What Writers Can Learn From Shakespeare

By on June 25, 2020

Every good writer knows that studying the greats can help us understand what is truly important about our craft. Shakespeare is one such writer - and everyone who is hoping to write a book should study him. His knowledge and understanding of the art are arguably the most famous and influential of his time and still hugely relevant today.

There are a massive number of important and valuable lessons that Shakespeare can teach us. Here are some of the most notable:

Study your craft

Historians believed that Shakespeare was an actor before becoming a writer, and therefore would have undoubtedly learned stagecraft and the art of playwriting as he did. Notable writers such as John Lyly, Thomas Kyd, and Christopher "Kit" Marlowe were all around at this time, and Shakespeare could well have learned some of his techniques from them. He knew how important it was to write about what you know and study what you want to write about. If you don't try to learn, if you don't know much about the genre you are writing in, it is going to be so challenging to write well - and Shakespeare was well aware of this fact. 

Understand your audience

Shakespeare would have had intimate knowledge of the kinds of people that make up his audience. Because of this, he made sure that his writing appealed to them all. From those who stood around the stage on the ground to the noblemen and women, he made sure that there were elements to his plays that engaged them, made them laugh, or cry and characters that they could identify with too. 

Fall in love with language

The more you know about language, how you can play with it, manipulate it, and shape it into beautiful, hilarious, metaphorical, arresting sentences, the better a writer you will be. Shakespeare knew that finding the most impactful turn of phrase could take time, but he bothered to wait until the right words came to him, and if they didn't - well, he'd invent them. Many words that we still use today can be attributed to Shakespeare, such as bandit, dauntless, and even elbow!

Make them laugh

Even Shakespeare's tragedies would have moments of lightheartedness and quick-witted prose. His comedies were often laugh-out-loud funny and full of larger than life characters that could be sarcastic, dumb, foolish, witty, and full of fun that would engage audiences and provide comic relief even in his darkest plays.

Don't be afraid to try new things

Shakespeare stood out in his day and still stands out today because he dared to be different. He didn't start his career by doing so - instead, following safely in the footsteps of celebrated writers such as Chaucer, Milton, and Spencer. However, as he gained confidence, he began to come into his own and did something truly unique. 

There is no denying that Shakespeare is a truly remarkable writer. By studying him, his writing, and the way he conducted himself as such, we writers can learn a lot. Next time you are stuck for inspiration and looking for something to study to motivate you - look to Shakespeare for inspiration!

About Beth Cadman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha loading...