l.i.b.e.r.a.t.i.o.n. theory

love, life, and the pursuit of liberation

Four Tips for Writers or Wannabes

There are many sites and lists about constructing the perfect sentence or developing a strong character. Instead, I want to give you practical advice that will improve your craft. As always, I’d love it if you shared your thoughts and feedback, as well as shared this with your readers.

Every writer needs mentors.

To be a good writer is to be a good reader. It is important to have mentor texts that emulate the kind of impression that you want to leave on your readers. Immerse yourself in the type of writing you admire. Ask yourself “Who are my favorite authors? What are my favorite books? What is it about their craft that resonates with me?” Study their structure and sentence variety. Study their voice and style. Not everyone needs to be Faulkner or Morrison, but we can look to our writing idols as guides to finding our own voice and setting our own bar.

Every writer needs a routine.

This is where many writers differ and have different approaches. Some writers find it useful to set daily word count limits, others set daily time commitments. Some writers work on projects start to finish; some juggle many different projects at once. Whatever your approach, there are some key fundamentals

  • Writing needs to be regular. The more you do it, the better you become—much like driving. Schedule writing sessions on a calendar, but be careful to use the calendar you access the most. If you constantly check your work Outlook (use the private appointment feature), your smartphone, or your paper agenda, that’s the one you should use to set appointments with yourself.
  • Choose an approach that resonates with what you do naturally. If you get your best ideas and get into your best groove late at night, don’t pretend that scheduling early morning sessions will be productive. Likewise, if deadlines and word counts paralyze you, don’t do it! If journaling and free writing gets your juices going, don’t think you need to outline and draft because a teacher taught you that’s “right”. Set goals and practices that reflect your best habits. On the other hand, if you’re the competitive sort, you may do well with creating timelines.
  • Check in with yourself to see how your routine is working. Don’t waste time or energy berating yourself for not sticking to plan. Instead, reflect, adjust, and move on.

Every writer needs an authentic audience.

Let your writing dictate your audience, not the other way around. If you are forcing your writing to be funny or dramatic when that’s not your authentic self, you’ll come across as contrived, and it will reek. Be yourself. When it’s time to market yourself, you will go through a process of identifying your target reader. Even then, be mindful of your true character and personality.

Every writer needs community.

Everyone may not make it on New York Times Best Seller list or even aspire to be. Still, it’s important to have an audience and peers, whether they be online, a formal writing group, or a collection of friends willing to read and critique. Readers confirm what’s working and resonating with your writing, as well as give useful feedback about what’s not. While it’s nice to have an “amen corner,” seek out people who will tell you the whole truth for you to consider.

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4 comments on “Four Tips for Writers or Wannabes

  1. C.D.Beatrice Clay
    March 24, 2012

    Death by routine! That is the biggest issue for me. It’s like I write all day in my head, wait that thinking. Ok so I think all day in my head what I want to write, but when I get to the paper or the keyboard I freeze or distract myself with twitter, facebook or whatever. I do love your suggestion of finding what works for you. Freewriting is home base for me. I start with my feelings and flow from there. I usually come up with these great stories, but then good ole distraction and her crew (doubt, fear, etc.) come in and sap my energy. I do get to blog and for even those few sentences I am grateful. I am also grateful for my writetoknow tribe and the world wide web that keeps us connected

    Bookmarking this post because it’s that good!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Weekend Review « l.i.b.e.r.a.t.i.o.n. theory

  3. Davina
    March 27, 2012

    Thank you! Scheduling writing time is going to be a must for me. Gotta get back in my groove! And your writing is inspiring me (and others), keep sharing!

    Like

    • liberationtheory
      March 27, 2012

      I’m so glad this resonated with you!! Let me know how it goes 🙂

      Like

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This entry was posted on March 24, 2012 by in improving your writing, professional writers, Uncategorized, writing, writing tips and tagged .

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