So, you want to be a writer?
But how do you start? Writing’s a huge world full of professional dictionary lovers and grammar Nazis. I mean these people are adults – you’re just a kid. I mean they get to drink coffee all day and wear suits. Wait, you’re not even allowed to drink coffee yet.
I know how you feel
I’m a young writer, also facing battles trying to get into the adult world out there. It’s hard, when you’re a kid and have school and so much going on in your life. But you can still do it.
You can write at any age
I feel that should be worth repeating. You don’t have to be a professional. You don’t need a degree or qualifications to write. You just need keyboard and fingers or paper and pen. And of course, words
Why I love writing
For me, I love writing because I can do anything with it. The sky isn’t a limit. There are no limits in writing you can write about whatever you want.
When you break it down, writing is just a collection of words strung together. In those words are letters. Dotted around are a few full stops and other punctuation marks. That’s it.
But they have so many possibilites
When you look at a keyboard it’s not that big. But writing can, is and has since it first originated, change the world. But why stick to this world? When writing, you can just create a world. A new country. A new planet. Why not go right out there with another universe.
One thing to remember
I have one request when choosing something to write. Write about something that matters to you. Even if you’re just a kid there are still things in your life your not happy with. Thing’s you think should be said.
Write about them
For me, I write about mental health. I’ve always been passionate about it and it’s a great honour and responsibility to get the chance to help people. But you can write about whatever you want, just something that matters
Section 1: Getting Started
So, you’ve decided you want to write. You’ve found something that matters to you, a topic you want to talk about. What next? I can anwser that in a word.
That’s it. Don’t worry about what the end result is going to look like. Even if you spent a lot of time planning, the end result would still mean it all changes.
Just get out there and get your thoughts down. Throw your feelings into it too. Don’t worry about it being bad. All first drafts are bad. Even for the professionals. Just write.
There are a few thing’s you can do to improve you’re writing. Much like football or Fortnite you get better with practice. To practice my writing I just free write. I just open a fresh note and start writing whatever comes into my head.
Some of the sentences don’t make sense. Sometimes I go back and think ‘why on earth would I write that’ but it doesn’t matter. The main thing is it was written.
Keep this writing – you never know when it could be useful. One day you might look back and see you have something you did as a random practice piece, that you actually use somewhere.
Learn the rules
If you want to play the game you need to learn the rules first. There are rules to writing. Spelling and grammar are the big ones to learn but there’s a few more as well.
Showing not telling is a popular one. Instead of simply stating ‘the girl was sad’ you show it through her fallen mouth and the water cascading down her cheeks. This makes writing more emotive – and also gives you more to say.
Reading helps here. Seeing how other writers’ achieve certain feelings in the reader and construct their writing can help yours. Get on Google have a look at writing rules and syntax.
Or just get out a good book. But instead of reading it for the story, look at the words the author has chosen, the way they have ordered the events. Reading with thought can help you use those techniques in your own writing.
But don’t stick to the rules
In writing, rules are meant to be broken. As long as you have a reason for breaking them. Writing’s not like school where you get in trouble if the rules aren’t followed. Some of the most famous writers have broken, changed or made new rules. That’s what makes writing interesting – going against the norm, standing out and being unique. That’s a good read.
Get your writing reviewed
Feedback is an important way you’re writing can improve. Much like getting a test back, you can see where you went wrong so you know what to work on next time.
Bad feedback is hard. But let is strengthen you and use those bad feelings you had when you got the feedback to power you when you next write. It takes time, but the more feedback you get, the better you’ll get.
If you’re writing specifically for kids then it’s okay to ask you’re friends. But I’d recommend asking parents/careers/teachers to review your writing as they are in a better position to give feedback.
Section 2: Sharing your content
So you’ve finally written something. Had it reviewed and changed a few things. Now you want to share your amazing writing with the world.
As a young writer, you may not have that much to invest in your business. So all the options below are free. However, there are paid ones if you want to the next level.
Social is a great way of sharing small extracts of your writing. More importantly, you’ve probably already got a personal account and a following.
Instagram isn’t just for photos. You can design posts using free tools such as Canva and Fotor to create quotes and short extracts. You can then download the file and transfer it onto your phone to upload it. I prefer using the desktop versions, but you can just the mobile ones as well to save transferring it.
Or, another popular choice is writing it by hand and then taking a photo for it. Depending on your handwriting (make sure it’s legible) this can be an emotive way of getting across a point.
There are all sorts of social media platforms out there, best to name the big Facebook and Twitter here as well. Experiment and find which ones work for you.
There are endless possibilities on the content you can share here. You can check out the comments, to see what your audience is saying about your writing. You could do a requests post for ideas.
This is a great place to start sharing your writing. Most importantly, because the majority of the audience are young people like you. You know all about young people, so it’s easier to write about something meaningful to you. You can release chapters of your story that can be any length. They also have a range of opportunities for writers.
The stories are then ranked based on the reaction they receive. What’s most important here is the story itself. Most young people just want a good story, they’re not as bothered by the structure and advanced features of your writing. As long as it’s a good story.
It’s a great place to interact with your audience and see what they want. I mention the audience a lot in this guide and that’s because they’re the most important people. Always give your audience the content that will mean something to them.
Short Story Competitions
Struggling for ideas on what to write? Want to be rewarded for your hard work. Want to read your name in print? Short story competitions can be done through your school, or you can enter them independently. They’re advertised online so have a look at what’s near you.
They’re designed for and entered by kids like you. They can come in age categories so check the entry requirements to see which ones you can enter. What’s most important is that you get the skills. You get to learn how to write for a deadline, how to plan an idea, how to edit it to perfection.
And what’s more. You’ll get the recognition. I’ve been published in these competitions, and you can as well. You just need to write, submit and wait.
Section 3: Getting Paid
So you’ve learnt how to write. You’ve shared your content with the world. You’ve got an audience. But you’re still stuck with your pocket money. Want to do something awesome and get paid for your writing. Getting paid’s not just for adults.
Fiction vs non-fiction
It’s easier to find opportunities to write non-fiction than fiction. There are website blogs, adverts, articles, essays and more.
Fiction is more difficult to get into unless you decide to write a book. This can sometimes be the best option as you can write as much as you like each day. Book’s don’t have to be 300-400 pages, write for as long as you’ve got something to say.
Do a little planing before you start writing. Learn who your characters are. Work out the start and end points and then find a way of creating an exciting journey between he two.
Don’t plan too much though. Just get out there and write!
The rest of this guide is aimed at the non-fiction writing but you can still use ideas here for fiction as well
Most freelancer sites require you to be 18 or to have a PayPal account(which requires you to be 18). I had this trouble to start with but I have found two options which work for me below.
Freelancer is a service which you have to be 16 to join. People can place jobs and give a description and how much they’d like to pay. You can then ‘bid’ on the job saying how much you’ll charge and how long it’s going to take you.
Writing a short proposal is a good idea as well. This that comes up on the bidding screen where you talk about how you’re a good person to do the job. This can be scary at first, and you won’t be chosen the first few times. But stick to it and someone will hire you.
Fiver is another popular on which you have to be 13 years old to join. The site allows you to create ‘gigs’ which is where you say what you’ll do and give a price for it.
You could have something like ‘I’ll write you a powerful short story that is meaningful to your readers’. You can then set your word limit and a few other features and then you wait for[people to buy your gig. Here is my short story gig as an example
Don’t expect anything straight away
The world of freelancing is hard. It takes time to build up a profile. Don’t worry if you’re not earning straight away, or no one is following you or interacting with your content.
Writing takes time. Getting recognition for that writing takes longer. The most important thing you can do is stick to it. It doesn’t matter if no one is commenting on you’re writing. Keep producing it anyway, someone will comment eventually.
Don’t be an adult
Don’t try and change who you are to try and give yourself adult skills. You’re a kid. You’ve got a colourful personality which outshines bland adults who wear suits and drown in caffeine from oversized mugs.
You’re full of creativity and imagination and these are two things which writing will always need. Don’t try and act like an adult. Just be who you are as a writer. Who you are as a person.
Because you can do this. You can be a writer. There’s only one thing you need: