Do You Love to Write?
“How does a writer go about becoming a writer?” Aileen Fisher asks.
“My answer is very brief: read, read, read. See how different writers use words
to make things happen or to point up a thought or feeling. Then write down some of your own
words and hide them away for a while. When you take them out, read them aloud.
How do you think they sound? In the meantime, keep reading!”
If you are looking for motivation, why not write for a contest? There are many contests open exclusively to unpublished writers, and though winning may be unlikely, writing to the contest’s specifications will be excellent practice. Who knows? You can probably use the article or story somewhere else at a later date.
“I can shake off everything as I write;
my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
There is an excellent little book by Elizabeth Yates written for youth called "Someday You'll Write: Secrets of a Story Maker." Written in a conversational tone, she uses eight brief chapters to cover choosing a subject, beginnings & endings, plot, characters, and biography along with other practical advice in an engaging way. I highly recommend this book as a first book on "becoming a writer."
”Just write every day of your life. Read intensely.
Then see what happens.”
Listen to audio books. Find the great readers and listen to them over and over. You will soon hear what makes a good sentence.
And finally, “If there’s a book that you want to read,
but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
If you are serious about pursuing writing for children or adults, order a free copy of The Institute for Writers writing aptitude test. They will give you an honest opinion of whether you have some aptitude for writing, and if you pass the test, you are eligible to enroll in their well-designed mail-order/on-line writing course.
Or Do You Love to Draw?
Some of the best advice out there for would-be artists is—draw, draw, draw.
Look around you and draw. Draw what’s right in front of you or copy your favourite illustrations. Don’t be afraid to try different mediums!
“Every artist was first an amateur.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you are looking for help with technique, a great beginner’s book is Art for Kids: Drawing—The Only Drawing Book You’ll Ever Need to be the Artist You’ve Always Wanted to Be. For drawing people, it's a good idea to look for books specifically on drawing the clothed figure (although be cautious as some may still contain some nudity).
Give yourself a goal and announce it to your friends. For example: to share one new sketch per week. Or print off a fun list of weekly challenges like one pen and ink sketch a day or the penny-sized drawing challenge!
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’
then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
—Vincent Van Gogh
To keep yourself in practice, make a simple card for friend and family members' birthdays. This small-sized sketch will allow you to try all kinds of different mediums, from watercolour and pastel, to pencil, ink, marker and acrylic paints, and you can experiment with silhouettes, mixed mediums, landscapes, close-ups, etc. Using your gift to bless others may be your richest reward!