How to Build Your Confidence as a Writer
Whether you use it as an outlet for your inner thoughts and feelings or as a thrilling hobby, writing is a wonderful activity enjoyed by many people. In a recent webinar hosted by BeyondDreams and AsterLit, the esteemed teen writers answered frequently asked questions about writing in general and becoming comfortable being uncomfortable. The complete webinar is on the BeyondDreams YouTube channel, but here are some of the mentioned tips and tricks!
Finding Your Comfort Zone as a Writer
It is much easier to send your work to contests because you do not personally know the people judging your work, as they do not know the thoughts and feelings behind it. However, taking a leap of faith to share your work with people can help you improve your work, as well as give you confidence. To start, you can keep a journal, online document, or blog to document your writing. You can also build a trusting relationship with an English teacher. It helps to ask anyone since writing is meant to be for everyone. Although people like your siblings or parents may not have qualifications, they can still point out errors or give suggestions.
How to Balance School and Writing
As you grow older, trying to manage your passions with your education can become increasingly difficult. To maintain your writing hobby, write down your thoughts and feelings in passing free time. A few AsterLit writers advised writing your thoughts in-between classes, in the car, and other times like these. When you have a lengthy break, like after exam week or in the summer, you can look at everything you have written and formulate a cohesive writing piece.
Additionally, you can start or participate in a creative writing club at your school. You can write with people who share your passion while giving yourself the time to write without it interfering with schoolwork. However, it is important to always focus on your education first!
Tips for Sharing Your Writing on a Larger Scale
There are many ways to enhance your writing, even if you do not have the opportunities available to apply to writing competitions. First, you can join online writing communities, which allows you to submit your writing to their website or Instagram. Other online groups include Write the World, Wattpad, All Poetry, and Almost an Author. Write the World and the Young Poets Network also have a large number of competitions that you can apply to and they tend to show the work on their website.
AstroLit is a great international organization to start submitting your writing! They are currently taking submissions for their magazine and Instagram. They are relatively small, so you have a good chance of seeing your work featured! They also offer a monetary award of $100 to the winning piece of the magazine submission contest.
Additionally, you can find a penpal to mail or email and share your writing in a one-on-one method. You can also start a blog or write fanfiction to get all of your work out and see how much you have improved.
The biggest point in writing is that you cannot become a better writer if you are not reading and writing a lot. The best way to write a lot is to find a place where you truly like writing or finding things that motivate you to write. Another large part of improving is sharing your work. Although it may seem daunting or embarrassing at first, branching out by posting online, applying for competitions, or showing your work to friends and family is a great accomplishment in itself.
Things to Avoid
Plagiarization is a big no-no, but a minor version is more prevalent than we know. If you are inspired by any work in any way while writing, like taking the idea of something or reading a poem, you need to make sure that you attribute it in some way. When you apply to competitions, there is usually a section on the site where you can list items that you drew inspiration from. If you do not attribute the inspiration, this can not only disqualify you from winning, but it can even disqualify you from competitions for years at a time, which can set you back if you are trying to apply to a contest multiple times.
When you are applying for writing competitions, looking at a gallery on their website is helpful to understand what kind of pieces they like. However, if you are trying to write exactly like those people, it is not going to come across as authentic. Make sure that you tell a story that is unique and pertains to you, but this does not mean it has to be true to be original. For example, feelings in a fictional story can be authentic to you, but the story itself may not be true, or you may exaggerate certain aspects of it to get a point across.
Many times, judges in almost any competition (even if it is not related to writing) are looking for something memorable. You need to find a way to stand out, whether that is in your technical ability, your voice, or the topics you talk about. If they can remember your piece, it is more likely to win.
Writing is a great way to combine your interests in reading, language, and storytelling. It is a great way to give your thoughts to the world in a creative way. Opening your horizons by sharing your original work with the people around you can open countless avenues to benefit you. Finally, writing requires practice, so keep writing!