8 Writing Tips to follow

8 Writing Tips to follow

8 Writing Tips to follow 1024 766 Janus Education

Sure, the holidays are coming! It’s time to throw away the books and have fun! But hey, how about spending time this end of the year to write that book you’ve always wanted to write? Game for it? Yes, it’s simpler than you think. Just follow these 8 tips and you’ll be writing in no time!

Writing Tip #1: Put off editing.

Each of us works at writing on two levels: a creative, unconscious level and a critical, conscious level.
The unconscious produces creative and powerful words and images. It makes surprising and original connections. It shuts down if the critical “editor” part of your mind goes to work too soon. If your English teacher’s voice runs through your mind as you write, if you worry about spelling, grammar, or how to sell your book while you write, you are writing with a dull pencil.

There are many books written on how to unlock your unconscious and let the writing flow. Here are just a few ideas

  • Brainstorm words or images about your topic. Don’t stop to evaluate their worth. Keep writing down ideas. When you can’t think of another word, wait a while. Often the most powerful idea will surface after you have cleared all the less valuable ideas out of the way.
  • Write a page or two with your eyes shut. It doesn’t matter if you can’t read what you’ve. People listen to you because you are one who knows. You are interesting because you are interested. Your knowledge is a gift to share.
  • Write with music in the background. Experiment to find the style that you like. I prefer baroque or classical music. One of my young authors needed Justin Bieber.
  • Give yourself permission to be emotional. If your writing begins to move you, experience the full emotion. Before your writing changes others it would change you.
  • Edit your work only when you have drawn deeply from the well of your unconscious. Spelling counts. So does good grammar. They support vibrant writing. They do not create vibrant writing. There are a great many correctly written
    lifeless sentences.
  • The best writing comes to life, and then is refined just enough to make it crystal clear. First, give it life.
Writing Tip #2: Write what you know.

Given the chance, what do you talk about endlessly? What drives you to seek out information? What are your passions? When you write what you know, you write with authority.

People listen to you because you are one who knows. You are interesting because you are interested. Your knowledge is a gift to share

Writing Tip #3: Research.

Deepen the well. No matter what you know about the subject, there is always more to learn. Make sure you have the latest information available on your subject. If there are differences of opinion in the area you are writing about, acknowledge the other side. Your statements will come across more strongly if the reader knows you have addressed the arguments others would raise.

Once you write something, at least some of your readers are going to believe you. You owe them accuracy.
“Yes, but… I’m writing my autobiography.” Or, “This is my family history. I know this story like no one else.”
That’s true, but others have a perspective not like yours. Memories, even yours, can be faulty.
“Yes, but… I’m writing fiction.”

Okay. The details of fiction need to be as accurate as the details of nonfiction. Margaret Atwood won The Booker Prize for her novel The Blind Assassin. Her work is powerful on many levels. She took no chances with the details. At the back of her book is a list of acknowledgements 2 1/2 pages long: libraries, archives, museums…

“Yes, but… My story is a fantasy.” Even when you invent a universe, you invent it to be understood by earthlings. If you are going to have impossible things happening, you need to offer some explanation that will make sense.

Writing Tip #4: Use a structure.

For some writers, having a structure in place first makes the writing easier. These writers prefer to think things out ahead of time and then build it into a plan.

Other writers put down all their ideas in a glorious profusion of words. Papers may be spread all over the house, the car, the office desk, in fishing tackle boxes… These writers like to see all the material and then build the structure.

Both approaches work well, depending on the personality of the writer. Both kinds of writers need to end up with a structure that supports the reader’s understanding. I’ve elaborated on using SPACE in one of the earlier issues.

But there is no one right structure for a book any more than there is one right structure for a house. Some will be linear, and take the reader step-by-step directly through to a conclusion like a long hallway opening into an inner courtyard.

Others will feature a spiraling staircase that takes the reader around and around the topic, always climbing higher to the secret chamber at the top, or to the rooftop view where everything becomes clear.

The fair thing to do is to use a reasonable route to the destination. It’s unfair to take your reader up the staircase to the fourth floor and then to push him out a window so he can enjoy the inner courtyard

Writing Tip #5: Use strong verbs and nouns.

The verbs are the action words. They put things in motion. Make yours as strong as possible.

The verb to be (am, is, are, was, were) puddles on the floor. Eliminate it wherever possible. Nouns name the people, places, and things in our world. English has multiple words for almost everything. A male parent can be father, dad, pop, daddy, the old man, pater, progenitor, sire, begetter, conceiver, governor, abba, papa, pa, pap, pappy, pops, daddums, patriarch, paterfamilias, stepfather, foster father, and other family nicknames. Choose the noun that does the best work for you. Short words are usually best. They have more punch.

Writing Tip #6: Be wary of adverbs and adjectives.

If your verbs and nouns are strong, you can get rid of many adverbs or adjectives. Don’t know what they are? They are the “describing words” your primary school teachers told you to use to make your writing “more interesting.”

The boy ran to the store. The tall, tanned boy ran quickly to the store. The teacher gives you an extra point. The reader goes to sleep. Wake up your reader with “The skateboarder raced to the store.”
Be particularly wary of words ending with-ly

Writing Tip #7: Use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Yes, there is a time to turn on the proofreader in you . A book is like housework. No one notices when it is done well, but they see your mistakes clearly.

The guest who comes for coffee concentrates on conversation and a developing friendship–unless the windows are streaky or a cobweb hangs in the corner. She is polite so she says nothing, but her attention is divided. Those pesky flaws in your book will make some readers turn away in disgust. Mistakes distract even the most sympathetic reader. The reader does not necessarily even know the rule you’ve broken, but he feels uneasy.

The best reference book with writing tips about troublesome grammar, punctuation, and word choice is small, simple, and inexpensive. Affectionately called “Strunk and White” by generations of writers, it is still a required text in many writing classes.

Writing Tip #8: Show, don’t tell.

If it’s a sermon your reader wants, there are churches to oblige. What does it look like, sound like, feel like, taste like, smell like? When you describe a person or event, your reader is there with you. When you tell, the reader relaxes to the point of mental slumber.

Not sure of the difference? Telling: John was sad after Susan broke up with him. Reader: Yawn!

Showing: John shut his cell phone and leaned against the wall. He heaved a sigh and dropped his head into his hands. Hear the reader’s mind working: “What’s with John? Oh, I get it, he feels Susan let him down.” In nonfiction, details show; generalities or opinions tell.