Year 2014 is running to an end, and now it’s time to sum up this year and look forward to the next one. Hopefully, at least one thing—you being a writer—will remain the same, and in 2015 you will improve your skills in this field, finally finish working on a great project (an epic novel, for instance), or get your book published.
Below I’d like to share some writing tips with you. They should help you become a better and more self-confident writer in 2015. Whether you are an amateur who has started on the writing path, or a mature writer who has some experience, check them out.
- Do not compare yourself and your writing to other authors and their writing. Sometimes it can be tempting to compare your writing to something written by a younger and less skillful author; in this case, you will feel satisfaction from being great and awesome, blah blah. And now imagine you run into someone whose writing is much, much better than yours? And this will happen. How would you feel in this case? Ruined, I suppose. So, don’t compare; walk your own way.
- I like the advice given in the title of one of the books by Anne Lamott; the book is titled “Bird by Bird,” and this is exactly how you write everything. Word by word, sentence by sentence, and so on. You don’t write a book right away; you don’t write anything right away. You write in small portions, pieces, which you pull together later.
- Forget about writer’s block. It exists, but it is not as unbearable and fearsome as you might think after reading tons of posts like, “I have writer’s block and can’t write a single line for a year, what should I do?” Writer’s block is usually a result of perfectionism. We want to “have written,” and this “have written” must be perfect, otherwise we aren’t good enough. You know, diamonds originate from coal; through pressure and temperature, coal becomes diamonds. Writing is the same. Just write; write bad, write awful stuff, but write. For everything else, you have editing. And yeah, remember perfection is the worst enemy of good writing.
- Try to write not for a result, but for the process of writing itself. If you are an amateur—meaning you do not live on your writing—you have a great luxury of having writing as a hobby. So, instead of striving to finish a novel, publish a book, become famous, and so on, just enjoy what you write. If you are good at it, results will come on their own; if not, all your efforts will not be lost in vain. When you think: “I must write another chapter,” writing becomes hard work, which leads to writer’s block and other unpleasant consequences. When you think: “Hey, why don’t I work on my novel for an hour or so?” writing becomes a pleasure.
- Be yourself. Trust me, when you try to imitate or follow the style of a writer you admire, or when you try to sound like a pro when you are not, it is easily detected, and it does not play in your favor. Work on your own manner of writing, don’t copy it; would you want to use a copy when there is an original?
- Always seek for new life impressions. A trip abroad for a couple of days; a new dish you tried to cook yourself; learning to skateboard when you are a 50 y.o. “solid guy,” twice divorced, and your children go to high school; learning a foreign language; bungee jumping; adopting a pet; getting acquainted with a cute girl (or handsome guy) in public transport… whatever new thing you do, it stimulates your mind. And this is the number one condition for successful writing. A stagnant mind cannot produce anything worthwhile—you’ve got to poke it every day if you want to be a writer.
Have a happy New Year, and see you in 2015!
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