Ten tips for new writers of any genre…
1. Even though this is the computer age, don’t think writing longhand has gone out of style. It hasn’t. Many of us still find value in the brain-to-pen connection. I’ve learned that writing in a notebook with a good pen stimulates my creativity and intensifies my descriptive abilities.
2. Find time to write every day. Let it be a joyful part of your daily routine. Make it — not a chore — but a much loved experience. Daily writing is the way to improve your writing skills and give life to your talents. It doesn’t matter what you write or how you write — it only matters that you write. Daily writing practice sessions are the skill-building experiences that will help you find your writer’s voice and increase your writing stamina.
3. Watch people, then write about your observations. By observing people and writing down conversations and your impressions, you get ideas for your characters and learn more about how people speak naturally, which is what you’ll need for believable dialog.
4. If you want to be a writer, writing is not just your job, your avocation, or your hobby. Writing is your life. It is that much a part of you. It isn’t what you do; it is who you are. To make it any less is to set yourself up for failure. And if you write with the intention of creating a body of work, some of which may or may not someday sell, you are already a writer. You don’t need to wait for the first sale to refer to yourself as what you are.
5. Writing is fun, and writing is a passion, but that does not mean that we do not struggle. Some days it is hard to know what to write next. If that happens, give yourself permission to write something that does not matter. Give yourself permission to write trash, or to write background stories using your novel characters that you know for certain will never appear in your final draft. You could write conversations with your characters. Or write an argument between two of your characters. And don’t be afraid to write anything. Anything at all. Give yourself permission to write the socially unacceptable, the outrageous, and the bizarre. And when you’re done working out your energy blocks by making a literary mess on your paper, you may find yourself able to return to your work, a freer and happier writer.
6. Believe in yourself. Don’t expect encouragement from others. That’s great if you get it but lots of us find that those closest to us have harsh words to share about our writing and habits. Don’t let that bother you. If you believe in yourself and what you’re doing you don’t need others to hold you up emotionally. You are your own strong person giving yourself all the confidence and sustainable writing stamina you need to achieve your writing goals.
7. Take a shower. Take a break. Take care of yourself, and take care of your loved ones. The page will wait, and so long as you are dedicated to returning to it daily, your work-in-progress will grow to become the masterpiece you intend it to be.
8. Words are the building blocks of your sentences. Choose them carefully. Sentences are the building blocks of your paragraphs. Construct them well. Paragraphs are the building blocks of your scenes. Spare your poor readers – don’t make them too long. And scenes are the building blocks of your chapters. Write enough of them, and you’ll have a full novel. It is that simple. Just write scene after scene, and keep writing until you’re done. Think of your novel as being a series of easily writable sections, and it will no longer look like an overwhelming scary task.
9. Writing is like a river – the words are ever-flowing. You may have heard of writer’s block, but that only means a writer took his raft out of the river. The solution is to get back into the water. Pick a thought – any thought – and write about it. Instant solution. No more block.
10. Don’t be afraid to share your writing with other writers. Joining a writer’s critique group is a big step, scary for some, but very necessary to development of your career. On the other hand, showing your writing to family members and friends could be the worst thing ever. Family members are especially prone to saying the wrong things, and unwittingly sabotaging our confidence. Other writers understand what you’re going through. Trust them to give you the feedback you really need to hear.