Featured Image

How to Be a Great Writer in High School

Pursuing your hobbies in high school can be really tough with everything else going on. For high school writers, though, it can be just a little easier. Here's how.

Being a high school student requires a lot of things from students, but above all else, it asks for a lot of their time. Classes, homework, studying, and clubs can easily fill up every hour of every day, leaving a student’s personal hobbies behind as collateral damage. This is especially true for student writers who, without school, might otherwise spend their whole days writing and editing their work. Personally, I would constantly find myself writing in between classes and in any spare moment I could steal. Balancing your writing life and your scholarly responsibilities can be a particularly difficult challenge, and even if you can achieve the perfect balance, being a writer requires more than just a schedule. As a young writer, you’ll be unpublished and inexperienced. It can be hard to know where to start and daunting to actually get started. So, how do you become a writer in high school?

Learn

First off, it’s important to pay attention in English class. Unlike other interests, writing has a direct link to school, making it possible for students to work on their craft daily. This won’t mean you’ll be putting out thousand-word short stories during your AP Language classes, but your interaction with writing terms, sentence and paragraph structures, and literature can all serve as inspiration for when you do write. Along with this, English teachers are notorious for encouraging creative writing outside the classroom. If you feel comfortable enough, you can always ask your teachers for feedback or advice.

Related: How to “Show, Don’t Tell” to Boost Your Writing

Practice

Next, make sure to join a writing group. No writer is an island, and being able to receive feedback is an essential part of writing. Some schools may offer creative writing clubs, but if yours doesn’t, local writing communities are everywhere. Check your local paper or online sources like Meetup to find groups in your area.

Related: List: Colleges With Great English, Creative Writing, and Literature Programs

Balance

Start by understanding that life won’t be perfect. Expect to miss a few writing days or not meet the number of words you set for yourself. Writing isn’t always easy, and school can be unpredictable. Find which days work best for you and then what time of day. Morning or night? Three hours straight or small sessions throughout the day? Make goals. Some writers work by setting a daily word count, others base it on chapters or poems completed. Again, it comes down to what works best for you. Your schedule shouldn’t stress you out.

Switch it up

Now that you have your writing schedule down, it’s important to not always write the same thing. For example, novelists will be tempted to spend all their time putting out chapter after chapter, but it’s ultimately to their benefit to invest some hours in writing poetry. The reasoning for this is that different genres require different things: novel writing will place more emphasis on character arcs, sentence variations, and being able to fill up a page, but the skill of making a point in as few words as possible—which is essential to poetry—is also critical in writing. Working in different genres allows you to improve as a whole.

Related: 4 Ways to Improve Your Writing This Summer

Submit your writing

Writers—even young ones—need to submit their work. This is daunting for new writers and asks them to do things they’ve never done before, like create a cover letter and personal biography—but it's the only way writers can become established. NewPages.com offers a whole list of magazines and competitions geared for teenaged writers. Along with this, the Scholastic Art and Writing and YoungArts competitions are great places for emerging writers to start.

Related: How to Make Extra Money With Your Writing Skills

Be patient with yourself

When it comes to writers, our minds often go to authors like William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, or Victor Hugo—people who are considered the greats and whose books we study  vigorously in our high school classes. We typically fail to remember that they all started somewhere small; they were once young writers, unsure and inexperienced. They started where all young writers find themselves today. Being a high school writer isn’t easy, but if you put in the time and commit yourself to your craft, anything is possible.

Did you know you can earn money for college with your writing? Search for essay-based scholarships on CollegeXpress now.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
books creative writing English classes high school writers literature poetry reading writing writing better writing contests

About Katie Grierson

Katie Grierson

Katie Grierson is a high school student from Nevada. Her hobbies include finding ways to write in between classes and cuddling with her cat. Her writing has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and she has aided in the publication of the Believer magazine. You can probably catch her re-reading Pride and Prejudice.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Lorena Bacallao

Lorena Bacallao

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress was the foundation of my college search process. Because of CollegeXpress, I was able to make a more informed and confident decision as to where it was best to pursue my higher education. I have recommended this website to fellow peers and for first-generation students like me. It’s a website I will continue to promote because of how simple it was to use and how many opportunities were offered to me at my fingertips!

Priscilla Yeboah

Priscilla Yeboah

None

Throughout my search for colleges I was afraid and timid, but I finally found the college that was fit for me, and luckily, I got accepted. One of the most influential things that’s helped me a lot was the articles and advice on CollegeXpress. It’s helped me a lot and benefited me as a senior to make the right choices in life. Thank you!

Keaun Brown

Keaun Brown

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2020

As I transition to furthering my education, I can say with certainty that it simply wouldn’t be possible without the help of generous organizations such as CollegeXpress. Those who initially founded CX had no idea their platform would give a plethora of information to a first-generation homeless kid native to the ghettos of over half a dozen states. Everyone at CX and Carnegie Dartlet gave me a chance at a future when the statistics said I had none. And for that, I thank them.

Khush

Khush

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress is a multi-maneuver platform that has been helping students in their college applications and scholarship hunt process. For me, CollegeXpress has been a boon. I've been able to find my dream university via CX, and I've also been able to apply to thousands of scholarships through it. All the thanks to CollegeXpress for doing such a great job for free. I express my sincere gratitude to you for doing such a wonderful job. I recommend CollegeXpress without any reservations.

Farrah Macci

Farrah Macci

High School Class of 2016

CollegeXpress has helped me in many ways. For one, online searches are more organized and refined by filtering scholarships through by my personal and academic interests. Due to this, it has made searching for colleges and scholarships significantly less stressful. As a student, life can already get stressful pretty quickly. For me, it’s been helpful to utilize CollegeXpress since it keeps all of my searches and likes together, so I don’t have to branch out on multiple websites just to explore scholarship options.

College Matches