It’s been a long while, hasn’t it? Well, I’m back, and with some writing tips that I find very useful. These tips can help you write more often and better your writing, to be more and more like the professionals. For those who do not know, I start college in two months, and I will be majoring in creative writing to become an author. Hopefully I’ll learn many more tips in my classes, and I’ll be sure to share them with you all.
Tip #1: Stay positive.
There will be times when your writing will not go as you planned. Your characters don’t develop as you wanted, or your plot falls apart. This is going to happen, quite often, actually. It is important and essential that you keep writing, anyway. Finish the story, even though you don’t like where it’s going. Finish the poem even if it doesn’t really flow. This is the practice that will get you to where you want to be. Not all writing is golden and glamorous. But we need those failures to point us to our success. It’s that way in not just writing, but really anything. An award winning poet doesn’t just pop out of the womb. Nope. They are crafted with dedication, patience, and perseverance. So do your best to maintain a positive attitude and keep writing no matter what.
Tip #2: Read.
All the time. Constantly. Read all different genres, all different categories. Read Dr. Seuss and John Steinbeck and JK Rowling and Dave Barry and Shel Silverstein and Edgar Allen Poe and especially authors that no one has ever heard of. Read fantasy novels and non-fiction textbooks and how-to guides and children’s books and classic poetry and modern poetry. Pay attention to how different authors write and what makes their style unique. Capture some of their techniques and use them in your writing. A wise librarian once told me, “When it comes to sharing your writing, your ideas aren’t safe. That’s what writers do. We copy off each other.” The more you read, the better of a writer you become. Learn from other writers’ experiences. Notice what diction they use and in what scenarios. Notice the dialogue, or lack thereof. All of this is incredibly important and it will pay off through your writing.
Tip #3: Ask.
Never be afraid to ask for help. Have a friend or family member read your writing and tell you what they think. Have them look it over for grammar mistakes and have them point out error areas, places that don’t really make sense. Lost? Confused? Stuck? Ask for help. Talk to a teacher or friend or mentor or librarian or maybe try to get in contact with one of your favorite authors. Also, be sure to ask yourself these five important questions:
1) Who is my target audience? Does my writing suit that? When I was working on my story, Breaking The Code, I really had to focus on who I was writing this story for. A majority of the storybird users are in the upper elementary and middle school age, so that’s who I decided I was writing to. I made the main characters middle schoolers, so it would be easier for my audience to relate to them. But even with that, I had some issues. Even though the main characters were sixth graders, at times, they seemed much more mature. Throughout the entire story, I had to constantly think about if I was truly writing from a middle school perspective.
2) Does my writing make sense? Though this seems pretty self explanatory, it is still important that you address this question. Does your writing flow? Make sure you have smooth transitions and complete sentences. Address your use of punctuation, and make sure that it makes sense where you placed it.
3) Is there a clear plot? In order for a story, or really any writing, to make sense, there has to be a plot. You know, the classic battle between good and evil, a problem that needs solving. That’s what keeps people reading, keeps them interested. Details are important, but you need more, something that develops. Action. Dialogue. What are your characters trying to accomplish?
4) Do my characters change? It is important that your writing have character development.The main character needs to go through some kind of pressing experience that cause an epiphany and a attitude adjustment. If your characters stay the same throughout the entire piece, than what is there to keep your readers interested? Add mystery, intrigue, and discovery. Have your characters be an expression of you. Have them go on the adventures you always wish you could. Have them become the person that you wish you could be. Allow them to inspire you.
5) Do I enjoy my writing? Why write something that you wouldn’t want to read? Get excited. Write the story that you would want to read.
Tip #4: Don’t give up. I guess this is kind of cliche, but still as important, if not most important. Writing gets frustrating- believe me, I know. You can go months without writing anything, and writer’s block can have you in a headlock. But you have to keep writing anyway, even if you have no idea what to write about. Just sit down and start writing. It doesn’t really matter about what, just as long as your writing. I think journal entries are very helpful for this. When you feel the need to write but you don’t know what about, just crack open your journal and talk about your day. Write about the fears you have for the future, or the boy who broke your heart. If keeping a journal just isn’t for you, you can also write about the things around you. Grab a piece of paper or pull up a empty note on your phone or tablet, and just write about what you see. Perhaps you can write a letter to your old best friend. You don’t ever have to give it to them, but it’s nice to sometimes get all those feelings out. You can write about absolutely anything, just as long as your writing. That’s what’s most important.
I hope these tips help you! I’ll add more as I discover more on my journey to becoming an author. Best of luck to you all.