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Getting Started in Writing

For some, they start the writer’s path at a young age and it’s just something that comes naturally, for others, the journey starts later in life and can take longer to get started. There’s no right or wrong time to start this creative path, the important thing is, if you’re passionate about it to get started and keep going.

For me, I was one of those creatives who started writing at a young age, so it’s something that came naturally, however, I did take a four-year break and reintroduce writing to my life as an adult and had to figure out how to pick up the pen again. What made it easier was finding a group of like-minded people, attending some classes and events and being inspired again by stories and ideas. So let’s break it down and see how this can apply to you.

Find a Writing Group

A few years back I attended a writers retreat on Waiheke Island, it was an overnight stay on a Marae and involved lots of Maori culture as well as writing classes. For me, it was a win-win and a great experience. I sat in the Marae, and listened to other writers share their stories and their work and attended a couple classes that had exercises to get my brain going again. Completely immersing myself in the writer’s world for 24 hours awoke something in me that had been quiet for a long time and brought me back to the path of writing. For you, have a look in your community at different groups that might be available or retreats you could attend. A good place to start is Meetup where you can search for groups and see what’s available. Your local library will also have information on book clubs or writers circle so utilize Google as much as possible and you’ll certainly stumble upon something.

Classes

If you’re just starting in writing and want to know the basics, as well as get to know other writers, classes are a great way to go. Adult community centers or colleges, often run short courses in the evening or weekend and you can get the benefit of being taught craft while in a social environment. If you want to take it a step further, there are degree programmes for writing that go to the next step, however, is a big commitment! There’s also a number of retreats run all over the world that gives you time and space to be emersed in writing with other writers. Again, utilize Google and see what’s in your local area.

Piritahi Marae on Waiheke Island where I reconnected with writing

Events

When I was living in Auckland, the Auckland Writers Festival was the highlight of my year, it was around five days a week that was jammed packed full of talks, workshops, and signings. I often went on my own but saw the likes of Haruki Murakami, Roxane Gay, Carol Ann Duffy, Amie Kaufmann and many more. Seeing someone like Roxane Gay in a filled out auditorium getting a standing ovation is a sight to see and reinforces the importance of the written word and that it still has a place in today’s modern world. I encourage everyone to attend a literary festival at some point, the UK has heaps across the country and I’m sure there’ll be something close to you. Even if you go by yourself, everyone there is there because they love books and it’s super easy to start conversations and meet like-minded people. Events will leave you inspired and wanting to write.

Auckland Writers Festival Stage

Online Communities

Sometimes finding your tribe is easier online and that’s totally cool, because there are so many great online groups out there. The main ones I’m a fan of are on Facebook, particularly the Smarter Artist group – run by Sterling and Stone, who have a bevvy of podcasts for you to enjoy and a thriving and helpful community and another good one is 20booksto50k. Ultimately you’ll find groups to suit you and connecting with other writers digitally will be a good way to find people to offer advice and keep you accountable.

So there’s a few tips from me on how to get into the writer’s life, what’s your tips?

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