I could’ve easily titled this article, “How to Become a Great Writer”, however, being a great writer isn’t really relevant. And, you know, as well as I do, you need to walk before you can run. So, odds are my blog article most likely will not hold the secret to literary success.
It’s more important to be the best you can at whatever you do, especially writing. Anyone can write a book. If you have a good story, a good imagination and are great at editing, you are well on your way to being a great writer. I also don’t mean to imply that with these three abilities alone you will be a great writer.
Here are some tips I’ve put together to help you hone your skills and put you on the right track to becoming the best writer that you can be, which makes you a great writer to you.
You don’t need to write in any certain order
The most important thing to do is to write. You don’t need to write your story from beginning to end, in that specific order.
Obviously, a story is meant to be read from beginning to end. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be written that way. Go with what works for you, just write. If you have an idea for writing the middle of the book first, go for it.
Then fill in the other parts and chapters as they come to you, even if you write the ending next and then the beginning. Don’t hinder your artistic abilities with a regimented process.
Have two or more irons in the fire
In regards to writer’s block, it isn’t a bad idea to work on more than just one story at a time. Work on the one story until you hit a road block, then maybe you’ll have ideas for the second until you figure out how you want to proceed with the first. This way you are always working, always thinking, always creating.
Don’t worry about mistakes while you’re writing, just write. If your word processor draws attention to misspelled words (a red line under errors), turn it off. It is much more important to get your thoughts down on paper (screen) than it is to edit the document as you go.
Even if you edit the content as you write it, you will still find more mistakes when you are doing your editing after you’re finished writing. Worrying about your grammar distracts your train of thought. It’s much more important to get all of your thoughts out, then having all your words spelled correctly.
Ask for, and welcome criticism
Toughen your skin, successful writers aren’t sissies, they are gladiators! Find yourself a professional writer or editor and ask them to look at your work with a critical eye. Watch out for friends and family because they will, most likely, not want to hurt your feelings, whether intentionally or not by telling you where your mistakes are and what you need to change.
No one is born with a silver pen in their hand, being a great writer takes time, perseverance and an education from the good old school of hard knocks.
I can guarantee that your first piece will not be a masterpiece, however, if you love to write and really want to tell your story, don’t give up. I can tell you this with authority because, as with most writers, I’m living proof of what I’m telling you.
You want someone to give it to you straight, no sugarcoating. Even if they need to be cruel, the important thing is that you get the point, make the changes and, most of all, learn from the mistakes.
Create your own workspace
You need a place where you can go that is all business, no TV, no radio, no one else. It’s trendy to take your laptop to a coffee shop and write. Being trendy isn’t going to get your book written.
It is much more important to have an area, or room that is all business. A place set aside for only writing and nothing else and your time spent there should only be used for writing. You need a place with a door to shut the world out for the amount of time you have to dedicate to your art.
Manage your time wisely
Set aside days and times to write and stick to them, just like any other job. To some, your writing time will be seen as “flexible time”, nothing could be further from the truth. When you decide on your writing time, it needs to be sacred and just as important as any other obligation you have in your life. Your writing time shouldn’t be negotiable.
By no stretch of the imagination are these six tips all you need to become a successful writer. Writing is hard work, don’t let anyone tell you any different. However, they will help to get you started on the right track and with patience, perseverance and a sense of purpose, you will become the best writer you can be. If you love to write it will come through on the pages.
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