Being a good writer doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Much like any creative trade, a writer must learn to come into their own shoes without much guidance… but that doesn’t mean you can’t utilize the advice of other writers! Try any or all of these tips to improve your writing skills from general conception of an idea to publishing the finished product.
Find Your Place: Remember that author you idealized when you were a child? Reread that novel, then read some more. A large part of being an effective writer is being well-read. Not only will the stories of others help inspire you, but you will also pick up subtle writing techniques through the examples of others. Almost every author has clear influences in their writing.
Be Flexible: If you really love to write about just one thing, that’s great, but you need to learn to branch out to other areas. Take on projects that force you to become more versatile. This will broaden the tools you have to be effective in any writing situation.
Make a Plan: When you’re finally ready to get down to work, write down what your goals are. What is your writing going to be about? What is the main theme? Is there a moral or general thought you want readers to leave it with? If it is a novel, write a general outline for how the story will go. Organizing your thoughts this way will help you figure out how your story is going to play out before you start writing it. This will make revisions much easier.
Always Expand your Knowledge: Whether you are a novelist or a textbook writer, knowing more about the field you plan to write in will only help you succeed. Read more books in and outside of your genre. If you are a fiction writer, try to get a first-hand look at the experiences you are going to have your characters have. Start a personal blog if it encourages you to write more frequently.
Cater to your Audience: Realize who your target audience is going to be. Will it be teenage girls, grown men, parents, pet owners? The list can go on. Once you choose your audience, you’ll know how to make your work the most relatable it can be by doing your best to really get into the eyes of the reader.
Be Precise: Simplify your writing. Shorten sentences. Remove unnecessary words. Don’t overuse adjectives. Find the perfect balance between description and action. Lingering too long in any one area can bore your reader and make them feel removed from the work as a whole.
Trust the Audience: No one likes redundancy. It wastes a reader’s time and potentially insults their intelligence. Don’t explain something too many times. If there is a suspenseful moment in your novel, hold back a little. Don’t spell everything out for them. People love to feel as though they’ve figured something out by themselves. With that said, don’t write a novel with so many loose ends that readers put it down feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.
Be Effective when Marketing Yourself: When writing a potential publisher, make your query letter as powerful as possible. Keep it short and to the point, but do your best to show them why they should choose your writing above anyone else’s. There are many resources online to show you how to write an effective query letter.
Know how to Handle Rejection: For any time an author is published, there are countless other times when they are rejected with little explanation. Don’t let this shake you! Continue to push forward. Some of the greatest writers had to deal with an abundance of rejections before finally being published.
Appreciate Criticism: Once you have exposure, people will undoubtedly start forming opinions. Some will be great, and others will be terrible. Don’t allow yourself to be hurt by the bad ones – try your best to pull ideas from the negative criticism to continue improving your writing.
Sarah Danielson writes for Landscaping Ideas where you can find information about how to care for your lawn and browse through do-it-yourself lawn care tips.