I’m sure that this has been done thousands and thousands of times, and that another one of these ever being seen will go unnoticed, but I figured I’d give my own personal take on it. Everybody has their pen opinions and things that work for them, right?
People always think that writing is something that only those who are talented, those who’ve gone to school too perfect their skills, and the naturally gifted, are able to do. Every now and then we’ll hear about a new bestseller from an unknown name, sometimes from somebody who’s only in their early 20s or so. Or maybe, an instant classic has been uncovered by an author who has long since past into the next life. Yes, it may have brought them fame, but it wasn’t because they just randomly sat down one day and pushed out a masterpiece in a matter of hours.
It takes a refinement of your ability, focusing on what you’re best at or what your interested in and improving upon it. For me, I found out I wanted to write when I was only into my freshman year of high school and I’ve continued ever since. And with that, I’d like to share my top 5 five tips to writing.
1. Figure out what you want to write
You can’t just randomly sit down and just put words on a page. Although you can just keep writing word after word until you have a nice length, it won’t always matter if you know exactly what you’re writing. Maybe while you’re in the middle of a free-write, you read the words and turn out that you were writing an article about your favorite restaurant, or it’s an academic style paper on how black holes form. When you’re ready to sit down and let the words flow, have some kind of ideas of where you want your words to lead the reader.
2. Know why you’re writing something
Let’s be honest: Some people want to write or publish a book because they think it can turn a quick dollar. Although writing can lead to profit, it’s a much more challenging project as a whole, requiring more than just an ability to craft a story. You’ll need to be able to set yourself apart from the sea of upcoming authors and a place on the best seller’s list. However, making a profit isn’t the only reason to write. Maybe you’re the kind of person who never see a certain genre and decided to write one. Or maybe you’re using writing as an outlet for stress. Some people even write just because it’s fun. Regardless of your own reasoning, keep it in mind when you’re letting your words out.
3. Keep your goals grounded and honest
In the beginning, having the goal of finish a novel in a month may sound an ideal goal. Some can do it because they have the amount of time needed to craft and complete such a feat. However, everybody is different and have different circumstances. Yes, it would be amazing to finish a novel, but think about your schedule: Do you really have the time to spend hours a day writing? You want to find a nice balance of responsibilities and free time that can be dedicated to writing. And that goal of finishing a novel, drop it down to finishing one page a day, or even just 500 words. Over time, you’ll realize that your little goals actually took you further than one massive goal.
4. Create the right writing setting
I’ve have dozens of friends and family members ask me ” How can your write when it’s so busy around you!” Truth is, when it’s busy, I’m just noting down things I can do for story ideas or just writing lines of dialog. I’m the kind of person who can really be focused with a pair of headphones playing smooth jazz while typing at a comfortable 40 words-per-minute. Now, that’s just me. There are those who thrive and feed around the busy, hectic life they have. And of course, there are those who can’t even get a single word out if it’s too loud. Experiment with your surroundings and see which one you’re most productive in. Is it the silent library corner all the way in the back, or can you down out the noises of a midtown cafe shop at nine in the morning?
5. Don’t compare yourself to others
One of the biggest reasons why people give up writing is because they’re constantly comparing their work to others. Comparing yourself to a bestseller is one of the worst things to do because it’s limiting your ability to write; you’ll eventually just end up copying their style because it’s easier. But never let that stop you. There’s only one you, find your own writing style that suits you. If anything, if you’re looking at other’s work, let it be for motivation, give you a reason to strive higher and continue to improve. It never hurts to have a rival that you want to best.
And there you have it! Now, I could have gone and made this list when further, but I felt like five is a good benchmark to at least get somebody started or help light that fire they needed to continue.
Do you agree with my list? Do you feel like something else should have been on it? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!
(P.S Peer feedback is always a good idea!)