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Friday, 8 February 2013
Jennifer Lynne - 10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
by Jennifer Lynne
In the twenty or so years I’ve been writing I’ve come across some absolute gems of advice. Most certainly I don’t have all the answers – I’m still learning this difficult and challenging craft of writing and will be for, well…ever, I think! But here are a few tips that have really resonated with me over the years:
Write for yourself. Don’t try and fit your writing in to a perceived notion of what someone else might want from you. If you write for you, the story is likely to be closer to your own style and unique inner voice.
Write as often as possible. Some say write every day, but my life is super-busy as are many others, and I know it isn’t always possible. So write as often as you can, and I promise that it does become easier over time!
Don’t try for perfection in your first draft. Just get those words down and you can always come back later to edit. It is much easier to edit words already there on the page than it is to stare at a blank piece of paper.
Set daily writing goals for yourself. It doesn’t matter whether it is 1000 words a day, or only one paragraph. As long as you set yourself a goal that is achievable, you will feel good when you’ve done it. Every sentence – every word – contributes to your work in progress.
Create a dedicated writing space. This isn’t always possible, especially if you have limited space in your home (with children, for example!) but if you can, set aside a little space that is yours and no one else’s, and that you can use on a regular basis for your writing.
Turn off the internet when writing. Social media is a huge distraction – if you have to have your fix, use it as a reward for yourself when you’ve achieved your daily goal. Sure, you’ll probably need the internet for research and for developing/maintaining an author presence, but when you actually sit down to write, that’s when you switch it off!
Make writing a priority. This is where I went wrong for so many years. I kept waiting for life to move aside so that I could have time to write. Doesn’t happen. Life goes on regardless, and it is up to you to make the time. Even 15 minutes a day before you go to bed can make the difference in the end between being published, or just dreaming about it.
Read as much as you can. I’ve heard that you should read as much as you can within the genre you want to write in, but I’ve found that reading as widely as possible opens the mind to a wider world and different experiences. As a writer I find that invaluable and I read across many genres as often as I can.
Join writing groups. Writing is a solitary pursuit and to give ourselves a sense of being connected it is important to find and develop relationships with other writers. Beyond that, writing groups can give you access to newsletters, articles, workshops and conferences that can enhance your writing craft and build your skills. I belong to a number of groups including Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of Australia and many more.
Don’t ever give up. My sister went to a conference once and was told: “The only difference between a published writer and an unpublished one is that the former never gave up.” I took this advice to heart and just kept at it – for over twenty years! I finally achived my publishing dream in 2009 and have just released my sixth title. So for me, this advice was priceless.
I do have one more tip, but I know it won’t apply to everyone, so that’s why I’ve added it as a sneaky 11th:
Drink coffee! For me this is an essential element of the writing process. Part of it is enjoyment of the taste of course, but I think a part is also the ritual of making a coffee just prior to sitting down with my laptop. If I’m making coffee, it must be writing time! If you’re not a coffee drinker, try tea!
Comment for a giveaway
Do you have any tips for becoming a better writer? I’d love you to share. I know I only touched the tip of the iceberg on this topic. Those who comment on today’s post will go into a draw at the end of the Tour to win a digital copy of the first two books in my GODS OF LOVE series – PLATINUM PASSION and APHRODITE CALLING.