Let’s face it – we all love them. They teach, develop and inspire. Without unnecessary preface, this is my subjective collection of tips for novice writers.
1. Write for fun.
The fun of writing is pretty obvious when we’re kids, but for adults, that’s another matter entirely. Yes, we tend to treat our passions as work (and therefore very close to an unpleasant duty). And yes, I think it’s usually a key ingredient that destroys our enthusiasm and dissolves our motivation.
I chose it as the first advice for aspiring writers because I see too often (also in myself) how easy it is to lose heart when writing.
As a professional writers at Ghostwriting Solution. I fully understand my willingness to consider writing as my future full-time profession – that is also my goal. However, if you already have a single job (or study, study, do the housework), putting this kind of pressure on yourself usually ends up being overloaded. It is entirely up to you what pace you choose. It is worth remembering, however, that if you rely solely on outbursts of motivation, putting aside your work, relationships, family or your own health, you may end up having to abandon writing in order to save these areas
In my opinion, it is better not to start fires at all than to focus on putting them out
This is the motto I am trying to live by now. It results from abandoning a few relationships, fighting for one’s own health, and many, many failed nights in favor of writing (which had greater and lesser consequences).
2. Be patient with yourself.
Do you write slower than you would like? Do you find more repetitions and mistakes? Does your hero change his name during the novel? Although they appear to be trivial beginner mistakes, they happen to everyone, regardless of experience (but their intensity decreases over time).
It’s worth remembering that good writing is largely about revising and rewriting. This means that when you choose a profession as a writer, you also choose long hours of proofreading (not to mention the thousands of hours spent planning a novel and the tens of thousands of hours you spend just writing).
3. Consciously fight your fear of failure.
If you allow yourself to think about writing in the first draft of a novel, it will be a much less stressful and simply more enjoyable process. Time to correct it will come later. Time to think under the title “Will my book be a success,” also worth it when you have your novel finished, and at best only after you have sent it to several publishers.
There is no single rule or solution here, but it is the kind of advice for aspiring writers that I think everyone should hear. However, building awareness of your internal criticism and defense mechanisms will help reduce frustration with “clerical blockages” and will also help you better plan your own writing process. You don’t need to read psychology textbooks if you don’t feel like it (although it’s a good resource that teaches you to build more realistic characters). All it takes is a little googling and self-observation. I promise – it will pay off!
4. Remember to make backups.
… In at least two places. The obsessive saving of a new version of a book in the cloud, on a flash drive and in several places on the disk, has its painful justification. Anyone who has been writing for some time (and let’s face it, most of us already use the keyboard) probably suffered a shock when the power went out, let alone the entire computer. Most writers and copywriters can name at least a few stories about how they lost their precious words. “The cat has disconnected the power supply”; “I overwritten the file in the middle of the night”; “The boy formatted my drive”; “Synchronization between tablet and laptop did not go according to plan”; “I deleted it thinking it was an older version.”
This is one piece of advice for aspiring writers that should appeal to everyone. Again – TO EVERYONE. You can’t write too often and in too many places.
- It is worth choosing two different media so that, for example, in the event of a laptop failure, you can access the file in a completely different place.
- If you write in Word, it is also worth setting a higher frequency of automatic saves (you will find such an option in the settings).
- Remember to name the file clearly (e.g. with draft title and date), this will probably avoid deleting the latest version of the file or replacing it with an older one.
5. Test and continue what works.
Any advice for aspiring writers about writing, stimulating creativity, or the way of working, should be treated as a proposal, not a predetermined rule. Don’t get me wrong – there are rules that you need to know (punctuation, sentence structure, structure of a novel), but even them can be (consciously!) Broken.
As for all the other tips, it’s worth choosing them very selectively. Even the best tips for novice writers from the mouths of masters in their craft may not work for you. It is worth trying a new one, looking for different approaches, but if something does not suit you at all, just give it up.
Tips for aspiring writers – style and proofreading
Below you will find a selection of tips for aspiring writers that can help you improve your future texts and make it easier for you to write a book. I have decided to include only a few short descriptions here, because I plan to write articles that will adequately develop and deepen specific topics.
6. Take time to develop your idea.
This will help you make sure it’s a plot idea for a book or short story that you will love to write. Time devoted to developing an idea will definitely pay off while writing – a clearly planned storyline will make you write the text much faster and also reduce the number of inconsistencies that you will have to correct in the course of later revision.
7. Always ask yourself THIS question.
What does the hero of my novel want to achieve?
8. Limit your research.
The constant search for materials and browsing the corners of the Internet is the greatest distractor I know. One of my favorite tips for aspiring writers is the one for resale as you type.
There is nothing wrong with leaving gaps in the first draft of the novel for you to fill in later.
Personally, I usually label them “X” or “XYZ” and color them. Different colors can perform different functions – for example: places marked in green require the description to be expanded; purple signifies the need for deeper research, and orange signifies places where certain decisions must be made. Personally, I choose less bright colors because the “incandescent” ones distract me too much. Another way to mark such places is to add a comment – but just like in the case above, I found this form a bit too distracting, distracting me from writing in favor of dealing with these issues (love editing!).
9. Always think about action.
This is especially helpful advice for aspiring writers. In texts less experienced in writing, too slow action is often distinguished. Its reasons are mainly: too broad descriptions, insignificant dialogues and focus on the hero’s thoughts, not his actions.
Helpful advice here can be:
Always ask yourself, “Is this element pushing the action of the novel forward?”
If the answer is no, ask yourself, “Does he have a different, important function,” such as getting to know the character better or building tension. To make the novel engaging, each description, dialogue, or flashback should introduce something important to the reader.
10. Describe only what is interesting.
Antidote to boredom? Fill your story with intriguing, stimulating action.
Brushing your hair and brushing your teeth are not. Unless their purpose is to show that the poison in the toothpaste causes the main character’s hair to start falling out of her head in handfuls one day.
It is a “must have” that should be on every list of tips for aspiring writers. Really, there is no need for you to describe every minute of the character’s life in your novel. And no, the reader will not mind “jumping” to these interesting events.
11. Show what is familiar.
One popular advice for aspiring writers is to avoid the commonplace. I do not agree with that. We like what is familiar. So let’s make sure that our hero – his life, habits and experiences – are something the reader can identify with personally.
12. Instant style upgrade.
If it is possible, give up the adjective, if you really want to use it, limit yourself to one in a sentence. It is good practice to use precise nouns instead. And so, instead of a “short skirt”, it is worth using a “mini skirt”.
I will write a separate article about how to improve your writing style.
13. Don’t be afraid to use simpler equivalents.
Sometimes it makes sense to give up complicated words if you can replace them with a simpler, shorter word. When looking for new synonyms, it happens that we fall into a spiral of choosing terms that are more and more difficult and less useful. Used consciously, they can enrich a text fantastically, but in many cases they make the text less readable and fluid than it could be, if we were not afraid to appear “weak writers”.
14. Stimulate all senses.
Juicy green grass and tempting carmine lips are just the beginning … Did your hero get the crunch of a crushed shell or the laughter of students from a nearby elementary school? What smells can be found in the city and what smells in the family home? Can you also feel smog at the tip of your tongue? What does the hero feel under the fingertips as they slide over the satin, and what when he gets stuck with the sharp edge of a rusty steel structure? Is the tingling in the feet and the shivering through the body the result of some premonition?
15. Practice is not everything.
Although writing a large number of texts will significantly expand your writing skills, you should not forget to gather additional knowledge and develop your skills in other ways. But…
16. It is worth clearly defining the time for development.
Time spent reading and listening about writing is not time actually writing. Why am I writing about this? Because, contrary to appearances, we often forget about it.
What does a blocked writer usually do?
- Looks for inspiration in your favorite book, series or movie,
- He listens to interviews with writers or looks at their biographies,
- He seeks advice on writing and spends hours reading about them, even if they are completely different from the text he is writing.
To avoid the trap of “reading how to write rather than writing a book”, it is helpful to be clear about the time you will spend in your development and practice. Even a blocked writer can write. Even when he is convinced that it is impossible. And the best way to prove it to yourself is to move on to the next text.
17. Make sure you have the right approach.
You have no inspiration? Or are you just asking too much of yourself?
- Recognizing that it is only our state of mind;
- Developing a habit of everyday writing without setting yourself conditions and expectations;
- Undertaking an attempt to write anything, with an emphasis on “whatever it is, no matter what the subject, style or value” is.
18. Eliminate the creativity killer.
Your idea is brilliant, the style is pretty good, and the syntax is really satisfactory. Until, Doubt comes. And the trap – comparing yourself to others.
Regardless of whether it is a colleague from your writing workshops, a poet you know from college or a world-famous writer – comparing yourself to them never makes sense. And you should finish them as soon as possible.
What causes you to compare yourself to others? Instilling self-confidence, de-motivation, and resignation.
What will he not give you? Make sure you are going in the right direction. See if your text is good. Check how your novel compares with others.
The only way to become a better writer is through practice and development.
A few tips on editing and proofreading texts
19. Focus on writing first, then correcting.
In my opinion, this is another of the key tips for aspiring writers. Very often it is a wheel that, driven by perfectionism and doubts, prevents you from going any further. If you’re distracting from writing, correcting the order of each sentence and looking for synonyms for almost every term… stop. It is worth asking yourself: “Do you want your book-writing process to last years or fit in a few months?”
20. Write a novel faster.
From the heart, I recommend that you focus on writing the so-called first draft of the novel as soon as possible and proceeding to proofreading only then. This approach will increase the chance that you will write a book before you get tired, and will also reduce the space for doubts.
21. Editing is a must.
When you finish writing your first novel, you will surely be filled with enthusiasm and I hope you will be proud as well. Remember, however, that the first version will never be a finished novel. Editing consists of correcting punctuation, removing repetitions, but also much greater challenges, such as ensuring the continuity of the plot, its consistency, or that the timeline matches.
22. Don’t submit your texts to criticism too soon.
Under the influence of doubts, you will surely be tempted many times to send a text to a friend, acquaintance or look for the right person on the forums. It’s kind of a trap. By receiving a positive review, you will probably question its veracity. If you receive a negative one, you will start thinking about making further corrections or abandoning the project.
Another error (and I am not afraid to use the phrase “error” here) is sending a text that is simply not ready for criticism. A good critic will list a number of inconsistencies and errors that can simply discourage you from further writing.
How to Become a Better Writer?
Everything and everything.
24. Read. A lot.
Not only about writing. This is downright secondary if you read a lot of books in the genre you want to write yourself. Such reading in the most enjoyable, but also in the most effective way, will teach you the rules that govern the world, the characters and events of this type of novel.
25. Focus on what’s important.
And no, I will not write “just write” here. I want to end this collection of advice for aspiring writers with a very important thought to me.
Focus on what matters most, for you.
What would you really like to write? What makes you happy? What arouses emotions?
This is the text that should be created.
This point simply could not fail to be among my tips for aspiring writers, as I believe that in writing, we too often focus on the marketing aspect of book writing (and trust me, I appreciate it properly – I am a marketer by profession). Instead of focusing on what’s selling, I honestly think it’s worth giving all your attention, energy, inspiration and passion to what you, as a writer, will love with all your heart. Thanks to this, the book you will write (novel or short story or articles) will be authentic and honest. And this, readers will surely appreciate.