Often, we write for a newspaper, school, or work; however, these writings tend to be mundane and lead to a sense of realism that seems depressing. Creative writing offers an escape from the more severe pressures of articles or essays. It can be a novel, poetry, screenwriting, or more. And the best part? It’s all up to our imagination. Please note that what will be covered here are the basics, and more advanced aspects of writings would be in a separate article. How does one begin this endeavor? Let us say that you want to write a novel that you would hope to one day publish.

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There are a few steps to this process, but unfortunately, each of these steps takes time to finish. It could be days, but it could also be months or years. That said, creative writing offers an outlet that’s both cathartic when things go wrong and jovial when taken lightly. The steps can be outlined in three major components:

Outlining your story

Writing an outline may seem antiquated at first, until you realize that it’s an excellent idea. I’ve written stories (that will be published later this year) with and without an outline, and I will tell you that writing without an overview is a bad idea.

A framework allows you to establish the characters in a story, create the world in which the narrative takes place, it also helps to develop the plot. One trend I have found is that it is likely that I will end up deviating from what I wrote in the outline. That’s okay because some issues can’t be tackled by merely thinking. They can only be resolved while writing and, solving those problems, creates new opportunities. Another I noticed is that an interview with Rob Hunter by Meagan Meehan states that personal themes tend to find their way into the narrative. This scenario isn’t a bad thing as it adds to your (and your readers’) ability to relate to the theme in question.

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Writing your story

Once you have your outline, and you have created the world, the characters, and the plot, it’s time to put the proverbial pen to paper. Perhaps the most obvious step of all, but it is not without complications. Like I mentioned before, there will be moments where you will hit an issue that can only be solved by writing. On the flip side, you will also contend with writer’s block. In these moments, I find it helpful to pull away from the story to take a break. Take a walk, play a game, do some chores- anything to tear yourself away from the story until you feel refreshed enough to write again.

Doing this gives you a fresh perspective with which to work. Writing a novel could take a month (to learn more about this, check out the National Novel Writing Month challenge!) or several. It takes time, patience, 40,000 to 100,000 words, and some tools of the trade to pull it off.

Editing your story

You’ve written your novel, so what now? My best advice? Set it aside for a few months. Do anything else but touch the latest work for at least a month or two. When you do this and return to the text, you should feel rejuvenated enough to edit it with new perspectives.

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Editing is the hardest step of all because you have to go through everything you wrote and make changes, searching for plot holes, and more. Grammar is also something to watch for, and such mistakes can be quite common. Editing can also be time-consuming, but the results are worth it. The novel reads much better when you do it. There will be times when you may have to rewrite a story, and these are the worst. That said, the book improves with each rewrite, but do it only if you have to.

Creative writing can be quite a process. It’s no doubt longer than the average essay for school or work, but the pros overshadow the cons by being both fun and, if applicable, therapeutic. It also helps improve both grammar and vocabulary. There’s always the concern of lacking ideas or motivation but, according to Jesse Hodgson, a children's book author, the best way is to keep going. You never know when you find the inspiration you need to carry on writing your book. So, if one day you need a break from the everyday stress of work, chores, or school, write something creative. Write and release the tension of the daily humdrum for a moment. The YouTube video below expands on what I wrote here, plus a few extra tips.