It’s Monday and that usually means two things for me, a fresh new week and the chance to improve and do more than last week. I’ve spent the entire weekend looking at my writing system and trying to think of ways I could improve. Lately, I haven’t been too happy with the way I’ve gone about things and I seriously need to add some structure to my writing life, especially if my goal is to make it as a full-time writer.
I scoured the internet for the best suggestions I could find on improving and becoming a better writer, and put together 14 pointers I think would benefit not only me, but all writers. I hope this list is helpful to you reader and that it sparks the creative flame deep inside you to do better and improve!
My 14 Writing Tips
- Schedule your writing time – I believe this point to be the most important of them all and can easily be overlooked. It’s no good saying “I’ll get around to writing those 500 words when I find the time.” because life has a funny way of adding to that list of ‘To Do’s’ and before you know you’re out of energy and put the writing off until tomorrow, where you repeat the whole cycle again. Schedule in time for your writing. Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day in the afternoon, because you’ll never be a writer if you don’t get down to the actual writing part.
- Be disciplined, keep a journal – Setting yourself daily goals is a great way of keeping track of your progress and adding momentum to your writing. there’s nothing better than ticking off a goal and seeing your list grow smaller and smaller. Keeping a journal is a good way of recording these goals and allows you to see them from an outside perspective on what has to be done today. It’s also a superb way of punishing yourself when you don’t achieve any goals you had set for that day.
- Keep an idea journal – All writers know that ideas come at the oddest of times and it’s very easy to let those exciting ideas slip away to the back of your mind, possible where they’ll be lost forever. Keeping a notebook or journal handy when these ideas show their faces is a proven way of securing them down, ready to be used for later purposes.
- Take occasional breaks – Its easy to become so engrossed in your writing that you forget to eat or to even sleep, which ultimately leads to complete burn out. Not good for anyone. Remembering to take breaks in between your writing sessions and getting a goodnight’s sleep will let your brain recharge it’s battery, and allow you to come back to your writing space feeling relaxed and ready to write.
- Draft first, edit later – This is a point that I honestly find difficult to overcome. It’s so hard to write the first draft of something and have that voice in the back of your head telling you that you missed the ‘e’ in ‘house’, or how you switched tenses at least five times in that one paragraph. But I’ve learned a good trick that works for me; reminding myself that it’s only the first draft and that I will come back to it later. Eventually, the voice fades and you become one with your writing again.
- Find a place where you feel comfortable to write – I have a corner in my room that I call the Hub. Its next to a window where natural light floods in and I also added some of my own personal touches to my desk that make it feel like it’s my own and that I can focus here.
- Read – Reading is vital for your vocabulary and helps improve your writing style as well. read books of all genre, even those that you normally wouldn’t dare read in. Who knows, it may just spark an idea for that story you’ve been brainstorming.
- Communicate – Writing can be a solitary endeavour and most of the time your on your own tapping away at a keyboard or writing long hand. Reach out to writers in your area, join writing groups or take a short creative writing course where you’ll be surrounded by people going through the same thing as you are. Don’t lock yourself away from the community, we’re all here to support one another and hold out a trusting hand.
- Keep your ideas on lock down – Don’t share your ideas to friends, family, readers or writers until you have finished writing it. Sometimes, when we get an idea that excites us, we tend to share it before its ready and I belive this to be damaging to the idea. I don’t know about you, but I feel that once I share my ideas with someone it kills the element of surprise.
- Finish what you start – This is going to sound harsh but you will never be the writer you want to be until you finish your work in progress. Many writers fall victim to the shiny new idea phase and get caught up in the honeymoon process, eventually they lose their interest in their story because its challenging (P.S – every story is) and a new idea shows up and its starts all over again. Start. Keep going. Finish.
- Reward yourself – I’ve only started doing this point recently and I have to admit that it’s benefited my writing productivity hugely. Giving yourself a treat, whether its chocolate or a book you’ve been meaning to read, makes you feel that you have earned that treat through hard work and dedication. Setting yourself goals and completing them is also a reward in my eyes.
- Write everyday – Writing something everyday will keep momentum on your project and bring it a step closer to its completion. A little each day will help move your work forward. It doesn’t matter if you can only write 500 words a day, you are making progress and that’s what counts.
- Start before you are ready, don’t procrastinate – Holding something off because you know deep down that its going to be a challenge to you, will never get the job done and it will get you no where any time soon. The hardest part is starting, once that’s out of the way its hard to stop yourself. I promise.
- Belive in your work – This point comes from me and I swear by it everyday. If you discover an idea that sparks excitement in you that you can’t stop writing and you fall in love with the plot and story, don’t let someone else’s opinion on your story weigh you down and change your feeling towards your project. It’s impossible to please everyone and just because one person might not like your idea, doesn’t mean that the next will feel the same way. Belive in your work and it will show in your writing!
If you like the content of this post, then please consider following my blog. I update this blog every two days with new content such as today’s post and I’m constantly on Twitter! Thank you so much for stopping by and spending a little bit of your time with me! 🙂