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.
Do you think these are the very best writing tips? If you have any tips to add to this list, leave them in the comments!
This is a wonderful list of 22. I love how you’ve covered so many important elements but broken them down to simple rules to live by. 🙂
Be sure to re-read anything you wrote while “inspired”: it usually sucks. Your best writing is done with a cool head.
On #7, I’d add some emphasis: “Learn the rules and then break them. But LEARN THEM FIRST.”
But….there are no grammar “rules”, only grammar “guidelines”. History shows us different grammar “rules” have gone in an out of style over centuries…and ongoing!
Hi Kay. Actually, there are grammar rules, although they change throughout time. Grammar is fluid and constantly evolving. The way we construct a sentence today is quite different from a hundred years ago, and in another hundred years, sentences will undoubtedly look different than they do now.
Grammar doesn’t cover every aspect of writing, which is why professional writers use style guides that contain guidelines (as opposed to rules). For example, every sentence must contain a subject and a verb — that’s a rule. There are also exceptions to many of the rules. A sentence comprised solely of an interjection is valid, although it contains neither a subject nor a verb.
And we are all free to flout the rules as much as we want, but they do exist. One might argue that since there is no official body checking to make sure everyone is following the rules, they can’t be construed as rules at all, and I understand that argument, but there is a difference between what we would consider a rule and a guideline in the realm of writing.
Very nice set of tips here. I’ve been in this business for over two decades and I can attest to the fact that she didn’t miss a thing. Good job.
This a shoddy list. I cant think of any way this process and encouragement could actually better someone. It is treating writing like a job that anyone can be trained to do, involving only education and refinement of skill, when really writing is an expression of thought that does not require perfect grammar. If it understandable it can be proofread by someone who treats writing like employment. The author needs the ability to materialize plot and characters, even poetically. Just create great characters. Kurt Vonnegut has much better advice than this.
Writing is a job that most people can be trained to do. The lucky writers also possess some talent, but hard work trumps talent any day. Oh, and this list was not compiled specifically for fiction writers. I tried to put together a list that would be useful for a wide range of writers, whether they are copywriters, poets, or authors (fiction or nonfiction).
Thanks for stopping by.
Wow. Unlike a lot of advice I’ve seen about writing on the web, these tips are actually useful. ^_^ I’m so jazzed!
I’m working on a novel so I will be sure to remember these.
These are some awesome ideas and I am going to try and use them all , they are all very useful tips that everyone needs.
I stumbled upon this page and I’m glad I did. I’m going to take heed to your list 🙂
Great tips! I think that learning the rules and then breaking them applies to more than just grammar – it applies to structure, to headline writing, and beyond. Especially in blogging. Freedom, flexibility and creativity in writing are so critical, as is variety. It’s so easy when you write often to come up with formulas that work – and then stop looking beyond that for what could be better, or even just more interesting. That’s why I loved this challenge from Brian so much. Glad you participated!
The best book ever about writing is called ‘Writing Down the Bones’ by Natalie Goldberg. My sister gave me that Stephen King book, and it pretty much was an uninspiring mishmash compared to Goldberg’s tome. I’ve tried reading practical books about writing books and have come to the conclusion that the only way to make money as a writer is by writing a book telling other writers how to write.
Of course, if you’re more interested in getting a paycheck than in actually writing, then the “practical advice” including that in King’s book will work. But some of us long for the lost art of not writing either gory or tawdry bestselling fiction.
One bit of advice you do miss, and one that I find more than useful, is to complete your higher education. You don’t have to get a Master’s Degree to be a writer, but it sure helps to get your book published if you have a few letters attached to the end of your name. Either that, or be a celebrity.
Regarding point #11, it really does help to have other writers read your work. There are many writers-only community websites that don’t cost anything to join–Gather.com being one of them. I have learned more about writing from being in that community than by reading any book on the subject, no matter how good or recommended that book may be.
the list is really keepable in (at least) mind…!!!
I don’t want to offend an above commenter, but I completely disagree with having to have a higher education to write, as one of the above commenters said. If someone loves to write, then WRITE – don’t worry about your status in life. Not all published authors possess college degrees just as Bill Gates and many others also don’t have collegiate degrees. Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean you can write. Anyone can write. A rare few possess that extraordinary quality that puts them on the top tier of literary genius and those people were not taught that by any level of degree. However, a degree does help for technical and non-fiction writing or to get a job at a newspaper. I hate seeing people say they can’t write because they don’t have a college degree. I’ve read writing by people with college degrees that was terrible and writing by those without degrees that was some of the best writing I’ve ever read. When you have a pen in hand or sit down at your computer, throw away your social status, your background, etc. and breathe life into your story. Your actual writing will say FAR more about you than a title behind your name will.
I would never aspire to BE a writer, buying every book on the subject…you just DO it. Look for interesting stories to tell (they are all around you). Open up a local newspaper, watch people, become intrigued with people in the real world. A writer’s best tool is a natural sense of curiousity about the world and the desire to tell the story behind it. If you can drive down a suburban street and wonder about the lives of those behind closed doors, you have the curiousity it takes to write good fiction.
One great writer I’ve read said that if you want to write lyrical and beautiful content, read poetry before you write. For some reason, it works. It’s like it shifts the gears and takes your writing to a whole new level.
I get the feeling that you think if someone wants to be a writer that they should… write a lot?
Really fruitful tips……..Thank You
I agree.Good tips for writting.
God knows I had a hard enough time constructing this response to your tips without utter abuse, and perhaps I will never be a great writer, but I believe that your 9th suggestion is an outrage.
In fact, I couldn’t read past it.
Imitation is suicide. I don’t understand how you or anyone as an individual with a unique voice could possibly identify with the mantra that you seem to espouse in your 9th tip.
I’m certain, since you’ve read the “great authors”, that you’ve read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance”, but it may be worthwhile for you to revisit such an important expression in defense of the individual’s voice in order for to become a better advisor to young writers.
I agree with Matthew Ramsey on his main point. Imitation only serves to perpetuate the myth that the only writing worth doing is in service of the publishers and their egos as well as their bad taste in writing. Authentic authorship is not as cost-effective for publishers to promote as is “fast food” writing.
The sad reality is that people are averse to taking chances. So-called “revolutionary” writing is hailed when the only radical approach these writers take is to twist the same plot that everyone else uses so that it really isn’t all that different in a substantial way. The music industry is just as bad, asking original-sounding artists “can you sing more like Mariah Carey” or “can you play this song more like U2? (You can use whomever else fits nicely in their stead.)
Of course, we’re just hitting our heads against this new wave of intellectual fry cooks who would rather make money than create significant original writing. After all, there’s really no money to be made in being true to our voices when the same old crap sells. There is no end to those more than happy to write to the tastes of the lowest common denominator. The same is true of non-fiction as well.
This may damn me for an everlasting place in the pantheon of the shunned, but I couldn’t care less about that. Life is too short to write horrid fiction anyway, and the best authors are those who are better known a century after they are dead–another sad commentary, showing that dead authors who won’t rock the boat are preferable to living ones who do.
Cynthia and Matthew,
I appreciate your strong feelings about imitation. However, since nowhere in this list did I encourage writers to imitate, I’m quite unclear as to how you’ve both become so engrossed in the issue.
If one’s intent is to become a writer, then it stands to reason that one would make study of the trade, and in doing so, would read a variety of literature, eventually gaining understanding of what gets published, what sells, what readers enjoy, and what earns recognition and acknowledgment.
For those who want to make a career out of writing, it must, on some level, be treated as a business. Anyone with an ounce of business sense will tell you to do your market research.
This doesn’t mean you should sell out or lose your voice, let alone use another’s voice. It just means know what’s out there, if for no other reason than to make sure you don’t, unwittingly, imitate.
Cynthia & Matthew
Ever read Stephen King “On Writing” he suggests reading as much as possible, in fact he says when your not writing, you should be reading.
Earnest Hemingway & William Faulkner, ever heard of these men? they say he same thing, in fact Faulkner says “Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”
So, who is correct, Cynthia & Mathew or Stephen King, Earnest Hemingway, & William Faulkner.
I chose the latter three.
By the way, Cynthia & Mathew what have you written lately???? We would love to see it!!!
P.S. I know I am late to this post, I just discovered it, as I only recently began to study the art of writing
I’ve been feeling so dry lately when it comes to my writing. I’m twenty years old and I feel so inexperienced with life. But these tips are helping me revive my writing past.
At the age of 74, and with no college experience ,I am sure I will never be a ‘great’ writer. you have,however, renewed my desire to write. My passion is people and life, and writing my outlet. I want to touch hearts and make the world a better place,at least for some, or someone. I will write from my heart,though I know without the head there would be no writing. Whatever may be, I pray the world will be a better place because I tried.
Thank you for the inspiration to try again.
Great tips! Cosmo will be jealous…
I like what you said about Rule #7. Learn the grammar rules, and then break them.
The trick is to know how to adapt to your audience.
As Mr. Project Engineer, I spend the entire day writing dry technical documents that obsessive-compulsive managers love to micro-edit to half to death. This is when strict adherence to proper grammar and spelling is mandatory.
But, when I write as the Friar, I kinda relax the rules (like I am right now). It’s more fun to write this way even though it’s not grammatically perfect. It also makes my stories more readable.
If I wrote my Blog as Mr. Project Engineer, I’d have zero readers.
@Friar: I used to work as a technical writer and for years I did mostly business writing. Switching back to a creative mode takes a bit of effort (for me, anyway).
I agree….until recently, the only writing I ever did was technical. It’s painful, nit-picky writing.
This “creative” writing is completely new to me. I need to unlearn some of my old habits.
Kind of like trying to teach a draftsman who’s only used AutoCad how to paint a landscape.
@Friar: I hear you! It’s a difficult adjustment but I’m sure we can do it!
A fantastic site, and brilliant effort. A great piece of work.,
I disagree about the Stephen King book. He does not advise anyone to write the way he does, and his instruction and encouragement are not geared at teaching writers how to do so. King gives a lot of solid advice in his book. His recommendation to avoid deliberately trying to increase your vocabulary is among the best advice I’ve heard or read anywhere– no one can be a good writer using words he doesn’t know how to use properly.
You may not like King’s work, but he writes for himself and has luckily found an audience who likes to read him. You might consider his writing awful tripe, but it’s written for a little more than profit. If you have any doubt, compare King’s novels to Dean Koontz’s.
I also think it’s more than a bit hypocritical to recommend reading practical advice only if you’re more interested in getting a paycheck than writing well, then, in the next paragraph, to recommend having “letters” attached to the end of your name in order to get a paycheck for your crappy writing. Higher education is certainly valuable (I have both a baccalaureate and a professional degree), but getting your crappy writing published because you have a degree does not make your writing better than writing published because it is “gory” or “tawdry.”
Anything that helps a writer identify the flaws in his writing and work to diminish them is the kind of instruction that writer needs.
this blog contains great articles.
Why thank you.
You can never underestimate the power of writing poorly. I have friends who get so frustrated that their writing isn’t coming out well so they just call it quits. It’s important to remember that it might turn out bad sometimes, but you need to find what you like in the poor stuff and expand on it.
I think most artists and creative people go through phases where they struggle and everything just seems to come out all wrong. That’s why sticking with it is so important. Never give up!
Great tips. I really like the one about creating a writing space in your own home. When I had my own place, I had an extra room that I could use as a writing study, and it did wonders for my concentration.
Now that I’ve moved back in with my parents, it’s harder to find the space. Of course, writing isn’t about where you do it, so it’s not a big deal, but I’m looking forward to the day when I can have a writing study again.
Creating a writing space is probably one of the most difficult of all these tips because a lot of people just don’t have room in their homes. However, all you really need to write is a notebook and a pen, so your writing place could always be a comfy chair or a seat by a window with an inspiring view.
What a wonderful site so much information and simple tips.
I wanted to offer a tip of my own, for consideration. When I’ve written numerous pages at a time and I feel as if the ‘moment’ is passing, I like to have a cd burned with instrumentals of different songs to kind of carry the emotion over page by page, word by word. The classics, such as Beethoven and Mozart are helpful keeping me mellow and yet still inspired and of course if the story calls for drama, or excitement- I must have some Biggie Smalls instrumentals playing in the background. ; ) Hope that would help someone if they tried it.
When you can’t write anything, it means you need to read something.
I especially like rules 6 and 10. Strunk & White is indeed great! More extensive guides I really like are Sheridan Baker’s THE PRACTICAL STYLIST and Diana Hacker’s A WRITER’S REFERENCE.
Though not a Vonnegut fan, I can’t help enjoying an odd-sounding rule attributed to him:
Write like somebody else.
(This will have zero appeal to most writers of free-verse poetry, who think that the whole point and sole point is to express YOURSELF.)
I haven’t read much Vonnegut (maybe none), but I am interested in reading some of his work. I’ve eyed Hocus Pocus a few times and it’s definitely on my wish list! Wonder if I’ll like it…I do like “write like somebody else.” That’s a great tip for fiction writers!
Really very useful tips. Thanks a lot !
You’re very welcome! thanks for reading and commenting!
Some writing tips:
Writers always need to be true to themselves.
Write down everything.
Know your proofreading marks.
Take a college level or English Compsition course.
Yes! Thanks for adding these tips!
FOCUS on one subject or topic.
I almost included something like that, but then I realized that single-subject writing doesn’t work well for many writers. But if you work best when sticking to one topic, then you definitely should. This is why one of the secrets of great artistry is trying different methods and techniques to see what works best for you. Thanks!
Amen to #21
“I am a writer”
Amen and hallelujah!
It amazes me how many times people have to hear point 1 before they get it. The only way anyone succeeds at anything is by practising. If you’re not writing more than the next man, you’ll never learn to write in a more interesting way than the next man.
Even though we writers are supposed to avoid clichés, “practice makes perfect” comes to mind. There’s a reason it became cliché (because it was true enough to be repeated often!).
Thanks so much!
Great tips. My biggest problem is to stop thinking about it and just do it. Another tip, is to build a website about something you’re passionate about. To be successful you need a lot of content, so by having a website you have a goal and many pages to write.
I started my creative writing website a little over a year ago and have over 99 pages of content built, it’s a great goal to work towards!
Passion is crucial when you’re developing a website. I’ve learned that firsthand after several projects that I started never got off the ground. You know what they say: do what you love and the money will follow. I would add to that: if you do what you love, joy will always be present.
It’s true do what you love and it doesn’t feel like work!
“8. Stop procrastinating. Turn off the TV, tune out the rest of the world, sit down, and write.”
Translation: Get off of Facebook and write!
This is my biggest problem. Too often do I find myself wasting time on Facebook when my creative juices are flowing out of my ears… I have found that my best writing happens when I’ve turned off my Internet and given full concentration to my writing. …with inspirational music playing as well, of course. 🙂
Absolutely. Facebook and Twitter are fun and they can be useful as marketing tools, but mostly they are just time-sucks. I haven’t been using either very much for the past few months. I kind of miss them and I’ll go back eventually, but for now, I’m just too busy and I’d rather write and play music when I’m not working. Stay away from those evil Facebook games! They can be a writer’s greatest adversity!
Great tips. Having a blog has been the best way for me to improve my writing. I often need to go for a walk to clear my head before sitting down to write
Julia M Lindsey
Our Little Books
Walks, yoga, and playing music are the best ways to clear one’s head!
These are truly great tips. Number 3, about carrying a notebook is one of the most valuable. You never know what is going to pop into your head at any point in time that you might want to jot down. If you have a memory like mine, it’s the only way to capture things. I had a great idea yesterday but I can’t remember what it was… I just remember it was great. D’oh!
Also, as I get older, I’m people-watching much more than I did in my 20s and 30s. That’s where huge amounts of my inspiration comes from.
I agree 100%. I always have a small notebook nearby and keep them stashed in my purse, car, nightstand drawer, etc. Also, now that I have a smart phone, I can always use that to make notes or do a quick recording so I don’t lose my ideas. I used to call myself and leave voice mails if for some reason I didn’t have a notebook with me.
how can i improve my vocaaabulary and also how can i minimize my writing errors.give me some short cut ideas if u can.thanks.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. It takes a long time to develop solid writing skills and a well-rounded vocabulary. However, one of the best things you can do is read. Read as much as possible and read work that is well written. Look for work that is published by credible and reputable publishers – the literary classics, for example.
I believe the gist of what you have written here is the cataclysm of Matthew and Cynth’s above comments – “imitating” the literary classics. Of course, I could be wrong. I tend not to give much literary weight to the so-called classics simply because they tend to lack gender and cultural diversity. Are we saying white men garner the most (if not all) classical literary genius? (I have the same gripe with classical music).
Kay, I’m not sure what you mean by “cataclysm of Matthew and Cynth’s above comments.” I did not suggest people imitate literary classics in the post. I suggested people study the classics in order to understand what kind of works are studied for generations to come. Having said that, imitation is a sound method of study for beginners in all the arts. Musicians play other people’s songs before composing their own. Artists copy other people’s paintings when they are new to the craft. In writing, imitation would be a good way to learn about voice and style. And to be clear, I’m not suggesting writers imitate established authors in the publishing arena but instead in the field of practice and study. I personally never did that, and I don’t think it’s essential, but it can work as a useful learning exercise.
Also, I agree with you 100% about the lack of diversity in the classics that are studied and hailed as the great works. They do lack gender and cultural diversity, and it’s a huge problem. I was fortunate to study literature at a school where I had the opportunity to take courses in ethnic and women’s literature. It’s a shame these works are presented in separate classes, and frankly, I found many of them to be much better than the works we studied in the more conventional literary courses. This is actually a big peeve of mine as inequality rankles me. It’s something we need to work together as a society to fix.
I think all 22 of these tips are great, my favorite one is number 2!
Thanks, Becca! That’s my favorite, too.
Great inputs there again Melissa. I like numbers 17 and down. All the rest are experienced and precondition for the making of a writer.
I just ordered several copies of Melissa’s book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises for my grandchildren. I started writing a memoir over a year ago; Melissa has inspired me to stick with it. Melissa’s tips are helpful and inspiring. Writing Forward is a brilliant concept.
Thank you so much! A memoir is a lovely legacy. Best of luck in your writing adventures!
As newbies should we try to write like the novelists who churn out bestsellers one after another or tell a tale which our heart longs to convey in our unique style?Our styles may not always be interesting and I don’t think one should sacrifice the uniqueness of his craft ever.That’s what defines us but then,how to make our work more sellable?
Peter, I think you should write what you want. If you want to be a commercial best-selling author, then by all means, study that part of the industry and go for it. Personally, I prefer writing from the heart and stories that are more unique (and some of these do make the best-seller list). It’s worthwhile to take some time and set goals or decide what kind of writer you want to be. Style comes with years of practice and experience and is a matter of taste. If you’re just writing your first novel, I would recommend that you focus on getting it written and worry about selling it later. Lots of writers end up tucking their first novels into a bottom drawer and chalking it up to experience (myself included).
Amen to “Write”! I started years ago and allowed a couple of rather nasty experiences to stop and it takes three times as much energy to start (again) as it does to keep goint
That’s true. If you can form a good habit to write every day, it’s easier to keep going. I like to write (fiction) late at night and it’s getting to where I can’t sleep if I don’t put down at least 500 words (usually I get over 1000). Even if it’s messy, senseless, and I know it’s going to get cut, I have to do it. That’s a habit I don’t intend to break!
Am willing to be a best writer but due to social status am slow in achieving my dream.
One of the wonderful things about writing is that it’s accessible to people of all social statuses. Ray Bradbury educated himself at a local library and became one of the most celebrated writers in the world. Read a lot, write as much as you can, and you’ll do fine.
I respectfully disagree with you, Melissa:
One of the frequent and grave errors we (humans) tend to do is assume that if a few select of us are “successful” at (x) that “anyone” doing (x) has the wherewithal to be just as successful. This line of reasoning is especially prevalent when speaking of those who “beat the odds” of failure. Only in scientific reasoning is this flawed line of reason fully recognized: if you change one variable – no matter how significant or insignificant on the resultant – a different result will always obtain. In other words, no two persons share identical experiences (personal or external), so why is it expected that doing (x) will result in success for every individual (despite her unique life experiences)?
Hi Kay. I’m not sure what you disagree with. My article does not imply that “anyone doing X has the wherewithal to be just as successful…” These tips are to help people maximize their potential and increase their odds of becoming successful in writing. Studying strategies that have led to success can certainly help with that, but nowhere did I offer any guarantees, because there are no guarantees in life. But if you study, practice, and do the work, you definitely improve your chances.
One of the most important challenges before an author is figuring out how to enrich and add value to the audience and in so doing to stand out from the pack in a meaningful way.
I just love this article! I love it!
I generally will subscribe to the assertion in your tips especially the nos 17 which ponders on writing irrespective of whether there are grammatically correct or wrong,valid or invalid but the bulk still rest on the individual personality involved cos it takes a determine mind to still continue on that streak knowing fully well that his writeup are poor and uninteresting.However, like the aphorism entails ‘winners never quit and quitters never win’
I find it’s the best way to capture lots of ideas that are flowing quickly through my mind. Love the quote “winners never quit and quitters never win.”
thankyou! that was really helpful, im only young but i think writting and reading is for me as i enjoy it so much, you never know maybe i could be a writter some day, thanks again helped me soo much!
Just stick with it and see what happens!
Carry a voice recorder or a mini note pad with you so when an idea pops in your head you can instantly record it, or write it in your note pad.
I always have my iPhone on me and both the notepad and voice recorder apps have come in handy when I need to save some idea for later!
I am a writer. I love the sound of that and I love saying it to myself, but I always feel like if I say it to a stranger they are going to say yeah right! Lol
For a lot of writers, it takes time to get used to saying, “I am a writer.” But as long as you’re writing, you’re a writer, and you might as well declare it to the world.
Great list, Melissa! Although, the way I see it, one should be very careful with tips#9 and #10. Reading the works of great writers is helpful if only one doesn’t attempt to resemble another person’s style and doesn’t lose herself/himself trying to follow the beaten track. It is also a good idea to be observant. Outer world is a great source of inspiration and themes to write about.
Some young writers may actually be encouraged to mimic great authors (this is something painters do as well). It would be done as an exercise in studying the voices of important authors, and by studying their voices, aspiring authors can shape their own voices. If they’re reading widely, accidental mimicry shouldn’t be a problem. But writers do need to be self-aware, because if we read too much of a single author, their voice can get into our heads and then creep into our writing.
I almost never respond to blogs, but this particular thread has inspired me to write to you. I appreciate the original list of rules/ideas, and by extension, the pile of reaction/ responses.
I enjoy having lists to read to inspire me when I’m feeling flat, so, accordingly I have lots of them floating around which I will use to kick me back into gear when I’m uninspired. Or if I forget what I’m writing about.
Writing is my– let’s see, third or fourth career (this life), and I deeply appreciate any help I can get in trying to make it go; your list of tips is really excellent. Thank you. I’m going to recommend it to everyone who asks me what I use for my inspiration. Though I must say: having lived a life worth living is also really a big help.
Hi Jason. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about writing, lists, inspiration, and living–which is definitely a big help for writers, because it gives us plenty of material to draw from.
Definitely you should read as much as possible, but not just in your chosen genre. If you want to write fantasy, read history. If you want to write about spaceships, read stories about war in submarines, workers on oil rigs, ice road and outback truckers. There is plenty of real life experience out there that can be taken and adapted to your setting and characters
I agree, Jonathan.
Good article. One could even take the initiative to make their own blog to post their works and to gain a following; if one desires to pursue a career in writing even if it’s just freelancing.
Thanks, Ashley. Yes, a blog is a great way to start publishing and finding readers.
I think an excellent way to “learn” creative writing is to identify an interesting approach in someone else’s work – then write something on your own to reapply that approach in your own words. Repeat every day!
That is certainly one of many ways to learn new writing techniques, and a good one.
That’s great article. Really liked it. Point no 8 is very important …..Thanks.
Thanks, Anupam. Glad you liked it.
You had me at number 1 – Do it, write!
It’s the only way!
A great set of tips. Thank you.
Excellent share. Will be trying some of your tips next time.
Thanks! Glad you liked it.