11 Tips to Improve Your Writing Today
Here are 11 helpful tips to improve your writing today by Jaclyn Goldis:
1.Read a ton in your genre
Read a ton in your genre. This is crucial to know the “rules” of the genre, and also how to differentiate yourself.
2. Find a Writing Buddy
Find a writing buddy, either in person or virtually. Preferably, find a few. Critique each other’s stuff. Brainstorm together.
3. Set daily, weekly or monthly accountability targets
Set daily, weekly or monthly accountability targets. Do writing sprints where you don’t do anything but write (or stare at your blank screen) for a set amount of time.
4. Pay attention to the topics that pique your interest
Pay attention to the topics that pique your interest. Incorporating them into your novel gives you fun research to undertake. So, write what you want to know.
5. Sometimes the advice to “write what you know” can be constraining
Sometimes the advice to “write what you know” can be constraining. But let things you know ground your work. I.e. use cities you’ve lived in as your setting, give your characters a few traits of people you’ve observed.
6. Persist through rejections
Persist through rejections. But pay attention to your intuition as to when to pause and further edit a piece, and when to blitz it out to agents/publications.
7. Embrace criticism
Embrace criticism. Don’t be wed to your first draft, or fifteenth. If criticism resonates, get back to work.
8. Keep notes on things you observe in the world
Keep notes on things you observe in the world: snippets of dialogue at a café, a funny story a friend tells you, a quirk in your partner. All this can be harnessed to weave into your novels, and enrich the characters and scenes you conjure up.
9. Other writers’ rules are certainly helpful, but they are not gospel
Other writers’ rules are certainly helpful, but they are not gospel. Drown out the noise. Get to know your own process. Keep experimenting. What works for one book, doesn’t necessarily work for the next.
10. Write the thing that scares you a little
Write the thing that scares you a little. The thing that feels, can I really write this?
11. Kill your darlings
Kill your darlings. Be ruthless in striking words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, that don’t add something essential to character or drive the plot forward. I have been really influenced by Ernest Hemingway’s “Iceberg theory” on shortening prose https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceberg_theory.
I create a separate document for each project I work on, and into it I dump all of the sentences and paragraphs I delete. That way if I want those deleted words back, they exist. (I never want them back.)
My Favorite Writing Resources
Writer’s Digest Live Webinars (often comes with free query critique from agent): https://www.writersdigest.com/
Sarah Selecky Story Course: https://www.sarahselecky.com/sarahs-creative-writing-school/
Pink Pangea International Writing Retreats: www.pinkpangea.com/retreats/
Iowa MFA Free Writing Courses: https://iwp.uiowa.edu/iwp-courses/distance-learning-courses/moocs
Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert)
On Writing (Stephen King)
Story Genius (Lisa Cron)
Save the Cat (Blake Snyder)
Plot Perfect (Paula Munier)
Writing Down the Bones (Natalie Goldberg)
The Art of Memoir (Mary Karr)
Writing About Your Life (William Zinsser)
Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott)
BookEnds Literary Agency
Janet Reid’s Query Shark:
Manuscript Academy (amazing resource for query and first pages critiques from agents/editors):
Alan Rinzler (memoir):
Hybrid Publisher Alternative to Traditional Publishing
SheWrites is a community of women writers. They provide resources and inspirations for writers all over the world and they have over 30,000 community members. SheWrites also has thousands of articles about writing — written by women writers form all genres.
Linda Sivertsen’s Beautiful Writers (she also has an excellent Facebook group writing community): https://bookmama.com/
About Book Mama, from their website (https://bookmama.com/):
“Listen in as author Linda Sivertsen (aka Book Mama) brings together the world’s most beloved writers for monthly chats on writing, publishing, deal-making, spirituality, activism, and the art of romancing creativity. These up-close conversations are a fan favorite, downloaded nearly a million times and frequently profiled on “Best Podcast” lists/blogs and at the top of the Literature category on iTunes.”
11 Writing Tips to Improve Your Writing Today
Do you have writing tips or resources to add to this list? What has helped your writing the most? Email us at [email protected] for information about sharing your advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.
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