I love being a writer. Sitting on my balcony, wrapped up in a blanket with my laptop on my knees is one of my most favourite pastimes. And the more I do it, I find the more I love it and the more I learn. Over the past few years I have acquired many writing tips that I am keen to share with you today.
My absolute number one tip is write a story you love! In order for those words to flow out of you like rice from a punctured sack, you have to be passionate and excited about what you’re writing. Don’t let fear or doubt hold you back. Write, write and write until your fingers are numb and your heart is racing. What you write, won’t always be good but it will be written and that’s a step in the right direction.
My second tip would be to read the story out loud. It’s interesting how something sounds in your mind and how it sounds to the ear. You want your words to almost feel like a song; melodic, rhythmic and meaningful. If you feel like something doesn’t sound right or even if you think everything is perfect, still go back and rewrite. Changing one word could change the whole tone of what you are writing. I cannot stress how much I recommend rewrites.
Another point I stress is character development; somewhere I have stumbled once or twice but am finally getting better at. Your characters have to be real. They cannot all sound the same or like all of the same things. They have to have their own personality, a sense of identity even if they are still finding themselves. They need their own voice. If you can write a sentence that a character would say and the reader can guess which character would say it; you have achieved something great. You have invented a real person.
I came across a quote I really liked once which said “Write drunk. Edit sober.” I couldn’t agree more. Like I said, write until you cannot breathe whether good or bad just get it down on paper, but after that you must be ruthless. Take out your highlighter or get ready to press delete because it’s time to sober up. Take out scenes that add nothing to the story or the development of a character. Make sure you haven’t rambled on and on about the colour of the sky but at the same time make sure you have described it enough to paint a picture for the reader. I believe Dr Seuss said it best when he said: A writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.
I think all the above would be my top five writing tips for any writer; but the most important and fundamental tip running along all of these is to never give up. You can only get better. Don’t listen to naysayers or get bogged down in self-doubt. Just keep writing. Nobody can tell you what you can and cannot do in your mind. Being a writer is liberating. Your only limit is your imagination.