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re: How do I discipline myself to study creative writing?

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by JesseRBassetti, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. JesseRBassetti

    JesseRBassetti New Member

    11
    +8
    United States
    Lutheran
    Single
    US-Democrat
    Hello,
    I am going to online college for creative writing. Is there an easy way to get disciplined in the art, so I can begin my college course? I figured since it is creative writing, this forum applied.
     
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  2. Ahermit

    Ahermit Active Member

    411
    +191
    Christian
    Married
    Find and stay aware of your reasons to love it.
     
  3. ReesePiece23

    ReesePiece23 The Peanut Buttery Member.

    +3,153
    Christian
    Firstly, remember that there's easier ways to make money - so do NOT ever associate writing with making money. If you do, you'll write impatiently and everything you create will read horribly. Love is the reward - and it's the only reward you'll actually want in the long run. Believe me.

    Secondly, it's a lifestyle. Wherever you go, the laptop comes too (and I mean everywhere). Challenge yourself by writing in busy areas like the city centre, a rowdy bar or a crowded train. Don't be precious and hide away in a room free from distraction - walk into the chaos, embrace the chaos, and learn to produce your very best at any given occasion.

    Have several files that are separate (and unrelated) from your main manuscript. Places were you can practise poetry, abstract nonsense and short stories. Always experiment with different styles and have fun playing around with words - this'll help you overcome any mental blocks you may run into later on.

    Sacrifice your pleasure for your purpose - now, this'll make sense the more you write when the blueprint for a purpose starts emerging. And when that happens, grind, grind and grind some more. Even if it means missing a party or two.

    Don't fear writing badly. That's actually when you make the most progress. As long as the message is in there, don't worry. Go back and tighten up later on - it's not going anywhere.

    Above all else, make it the bread by which you live. If you want fame, become a YouTuber. If you want money, invest in stocks. Just keep it all away from your craft - because it deserves your unconditional love.
     
  4. Nancy Hale

    Nancy Hale Member

    217
    +149
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    I've never taken an online creative writing course, but I've taken several actual classes. They are great! I allowed myself one English course a semester as my "fun" class. I think the last I took was English 236.
    Everyone has their own "thing", I like to make characters. If you have a great character, stories will write themself. Give your characters quirky traits and flaws, but give them adorable little traits, too; even bad guys.
    Just have fun with them, and your readers will too.
     
  5. JesseRBassetti

    JesseRBassetti New Member

    11
    +8
    United States
    Lutheran
    Single
    US-Democrat
    Thanks all for the tips!
     
  6. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

    +16,092
    Non-Denom
    Married
    Actually daily Bible reading does help to keep people articulate with words. (Such a blessing, also...)
     
  7. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

    +16,092
    Non-Denom
    Married
    Daily Bible reading helps, too, doesn't it?
     
  8. Shadow

    Shadow Active Member Supporter

    473
    +387
    United Kingdom
    Atheist
    Private
    First off, enjoy your writing. If you want to do something well, enjoying it is really the best reason to keep doing it until you get good. If you get bored of it or it feels hard, maybe give it a break and come back to it. If you enjoy writing, that will give you the inspiration to write things you care about and it will show in the quality of your writing.

    Second, keep a notebook or a journal and write regularly, say, at least once a day. Maybe set yourself a number of pages to do a day (or just one page) or a certain amount of time for writing (say ten minutes, an hour, whatever). It can be any topic and it doesn't have to be much- but just practice and make it a habit. It doesn't have to be good, but if you practice at it you will start to get better at it and learn what kind of stories you like telling and how you want to tell them. Having a notebook is really useful if inspiration strikes (and it often comes and goes when it pleases, rather than at will).

    Third, in terms of vocabulary, use words you are comfortable using and would use in conversation with friends. It is a better reflection of who you are as a writer and will "feel" more authentic. Using big words or obscure ones may be ok once in a while to add a little variety, but you want to understand what you are writing and be understood. Writing is about communication so it is critical to communicate effectively. It's easier to do it with words you are used to.

    Fourth, it is probably worth reading other writers, ideally people you respect or enjoy reading. It can be something fun but you can learn a lot from other writers by reading their books and figuring out their style. I'm not advocating out-right word-for-word plagiarism here, but don't be afraid to borrow ideas from multiple sources if you think it will work for what you are trying to do. It can help the creative process and maybe you take one idea from another writer and adapt or change it in to something new and more suited for the purpose you had in mind.

    A handful of writers may be classed as "geniuses" who happen to be the right person in the right place at the right time who come up with genuinely "original" output (e.g. Shakespeare being the obvious choice), but for the rest of us mere mortals labouring over our words, we shouldn't be afraid to accept our work may resemble those already written and to consider if other authors made mistakes or we could improve on them or try something different. The main thing is to produce the best work you can and to push your limits and explore what you can do. Never stop exploring or experimenting and be prepared to challenge yourself so you can grow. Making it fun means you more willing to invest the time in it to get better at the craft.

    As a final note, personally, I came to the conclusion that I write better on paper than on a laptop. There is something about the interaction between the brain and the pen which means you think more about your writing. Typing is quicker and more convenient, which is fine in the right setting, but for those reasons it makes me think less about what I'm writing. I find that makes it less creative. Maybe it will work fine for you but it is something to consider.
     
  9. ReesePiece23

    ReesePiece23 The Peanut Buttery Member.

    +3,153
    Christian
    Generally not. Good vocabulary is all about using simple words in effective ways. If your reader is having to constantly pull out the thesaurus just to understand a word, then you'll eventually just lose them.

    For instance, which reads smoother?

    "Tell me you didn't just say that" he said, as Faroukfarouk pinched the bridge of his nose with vexation:"because that's the last thing we need."

    Or:

    A crestfallen, doleful Faroukfarouk vociferated to the heavens: "no, tell me you didn't just say that" as he turned to face ReesePiece, with lachrymose weep and a solicitous pinch of the nose: "because that's the last thing we need."

    One of those would work well with 90% of the audience, one would just be shown to the wastepaper bin.

    Less is more, generally speaking. The plot is what sells, not the intellectualism.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  10. ReesePiece23

    ReesePiece23 The Peanut Buttery Member.

    +3,153
    Christian
    100%.

    And remember, that when this game we call "life" is over, both the porn and the king end up in the same box. Everything on earth has temporary value, so make sure that personal satisfaction is the goal that forever remains front of mind.

    Yep, I really have nothing more to add. Enjoy yourself. :thumbsup:
     
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