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Writing Tips

Top ten writing tips for aspiring writers

You’ve been writing for years, or you're just starting out. Either way, you're ready to take it to the next level. Let’s say, you write poems and your friends think they’re great! Why not let the world see what you’ve created? How about those short stories you’ve written, or that novel manuscript that’s collecting dust in your closet? You don’t have to have a literature, or creative writing degree under your belt to write a good book, short story, or poem. All you need is the desire, a good premise, and a few helpful tips to get those creative juices flowing. These are the top ten writing tips that helped me through every writing process.

1. Read a lot

Not only will you better your writing skills by reading other authors works, but the genre you read most often may be the genre you want to write. I personally write YA novels because I enjoy reading them. What you read most, will likely be what you write about. (which leads us to the next tip)

2. Write what you know

I’ve heard this about a million times, and here is my take. First, it's about life experience; the grief, happiness, and the romance you've encountered throughout your life. If you write with the passion of a lifetime, it will show in your words.

Second, If you write about the Ohio River, you better know every state it flows through, its greatest depth, its widest point, and anything else pertinent to your story. In other words, if you don’t know, do research. Readers are savvy customers and they will call you out if you are wrong. You want to take your reader away from their stressful, routine, or hard-working lives and plant them in an exciting new environment. If you skimp, they will know it. 

 3. Break the rules

So, you know the rules of writing, but do you know when to break those rules? And you should! For instance: The poison locked the screams in her swelling throat as she crawled unsteady across the hardwood floor. Her hand trembled as she tried, in despair, to reach for the doorknob. But her attempt was as empty as her eyes, and a long, rattling breath slipped over her lips.”

(she died of course) Using “but” and “and” conjunctions to start a sentence is becoming more acceptable, but don’t make a habit of it. Use them for transition, dramatic effect, or to show conflict and emotion. Too many will only take away from your writing and leave choppy sentences.

Forget grammar when it comes to character building

Write for your character, not for grammar sake. If you have a character that is off the "grammatically correct" beaten path and uses words such as: ain't, cause, bro, etc... Use them, don't shy away. If it defines your character, the reader needs to see that, and stick with it throughout your project. If your character suddenly uses correct grammar out of the blue, readers will catch it.

4. Avoid long run-on sentences

No one wants to read a book full of long wordy sentences; mix it up. However, if the sentence is structured well and makes perfect sense, keep it, but don’t place them back to back. Also, keep in mind, if all your sentences are short, you might come across like a third grader. Scatter long and short sentences throughout your work. Not only will it give the reader a rest here and there, but it makes for a better reading experience.

 5. Write every day

There is no better way to improve your writing skills than writing. (besides reading, which helped me tremendously) Even if you don’t feel like writing, make an effort to set time out of your day to write. Set an alarm clock for thirty minutes, and give writing your full attention. When the alarm sounds, quit if you want, but hopefully, you will have gotten those creative juices pumping. 

Writing tips
Make writing fun

 6. Save editing until the end

Personally, if I stop to correct punctuation, I lose train of thought. You don’t want that. Correcting errors while you write can deplete your motivation. Keep your train of thought flowing and leave the editing for when you are done. On another note, it's best to have more content while your writing. Editing will take care of the parts that don't work. Having to add content during the editing process will cause you a lot of extra work. So, put the details in from the beginning and save yourself some time.

 7. Write with a deadline in mind

Before you sit down to write, pretend your book must be completed by such-in-such date. This way, you’ve given yourself a finish-by-date, and stick to it. Don’t be in too big of a hurry; make sure you’ve allotted the proper amount of time to complete it. Novels are not written overnight. Some people take years to complete their books while others can complete them in mere months. You know your work speed, so set your completion date accordingly.

8. Choose your words carefully

If you are going to write something you want the world to see, don’t scrimp on chintzy words. Use powerful, eye-catching words in your manuscript to keep the reader engaged. But don’t choose words no one understands. You should know your target audience, and choosing the right words are very Important. For instance: you wouldn’t use diaphoresis in place of sweating. Yeah, that one is a bit extreme, but you get the picture. If you are targeting fourteen-year-olds, use words that would appeal to them. Here is my power words list.

9. Trust in others critiques

Write a couple of chapters and give them to a few trusted people you know, and ask for honest opinions and feedback. What they say, may be the insight you need to continue or scrap it. But don't trust one opinion, get several. Who wants to have a completed manuscript only to find it’s a dead topic, or concept.

Critiquing sites like, Agent Query Connect (AQC) allows you to place 250 words of your writing on a special forum and other writers will critique them for you. But don't forget to pay it forward, those writers are there for the same reason as you. Either way, it’s important to get feedback sooner than later.

 10. Stay positive

Many times writers become blocked; they lose inspiration or become stuck in a writing rut. My advice, walk away for a day or even two. Whatever it takes to get you back on track. Do something you love. For example, you could go hiking; catch the latest movie at the theater, or listen to your favorite songs. Ask yourself, what inspires me? Then answer your question by doing just that. See more on: Get out of that dreaded writing slump. The Southern Blogger.

I hope these tips will help you. They played a huge role in my life for many years, and I learned the hard way. Maybe you won’t have to. Good luck and write on!

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