It wasn’t until I started writing that I realised how difficult of a task it was. Yes, when inspiration hits you, it is possible to go on this long drive of writing. However, things don’t always lay in line like that. You could get stuck anywhere along your writing journey; beginning, middle or ending. Sometimes, it’s when you have completed your first draft and are trying to proofread it that you discover that there is something missing in your story. It could be in the details, the descriptions, or even the language. You look at your work and realise that you need to add something to it, but you have no idea what that could be.
Here are three habits you could build as a writer that would help you out in such confusing situations.
This is one habit I assume a lot of you may find familiar. However, there are many writers, especially new ones, who have not cultivated this habit. It usually happens because many people start writing on a whim, or even unconsciously at times. They don’t set out to write a story or a full-fledged novel but seem to just go with the flow. Once they take it a little more seriously and actually start writing, they find that they get stuck at places. This leads to frustration and many writers even give up. However, most of the time, all that the writer needs is a little bit of research. Depending on what your story is, try to obtain more information. No matter what genre or type of audience you are writing for, research never does any harm. It only helps you build a better story. There are multiple levels of how you could research depending on what particular information you want. From researching about cities you are setting your story in and professions your characters could choose from to the tastes of your targeted audience and current trends of a genre, there are various branches of research that could be useful to you.
Research strengthens the narrative that you put forward and makes it believable. Readers are very quick to notice logical flows in a story and a poorly researched one would most probably have pot holes and irregularities. Such a story would end up losing the interest of the reader and even left unfinished. It would be pretty obvious that a non-fiction work would need copious amounts of research, but a work of fiction is no less. For example, if you are writing a fictional story set in a different time period (maybe a past era), it would need to be historically accurate. A crime novel would require an accurate representation of the law and its related agencies. Even fantasy that is usually almost completely up to the writer’s imagination is based on research. A school of magic and wizardry would be written based on research of a real school. It is almost impossible to write a book without any research. At times we write based on our experiences, but they are limited. There is so much we do not know, or a lot more than what we know about a particular topic. Hence, research is one of the most important habits that a writer needs to incorporate into oneself.
Like we’ve seen before, we write a lot from our experiences. Usually, what inspires us to start writing is something we see, hear, touch or even smell. Our surroundings are what spark a light in us that fires up our imagination. This is why it is in these very surroundings that we can find most of our stories. Humans tend to write about things that fellow humans can relate to. Even when writing about supernatural worlds and extra terrestrial beings, we always make things as similar as possible to the life we know. The reason we notice all these things are because of our observation skills. When we develop this skill of ours we are able to see so much more. We open up our senses and take in a lot of information from all around us, a sort of natural research. As a writer, this is a very important habit to build. The details we observe are what we incorporate into our writing. These details give life to our words. You may have noticed that a lot of times you base your characters on people you know. You observe them, their mannerisms, they way they talk, walk, eat and converse with other people. We usually give our characters such unique marks that make them distinct and interesting. It doesn’t always have to be people we know. When you take a walk in the park, you come across so many different people with different features and traits. Your mind may pick up something interesting and your imagination takes over from there. The same applies with places and events. Your sense of observation will help you notice and pick out details from all around you and you’ll be able to use it to build a strong narrative.
A lot of writers start writing because they love reading. We must have devoured hundreds of books till now and we have so many thousands waiting to go. The kind of possibilities that a book opens for us is unimaginable. Writing helps you improve your writing in all senses. Reading serves as a guide, a sort of lamp through the phases of darkness in your writing process. It teaches you all about writing. Reading can help you learn how to plot a story, develop a character and arrest a reader’s attention. It can inspire you to build worlds, save lives and change the minds of people. Reading can also teach you about various styles of writing and story telling. It can help you improve your grammar, vocabulary and at the same time stretch your imagination. It can teach you about extending limits and soaring higher. Do not limit yourself to one writer or one kind of genre. Read as much as possible as there is so much to learn. Reading can enable you to dream beyond what you’ve read and equip you to write about those dreams.
About the Author
Christy is a student, part-time writer, and a full-time Wannabe. She devours books and binges shows.