Some stitchers need a pattern to follow... and that's cool. BUT - there is nothing more freeing (and fun) than branching out and trying something on your own! Here are some helpful tips for getting started in creating your own crochet patterns.
1. Have the Proper Tools
To really get into the pattern writing it is helpful to have a wide range of crochet hook sizes and different types of yarn. Different fabrics hang in different ways, so it is worth experimenting to get the drape you want. Also - you might not want to start out on a first time pattern attempt with your most expensive designer yarn... save that for when the pattern is perfected!
2. Use Your Books
Having two different kinds of books makes pattern making/writing a thousand times easier! The first helpful book is one of those "answer all your questions crochet books." They can help you understand abbreviations or work out any problems you have along the way. Also, a book of fancy stitches REALLY helps. Trying to create a new stitch AND work it into an awesome outfit is daunting... let the book find the stitch for you.
3. Master the Increase and Decrease
At the very least, being able to increase and decrease in Single Crochet and Double Crochet will help you IMMENSELY. Once you get really good at that, figuring out how to increase and decrease the fancier stitches comes next and then... you can do ANYTHING! Consult your "answer all crochet questions" book for help with this.
4. Have a Plan
You don't have to have every single stitch planned out before you start, but having a basic design is going to help you out a lot. If you start blindly, you'll probably end up ripping it out.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Rip it OUT
Keep trying it on while it is in progress to make sure it is still fitting the way you like. If you don't like a section... be brave and rip it out. I know it sucks to move backwards, but you'll be much happier at the end if you take out little parts to make it just the way you like.
6. Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
See something you like? Try and make it! When I first started I took clothes that fit me well and stitched the crochet pieces to match the pieces of fabric and sewed them together... it guaranteed me a good fit and a style I liked. Of course... change it up to make it uniquely yours and just what you want... but having something to base your idea on takes the scary out of it.
7. Get Used to Disappointment
I know, I know... this is a downer tip to end on. BUT expecting your first attempt at a pattern to be just what you want is expecting too much of yourself. (And I do it all the time.) With each attempt, you fix what you don't like, enhance what you do and after a few prototypes you have just what you want. Even though it takes a lot of time and energy, the more work you put into perfecting it - the more proud you will be when it is finished!
Now... if you are feeling adventurous... go ahead and try out something you've been hoping to make... you can do it!!! Happy Stitching!