!
- Plan your story before writing. Check out our cool, printable storyboard template here.
- Schedule some time every day to focus on reading or writing activities.
See over 26 creative writing tips that will turn you into a professional writer!
Top 5 Skills for Creative Writing
Interested in creative writing? The skills of a creative writer include:
- Imagination: You need a great deal of imagination to excel in creative writing. No-one wants to read the same old story again, they want to see a unique take on a topic – Something that makes them go wow!
- Persistence: Writing takes time. Whether it’s a poem or a novel, you need to be able to spend hours, days and even weeks and months perfecting your ideas and working out a plot. And then comes the editing and publishing process. Let’s just say you can’t be a great creative writer in one day – that’s for sure.
- Resilience: The life of a creative writer is hard. You will be faced with a lot of criticism from all sorts of people. Some might think your story is not realistic, others might say your plot is a little dull. But you need to be able to handle criticism and build from it. Remember criticism is not a bad thing, it helps you become a better writer.
- Writing Ability: Your words have to make sense, grammatically. You can be a professional creative writer if you’re not sure how to use commas or don’t know how to format dialogue properly. For this reason, it is important to understand the basics of writing in general before you become a creative writer.
Got any more tips to improve your creative writing skills? Let us know by commenting below!