Writing tips are something you can never have enough of, especially when it’s practical advice. You’d think a lot of these writing tips don’t need to be said, but I think it’s important that they are.
Writing can be an isolating profession. It takes great gobs of time being alone and in your head. It can create a circumstance where it’s easy to forget what you already know and grow timid. Coupled with every writer’s private insecurity (terror?) that everything they write is complete crap that no one will ever want to read, it can get on top of you. I know, I’ve been there. I’m not any different than any other writer and it creeps up on me, too. But do what I do.
Don’t let it become your reality.
If you’re in it for the long haul, you already know these writing tips. If you find yourself feeling burned by rejections or you just can’t force yourself to stay seated long enough to get anything out, here’s your pick-me-up for today. I know others have spoken similar words, because anyone in the trenches knows. In no particular order, I can offer these 20 writing tips from someone who lives it.
Writing Tips – 20 Pieces of Practical Advice
(or A Shot In the Arm for The Downtrodden Scribe)
1. Write every day. Do it. That’s all.
2. You’re not perfect. No one is, that’s why there’s editing. Editing is how you create your perfect disguise.
3. Every idea you have is NOT crap. Lots of them will be, but let them out – that’s how you get to the gold.
4. Put the pen to the paper, dude. If it doesn’t come out of your head, you can’t sell it.
5. Take a walk before you write. Seriously. Go outside, see some trees and stuff and let your mind expand. Then reap the benefits.
6. Learn the grammar rules. You can’t fudge those, they are what they are. Editors and publishers know them. Learn them.
7. Read poetry. It may not have anything to do with your fiction writing, but will teach you rhythm and cadence and make your writing flow.
8. Stuck for a fiction writing prompt? Listen to a group of 4 yr-olds talking to each other. They haven’t yet had the creativity squeezed out of them.
9. Don’t let fear prevent you from submitting. It’s terrifying, but if you never submit, you could miss your chance to be found.
10. Think punctuation doesn’t matter? You’re wrong.
11. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Create it. Otherwise, you’ll wait out the course of your life without writing a word.
12. Buy a dictionary. Buy two. Get used to checking your spelling against them. See the difference from online dictionaries.
13. Have a sudden idea while doing something else? Write it down. You always think you’ll remember, but you won’t.
14. Learn to write a query letter. Learn to write a long and short synopsis. It will make the difference between selling and not.
15. Spring for the expense of a Writer’s Market every year. It will save you tonnes of hours of research.
16. Don’t undersell yourself in your desire to work freelance. You’re worth more than pennies for a decent content article.
17. Read, read, read, READ. The more words you put in your head, the more you expand your bag of tricks.
18. Study people–how they move, their mannerisms, their facial expressions, their reactions. It all adds to your personal store to draw on.
19. Working freelance? Keep to a schedule every day. Without it, it’s too easy to fall into the writer’s trap of perpetual procrastination.
20. Promote yourself. Writers are the worst at it. Remember, if no one knows who you are, they can’t find you to buy your writing.