Ten tips for young writers

Read heaps. The more you read, the better your writing will be. You can read in bed, on the bus, on the toilet, at the beach—nearly anywhere.
Reading will help you describe things in new ways, because you will learn the meaning of big words like …
Procrastination. This means leaving something you should really do now, until later. And later. And later. Writers sometimes do this, because they don’t know how to start a story. Or they start and get stuck with what happens next in the story.
So, if this happens, just write. About anything. Take a character from the story and make them do something silly. Grow nosehair that they can plait into a braid. Wear a suit made out of envelopes. Write down what that character might do outside of your story. How do they live? Or you can get another idea from …
Your ideas notebook. Get a large scrapbook and fill it with strange newspaper articles. Weird dreams that you have. Funny stories that you overhear. Little things that you notice. Bits of books and movies and video games that you like. Awesome pictures. Those totally sweet ideas that you would otherwise forget (if you don’t write them down first).
Don’t panic. Writing takes time. It can be hard work (but can also be fun). Nobody gets it perfect the first time—not J.K. Rowling, or Andy Griffiths, or Matthew Reilly, or John Marsden. We all have stories that just won’t come out the way we’d like.
Perhaps the wrong character is telling the story? Or you aren’t getting to the guts of the story quickly enough? If a story is about a car crash, I don’t want to hear about how the mechanic serviced the car last week—I want the story to start as close to the crash as possible. Unless the mechanic did something to the car to make it crash …
If you still get stuck, imagine you are telling the story to a new friend. They don’t know you that well, so you have to explain things to them. At the same time, you don’t want to tell them so much that they get bored.
Sometimes, you have to leave a story that doesn’t work. Paste it into your ideas notebook and start a new story. There will be a day that you will think of the first story and go, “Hey, what about if the treasure chest wasn’t full of treasure? What if it was full of poisonous spiders?” Suddenly, you will need to rewrite that story.
Do a little bit each day. Spend thirty minutes reading, or working on your ideas notebook, or writing, or even lying on your back on the lawn, thinking, “What if the poisonous spiders had sixteen legs each, instead of eight? What if they were poisonous spiders from outer space?”
Good luck!
‘Ten tips for young writers’ was first published in Chopper Rescue.