Hands of White man typing script in document on lap top on wooden desk

Master Your Personal Craft: How to Be a Great Writer in High School

Do you have a passion for writing but too much on your plate to refine your craft? These are the tips you need to foster your talent on a busy schedule!

Being a high school student requires a lot of things, but above all else, it asks for your 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 As a young writer, you’ll be unpublished and inexperienced.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?

Pay attention in class

First off, it’s important to pay attention in English class. Unlike some other interests, writing has a direct link to school, making it possible for students to work on their craft daily—if you’re intentional about it. You won’t be putting out thousand-word short stories during your AP Language classes, but your interaction with writing terms, sentence and paragraph structures, literature, and general grammar practice can all serve as inspiration for your own work. 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 and advice.

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

Join a writing group

No writer is an island, and being able to receive feedback is an essential part of the process. So try joining a writing group to talk to other writers who get the struggles you go through with your 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

Make a flexible schedule

It’s important to understand that no writing schedule is perfect. Expect to miss a few writing sessions or not meet the number of words you set for yourself every week. Writing isn’t easy, and school can be unpredictable. Find which days and times of day work best for you. Morning or night? Three hours straight or small sessions throughout the day? Set 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.

Write across genres

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 or short stories. The reasoning for this is that different genres require different skills: 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 overall.

Related: 4 Ways to Improve Your Writing This Summer

Submit your work

Writers need to submit their work. This is daunting for new writers and asks you to step outside your comfort zone and do things you’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 toward teenage writers. Along with this, the Scholastic Art and Writing and YoungArts competitions are great places for emerging writers to get their start.

Related: How to Make Extra Money With Your Writing Skills

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 also earn money for college with your writing? Search for essay-based scholarships on CollegeXpress now with our Scholarship Search tool.

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


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


High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress really helped me by letting me know the colleges ratings and placements. They gave me accurate information on my colleges tuition rates and acceptance. They even let me know the ration between students and faculty and the diversity of the college. Overall they told me everything I needed and things I didnt even think I needed to know about my college and other colleges I applied for.

Carlie Cadet

Carlie Cadet

High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me learn about an abundance of scholarships available to me and my situation. I was able to do research for colleges in my best interest with your website. I've had multiple colleges email me and offer me multiple scholarships and things of that nature because of this website! Thank you so much for uploading scholarships I didn’t even know existed, even if my life took a huge turn and I wasn’t able to go to college straight out of high school. CollegeXpress helped me a lot in high school to be even more motivated to get into my dream college (which I did, by the way). I'm looking forward to using the materials CollegeXpress has kindly provided me for free to look for scholarships to help pay for college.



High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me by opening my eyes to new opportunities. I learned about such easy ways to get financial help to achieve my dreams while also learning about myself and who I truly am. I know this isn't a very long explanation of what CollegeXpress has done for me, but nonetheless, I believe it's crucial to how I developed as a person throughout my time as a college student.

Sonny Harris

Sonny Harris

College Student

For the entire year before college, I spent a lot of time deeply considering what major I wanted to go into and how to fund my higher education. After a lot of research, I came across CollegeXpress, which helped me ultimately find a ton of scholarships for which I could apply—and some of which I received! If it weren’t for CollegeXpress, I may not have found those scholarships as they didn't appear on any other scholarship search forum. Additionally, I learned more about the options I had been considering for my major through CollegeXpress’s resources. In the end, I chose to major in Computer Science, as it seemed best suited to me and the careers in the field seemed enjoyable, and I've never been more excited to move into my future! Ultimately, I want to thank CollegeXpress for offering their services. I received enough financial aid in scholarships to fund my entire freshman year of college and even got some money refunded which I used to purchase a new laptop, and I bought all of the books I needed for the semester!

Rhiannon Teeter

Rhiannon Teeter

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2012

I have spent a lot of time aggressively searching for scholarships. It was a long and frustrating process until I found the CollegeXpress network. This site made my search so much easier. With the simple check of a few boxes, the site sorted out scholarships I was eligible for and led me directly to the correct websites. Winning this scholarship has definitely given me and my family some financial relief, and CollegeXpress has allowed me to improve my chances of winning further financial aid. Thank you so much!

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Coker University

Hartsville, SC

Waynesburg University

Waynesburg, PA