Tips for Young Writers

Ideas are everywhere.

But sometimes they can be a little shy and elusive


You can’t force them to come out.

But if you sit quietly at your writing table they will come.

If they don’t then go for a walk or a swim, take a shower, sit under a waterfall.

Write down your dreams.

Take an interest in every facet of life.

Be open to new things. Don’t limit yourself by prejudice.

Be a private investigator. Ask loads of questions.

Observe things around you. Observe the familiar as if you’re seeing it for the first time. For example the street where you live, your school, your friends.

Go out to your backyard and observe. Watch Nature programs and see how creative and imaginative she is.

Watch movies.

Go to the library.

Put together objects that you wouldn’t normally associate with each other and write a story about them ~ mobile phone + toaster, icecream + glue, dog hair + an ice cube

Writing is not always plain sailing


When you’re stuck, go to sleep with a question on your mind. Quite often the answer will be there when you wake up in the morning.

If you’re stuck, put your story away for a week. You will then see it with new eyes.

When you have finished your story, put it away for a week, then reread it and edit edit edit.

Read what you have written out loud. Read it to your dog, your cat, your mum, dad, indoor plant.

Have a notebook or your mobile handy to jot down ideas as they come. It’s easy to forget them when you’re on the go.

I find morning the best time to write, the night the best time for a flow of ideas. Find what time’s right for you.

Have a daily routine.

Think of your life experiences, both the good ones and the bad ones as research for your story.

Write a contract with yourself. I wrote one for my first novel before I had any idea it was going to be published. It said,

‘I, Gabrielle Wang will have secured a contract for The Garden of Empress Cassia by September 2001. Signed Gabrielle Wang.” Then I put it in my drawer and forgot about it. And guess what? I did secure a contract on that date.


Build your story bit by bit. Write every day even if it’s just adding a paragraph to your story. In the process you’ll still be thinking about your writing even if it’s all in your subconscious.

Be nice to people. You never know if someone you meet can give you that one big break or introduce you to others who will. Don’t underestimate the importance of networking.

Set yourself deadlines.

Have a good balance between school, friends and your passion.


These photos first appeared in a short story I wrote for Comet magazine, I think the year was 2001. It was my second published work. My first published work was also for Comet. It’s a good way to get a track record by entering writing competitions or submitting your work to magazines. Blogging is also a great way to get your name out there and associated with books and writing.

I thank my wonderful pets, Deake, Milly, Tinker and Saffy for being such fantastic models.

And lastly.

You will have self doubts, they’re only natural and healthy. All writers have them, even the famous ones. But when you’re in the process of writing, actually putting pen to paper, or fingers on the keyboard, brush that bird critic off your shoulder and get on with what you love to do.

Oh and one more thing which I hardly need to mention.

Read a lot!

Happy Writing!