How To Have More Fun

I’m not sure when it was that I really was “out of practice.” But I’ve been practicing on and off lately and I am finding it really, I don’t know, fun.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a writer for the last 20 years, it’s that if you want a real problem-solver to solve your writing problem, you need to be practicing. Practice makes perfect. And because I’ve really been practicing lately, I’m getting really good at it and it’s really helping me solve more and more problems with my writing.

What are some of those fun things I can do to help me sharpen my creative writing skills?

1. Write a lot. Write as much as you possibly can. You can’t practice. I mean, don’t use the computer all day, that’s good, but make sure you actually get your writing done. Write a lot of short stories and a lot of short essays and a lot of long pieces.  The reason I recommend short fiction is because short novels take longer to write. A novel is also a lot more time-consuming to write, as we all know, and is a lot more difficult to revise once you’ve completed it. So be sure to experiment with different lengths, lengths that you’re very proud of and don’t want to revise. I also recommend experimenting with writing in an online reading form.  There are a few sites out there that allow you to read and re-read the same piece of writing to help improve it and get better at it.  You can usually find ones that will allow you to read and review essays and short stories. There are some good ones out there, but I just came across a site called The Paper Reader. It’s not as fancy as the ones above, but it allows you to do the same thing with a short story rather than a long essay or a long story in a novel.

2. Read. Reading is an amazing way to sharpen your writing. And while there are thousands upon thousands of ways to do it, when I first started I was struggling and a little confused, but now I get it. I’ll start with you folks. Here are a few places online that I really recommend. They may not be the most polished, but they’ll give you really good, easy-to-understand advice. The sites vary between short stories and essays to novels.

The most popular is a community called Literotica and it has thousands and thousands of stories. I’ve not ever tried reading any of those stories, but those are some good ones to read. Also check out this little site called Fictionwise. This is one that you can read your stories or stories you like to get feedback, but it’s not an online reading service. It’s a small, self-contained community where you can read for free. I don’t recommend it for anything else but short stories, but it does have some essays I like. And there’s one other site in particular that has been a fantastic resource for me, and a great resource for everyone, called Story Lister . Story Lister is exactly what it sounds like. It gathers all the best short stories and novels that exist online and allows you to read them on a website. I haven’t read all of them, but I have read a lot. It’s great for new writers, who may want to get their feet wet by reading some of the best stories, and great for writers who often just want something to read, and don’t want to be limited to one website (and to make sure you don’t get trapped in a website that you hate… if that’s a problem for you). You can find these links on Literotica, or at Story Lister.