In a world where many authors frown upon fanfiction or casual poetry, these can actually be a really strong tool for budding writers to improve their skills and put them on a track to become a successful writer. Both these forms of writing provide basic training wheels for budding writers to improve and eventually write their own novels.

Fanfiction teaches basic writing skills

Fanfiction is one of the easiest ways to get into writing because it allows young people to do what they do best: daydream. Because the TV show, movie, or situation that serves as the topic for a fan piece already has backstories, character motivations, character traits, and more, the writer can just jump in and put pen to paper. Planning isn’t as necessary and the story flows a lot more naturally.

Let your imagination run wild and you’ll often end up with an entertaining story with wildly interesting scenarios and characters. We all have daydreamed before and fanfiction is a really interesting and fun way to turn that into a piece of writing.

From there, writers can learn the basics and nuances of how plots evolve as well as the techniques of actually writing and formulating ideas. Many people can form the idea, but actually executing it into a readable story is a different story. Stories are difficult to write from choosing the right words to forming the right sentences.

Because we can now abstract away the characters and ideas, writers can focus on the actual craft of writing.

With a plethora of writing sites and apps out there, anybody can get started writing and building an audience for their works. Some can even be for very short stories or flash fiction so that it’s a less intimidating way to get into writing.

Poetry teaches you to think carefully about your words

Poetry forces writers to examine the structure, meaning, emotions, and metaphors more closely. Because poetry has to be so much more precise than prose, poetry helps to build wonderful habits specifically around diction, story structure, and more. Many literary devices that show up in poetry, while not used in prose, can be used to make prose sound more lyrical.

Many of the most elegant novelists wrote poetry as a way to train and express ideas.

Many writers are pushed to write faster and faster because novels can be lengthy and most aren’t patient enough to spend years writing. With things like NaNoWriMo, writers are under more pressure than ever to crunch work out faster.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Writers often need that extra push, but poetry is a great change of pace. In poetry, writers need to examine every word and make sure that the word fits. Even training the writer’s eye to identify opportunities and potential is important. If you need help getting started, reading classic poetry is a great way to learn the ropes and learn from the best.

There are also many poetry websites out there to get you into writing and practicing. Many writers there give feedback as well so not only will you get an outlet to share, you can also improve your craft. Many poets have built huge audiences through these platforms and even gotten book deals for their poetry and even their novels because of the audience they built.