creative writing
Coffee, Pen, Blog Notebook CC ©

Coffee, Pen, Blog Notebook CC

They say everybody has a novel in them... but it can be hard to know where to start if you’ve never written anything before.

At the British Council Library we’ve got everything you need to inspire your writing, from the best works of literature from around the world, to writing guides, digital resources and more.

To get the creative juices flowing, we’ve got some top tips for budding writers:

1. Everybody has a story to tell

Your story is important. Storytelling is how, as a species, we understand ourselves and each other. By telling our stories we can share insight, wisdom, humour, pain, loss and more.

One useful thing to remember is that in the specific is the universal. By showing us your world, your point of view, your story, other people will connect with it, since we all share a common humanity.

Remember: you have a story that is worth telling, whether it is big or small. So tell it!

2. Don’t get it right, get it written!

There is always that stage when you start writing where, after the first few pages have come out in an exciting flurry, things start to get difficult. Maybe you realise your plotting has become inconsistent, or you’re not sure where to go next with a particular character.

You have to remember, this happens to everybody, and it is not a sign you should give up!

Get your idea written! You can’t do anything with a blank page, but if you at least get the words out, you can rework them into something brilliant!

3. Turn up!

While writing can be a fun hobby, it is also hard work at times. It’s important to remember that quiet time at the desk is what will get your novel completed, not talking about it!

It can be useful to think of time working on your novel as the same as turning up to work. You’d never simply not show up! Likewise, with writing, show up for yourself.

4. Write what you would want to read

It’s an easy trap to fall into, to try to write what you think people will want to read, or what you think will be a hit. Trends change so quickly that, if you try too hard to capture the zeitgeist, that it may be too late.

Be interested, not interesting. Write what interests you: a story that you are willing to spend months thinking about, researching and fleshing out.

5. Write what you know AND what you don’t know!

The phrase ‘write what you know’ gets bandied about a lot, and there is some truth to it.

At the same time, writing can be a wonderful and vital way of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, so don’t underestimate the power (and enjoyment) of exploring other people, ways of life and worlds.

See also