The Benefits of Embracing Multiple Forms of Writing

Written by Chantelle Atkins

I’ve loved writing since I was a child, but I suppose I didn’t consider myself a ‘real’ writer until I finally published my first novel in 2013. If you’d asked me back then, what else I wrote, I would have said nothing. In my mind, I was a novel writer and nothing more. In fact, I was rather intimidated by other forms of writing. The wonderful thing about writing though, is that the more you write, the more you want to write. Over the years I’ve become more open-minded and willing to try new things, even if they don’t at first come naturally. Here’s my run-down of the benefits of various forms of writing and why you should consider them.

  1. Blog writing – The thought of writing a blog terrified me in the early days. To me, it seemed a bit like writing a diary and publishing it online! I accepted early on that writers need a blog to help build an audience, but in the beginning, like a lot of writers, I had no idea what to post on my blog and felt a lot like I was shouting into the void.

    I feel differently now. A blog is a bit like your home, and I’d describe it as the building block for the rest of your author platform; something you will be building to and adding to for years. The blog is a landing place, where people can come to find out who you are and what you do, simply by clicking on the various pages you have on offer. They can find your books and links, your bio, details about upcoming releases and much more.

    To liven up a blog you could share extracts of your WIP, interview other authors, conduct character interviews, post book reviews, or blog about all aspects of your writing journey. Your blog should identify you and your brand. Blog writing is a different style, usually more informal with plenty of images included to break up the space. Experimenting with this kind of writing can be incredibly beneficial and help you find your individual ‘voice’ as a writer.
  2. Article writing – Again, something I would never have imagined myself doing. Writing articles became more attractive to me once I had gained more confidence with my blog. It’s a different style of writing and can differ wildly depending on the audience you are addressing. My best advice is to read plenty of articles from the publication you wish to submit to, in order to get a feel for what they like. Write notes, then add to them, build up a narrative and don’t forget to go over it several times, much as you would for a piece of fiction.

    Writing articles is fun, especially if you are writing about a subject you are passionate about. It adds strings to your writer bow and it aids your writing, as you learn to adapt to a very different style and consider a different audience.
  3. Screenwriting – I’d always liked the idea of screenwriting, and in fact I often write my books as if they are screenplays, imagining the scenes and the characters moving about and talking. I decided to have a go at it when I had the idea for a book in my head I wasn’t sure I should write or not. To try it out, I tried writing it as a screenplay. This was somewhat quicker than writing the first draft of an entire novel and it was incredibly fun. I read a few books on screenwriting and completed a free introduction to screenwriting course with FutureLearn. I was hooked.

    I think writing screenplays is incredibly beneficial to your writing. Even if you don’t intend on submitting them, it’s a great way to get the bare bones of a story laid out first. It can help you identify the voice of the narrative and the characters, and it can help you learn not to overwrite.
  4. Poetry – I’d always been intimidated by poetry, but just recently I experienced the urge to jot down short pieces of writing, mainly as a way to get them out of my head. These pieces were not coherent enough to become blog posts or articles, and not long enough or developed enough to grow into short stories, but I still liked them. And the more I wrote, the more came.

    I’ve since realized that writing poetry is a fabulous way to release your inner thoughts, feelings, and emotions. My poems are really a reaction to the world; random stimuli, something someone says, a song on the radio, weather, memories… They help me make sense of what I’m thinking and feeling. I feel they’re beneficial to my writing as a whole as they are helping me focus on the importance of individual words and the power of sentence structure. As I tend to write too much when writing novels, jotting down short poems is helping me to refine my word count and get to the crux of the matter with fewer words. They are also a great way to experiment with similes and metaphors.
  5. Short stories – As I tend to write long books which I then spend many, many drafts getting the word count down, I was never sure that short stories would be my thing. I liked and admired the form, I just didn’t think I was capable. It wasn’t until someone suggested the promotional tool of writing short stories linked to your novels that I started to get interested. Since then, I’ve had so much fun writing short stories. A bit like poetry, they’re a great way to practice keeping your word count down and making every word matter.

Although I still consider myself a novel writer first and foremost, opening myself up to other forms of writing has been not only fun and rather addictive, it has had far-reaching benefits for my writing in general, and who knows where it might lead next.


Chantelle Atkins lives in Dorset, England. Her debut YA novel, The Mess Of Me, deals with eating disorders and self-harm. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side series is an ongoing coming-of-age crime thriller. Also available; This Is Nowhere, Bird People and Other Stories, and the award-winning dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels. In 2018, Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature was released through Pict Publishing. Connect with her on Facebook.

 

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