So, you want to be a writer, eh? Take a seat by the fire, grab a handful of biscuits, ignore the dragons circling overhead, and tune in to my top 10 writing tips 🙂
1) Write stories you’re passionate about:
Yes, trends are important in traditional publishing, but if you force yourself to write about characters or situations you don’t care about your stories will have less heart. Better to tell the stories you want to tell and write for yourself. Trends change after all, and writing is hard. By the time you finish that trendy story you forced yourself to write, the topic may no longer be popular!
2) Make time for writing:
Prioritise writing. Don’t squeeze it into every spare moment, make it a part of your schedule so you’re more likely to commit to it. Ignore Stephen King’s advice in On Writing to write every day, and figure out what works best for you. Writing every other day, or even weekly, is perfectly fine: There are no benefits to writing every day, and it’ll only stress you out if it’s not for you!
3) Create mood boards:
Collect pictures of characters and landscapes that remind you of your stories. Sketch your characters and make notes about them. Make Pinterest boards for your works in progress, here’s mine for Second Chance, and boards for writing prompts or other inspirations.
4) Do your research:
For historical novels, research the time period. For science fiction or fantasy, read widely within the genre. Watch TV, because it’s a valid form of research and inspiration. Research gunshot wounds, plane crashes, whatever it takes to give your stories a sense of realism.
5) Get writing tools:
To organise writing projects, check out Scrivener (or free alternative, yWriter). Word, or Open Office (like Word, but free), are best for word-processing. Google docs is great for working with beta readers. If you prefer writing with pen and paper, invest in many, many, notebooks!
6) Plan or Pants: Pick a side, or sit on the fence!
Experiment with pantsing and planning. As soon as you get an idea of a character or scene start writing, plot be damned. Or, pants half a draft then stop to figure out the plot. Try planning stories in detail. There’s no right way to write. Figure out which method works best for you.
7) Get inspired:
Look at pictures of people and landscapes on Pixabay. Listen to conversations, they can be intriguing and inspirational. Travel. Study history. Use writing prompts. Delve into your memories and use them to create compelling backstories. Inspiration is everywhere, so keep a notebook to list ideas!
8) Don’t let perfectionism stop you:
Let details slide during drafting, or you’ll become so focused on making your stories perfect that you won’t write anything. First drafts don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be written. You can put your high attention to detail and desire to improve to better use during editing.
9) You don’t need qualifications:
Writing qualifications can be useful if you don’t know where to start or want professional advice, but they’re not essential. There’s plenty of free information online, and when you build an author platform you’ll meet lots of authors and potential beta readers who are happy to help. Yes, I’m studying an MA in Writing, but I’d only recommend it if you want to study in depth or prefer structured learning.
10) Don’t be discouraged:
There will always be those who say nasty things, no matter how nice you are or how good your writing is. Once you accept that, it’s easier to move past it and pursue your dreams anyway.
Thanks for Reading!
What’s your favourite piece of writing advice? Chat in the comments!
This post is part of the Author Toolbox Blog Hop, hosted by Raimey Gallant from January-October. For more resources and tips for writers, from other hop participants, click here:
Next month I’ll share my top tips for editing!
My past posts: