Today, I’m sharing one of the oldest and most popular posts on Writing Forward. This one dates back to 2007, but it’s still one of the most-visited posts on the blog and one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy these writing tips and find them useful! Brian Clark over at Copyblogger issued a challenge to bloggers in the post “The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration.” The idea is to use headlines from magazines like Cosmopolitan for inspiration, and to write your headlines before composing your article. I’ve taken Brian up on his challenge and as a result, I bring you the “22 best writing tips ever.”
Best Writing Tips
These writing tips cover the basics and the most important aspects of writing.
- Do it. Write.
- Read as much and as often as you can. Remember, every writer is a reader first.
- Keep a journal or notebook handy at all times so you can jot down all of your brilliant ideas. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure it’s loaded with a note-taking app. A voice-recording app also comes in handy for recording notes and ideas.
- Make sure you have a dictionary and thesaurus available whenever you are writing.
- Be observant. The people and activities that surround you will provide you with great inspiration for characters, plots, and themes.
- Invest in a few useful resources starting with The Chicago Manual of Style and The Elements of Style (aff links).
- Grammar: learn the rules and then learn how to break them effectively.
- Stop procrastinating. Turn off the TV, disconnect from the internet, tune out the rest of the world, sit down, and write.
- Read works by successful authors to learn what earns a loyal readership.
- Read works by the canonical authors so you understand what constitutes a respectable literary achievement.
- Join a writers’ group so you can gain support from the writing community and enjoy camaraderie in your craft.
- Start a blog. Use it to talk about your own writing process, share your ideas and experiences, or publish your work to a reading audience.
- Create a space in your home especially for writing.
- Proofread everything at least three times before submitting your work for publication.
- Write every single day.
- Subscribe to blogs about writing. Read them, participate, learn, share, and enjoy!
- Make it your business to understand grammar and language. Do you know a noun from a verb, a predicate from a preposition? Do you understand tense and verb agreement? You should.
- Use writing exercises to improve your skills, strengthen your talent, and explore different genres, styles, and techniques.
- Let go of your inner editor. When you sit down to write a draft, refrain from proofreading until that draft is complete.
- Allow yourself to write poorly, to write a weak, uninteresting story or a boring, grammatically incorrect poem. You’ll never succeed if you don’t allow yourself a few failures along the way. Do not refrain from writing because you’re worried it won’t be perfect!
- You are a writer so own it and say it out loud: “I am a writer.” Whether it’s a hobby or your profession, if you write, then you have the right to this title.
- Write, write, write, and then write some more. Forget everything else and just write.