Young Writers’ Survival Guide

Heading out into the wilderness that is creative writing? It’s easy to get started, but it’s just as easy to get lost in if you don’t have a guide. Never fear, the library is here to help! We’ve pulled together tips, prompts, resources, and classes to help you survive your writing adventure.

What to pack

Visit www.epl.ca for all the writing classes and resources you might need to prepare you for your journey. Gale Coursesopens a new window offer a wide range of six-week creative writing classes on a variety of topics including how to write mystery, romance, fantasy and YA, just to name a few. And if you’re interested in brushing up on the nuts and bolts of writing, Lynda.comopens a new window offers video tutorials on everything from grammar and editing to writing a speeches, journal articles, or a killer resume.

The internet is full of writing resources that you could take with you on your writing adventure. The NaNoWriMo Young Writers’ Program offers a wealth of resources for writers under 18. Download their NaNo Prep 101 six-week workshop and resource guideopens a new window, visit the forumsopens a new window to ask advice of other young writers like yourself, or check out the NaNo Writing Hubopens a new window for pep talks, writing contests, videos and more!

And if you’re interested in getting writing advice from local Albertan authors, tune into the YABS TV channel on YouTubeopens a new window. YABS (The Young Alberta Book Society) has collaborated with writers such as Marty Chan, Natasha Deen, Joan Marie Galat, and Katherine Koller (just to name a few!) to create dozens of short videos to inspire and support young writers.

Where to start

All you really need is a pencil and paper to start you on your writing path, but if a screen and keyboard is more your jam, then online word processing software such as Google Docsopens a new window is a great place to start. You can access your files anywhere, on any device, and it auto-saves for you so you won’t lose your work should your battery die!

If you don’t have consistent access to the internet, then you’ll want to make sure you have a word processor on your computer that doesn’t live in the cloud. Most come with a basic notepad software that you can use to get started, but if you’re able to connect to the internet for long enough to download something, then FocusWriteropens a new window is a fun alternative to a regular word processor. It’s a free software that lets you set writing goals, a timer, and even comes with optional typewriter sound effects for that retro-cool vibe.

What to do if you get lost

Lost the path and are not sure how to get back on it? Written yourself into a corner? Come up against a wall? Staff of EPL have created a list of writing prompts to help kickstart your imagination.

What next?

If you’ve completed your hike and are ready to, metaphorically, set up camp, there are a lot of ways for you to get your work into the hands of readers. Blogs are a great way to get started and Lynda.comopens a new window has tutorials on how to set up a WordPress websiteopens a new window. If you’re looking for a more hands on approach to publishing, visit CreativeBugopens a new window, one of EPL’s newest databases, for tutorials on zine making, scrapbooking, and book binding.

There is an infinite number of roads you may follow on your writing expedition. We hope these resources will help you navigate your own path on the creative writing trail and guide you toward your destination, whatever that may be.

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