“The pen is mightier than the sword.” This quote was said by writer Edgar Bulwer-Lytton almost 200 years ago, but it remains just as true today. Writing is one of the most important and most powerful ways to communicate our thoughts and ideas. A simple story can change countless lives, which is one reason so many people strive to be authors.
Challenges Writers Face
Writing is difficult, though. You will come across over one writing challenge or blogging challenge in your career, and that’s okay. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the right words to say the story the way you like, or to start writing. You’re staring at the computer screen for hours, you try to write, but you feel like everything you’re able to jot down is bad. We’ve all been there. You try to put into practice a few writing tips you got from a friend or colleague, but it doesn’t help!
Sometimes, the opposite happens – you want to say so much, but you’re given a specific word count or character count. When that happens, you need the help of a good word counter or character counter.
So, what is a word count tool? A word count tool helps to ensure that a requirement is met or remains within a certain limit by its word count. If an author has a word count requirement for any written work, a word count tool will help make sure its word count meets a particular requirement or remains within a certain cap.
A character count tool or a character counter does the same thing, but with characters. It provides instant character count statistics for a text. The tool monitors and reports the character counts of the text you type in actual time. So, if you are rushing an article or a chapter of your book, you know how much you should shorten or lengthen your work.
Earlier, we talked about how writing can be difficult. It’s no walk in the park, but if you want to be a better writer, it can be done with the right amount of guidance. And today is your lucky day, because we will give you that! Here are some writing tips to help you become a better and more productive writer!
We’ve gathered 31 important writing tips to help artists hone their skills. Read on to know each one.
1. Make An Outline
Before you begin, make an outline and stick to it! Many writers manufacture too many subplots and write in too many secondary characters, wandering into rambling chapters that don’t really go anywhere. But if you have an outline, even if you stray a little, you’ll be able to quickly catch yourself and get back on track.
2. Do Not Write In A Linear Manner
The second tip in our list of writing tips is quite self-explanatory – do not set out to write anything from start to finish. If you’ve got an idea for the eighth chapter of your book, then write there. The fragmented chapters you make will push you to look at the story from multiple perspectives, which will help you understand your characters on a deeper level. It’s also great for defeating writer’s block.
3. Early Initiation Of Dispute
Conflict lies at the heart of any good story, so make sure readers know within the first few chapters what your conflict is! The best way to do this is by making your main character realize something. Once he or she realizes it, that realization will then lead him or her to do something significant.
4. Monitor The Pace
The fourth tip on our list of the best writing tips focuses on a story’s pacing. Nothing ruins a delightful story like poor pacing, so make sure you control the pacing of your story! If your pacing is way too slow, your readers might lose interest, stop reading, and never go back to your book.
5. Sharpen Your Dialogue
Our fifth entry focuses on dialogue. Dialogues are a useful tool in any story, it moves the plot along, and draws in readers. Let’s face it – a conversation between characters is usually much more impactful than a narrator relaying similar information. But dialogue loses its impact if the conversation goes on for too long, so try to keep your character’s conversations short and sweet.
6. Don’t Give Everything Away
For our sixth entry, we encourage you to give your story a little mystery. Even if you want to be showy with your scene-by-scene descriptions, be careful to not reveal too much about your story and characters to readers.
This is the principle behind iconic author Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory,” which suggests that the most significant aspect of the story should only provide readers with the tip of the iceberg. You need to give your readers something to keep them going. Providing them with too much information will confuse them and might make them put your book down in favor of something simpler.
7. Think About Your Theme
As you write your story, think about its theme. What you are trying to say about society and the human condition? How do you express these themes in a simple but powerful way?
Popular literary themes include love, loss, and the importance of doing the right thing. Your themes will depend on your genre and subject material, but they may be also linked to your personal beliefs and experiences. Try to embrace this, writing what you know is a good way to infuse your story with genuine emotion.
8. Have A Specific Point Of View
The narrator lets your readers into the story, and guides the readers as they go through the story, so be careful with your narrator’s point of view. Avoid making your narrator’s voice too specific, if you appeal to only a certain audience, you will alienate other readers. Your narrator needs to speak in an accessible, relatable, and non-stereotypical way.
Write as often as you can, when you can. Write whenever you have a bit of downtime – in traffic, before you sleep, while waiting for your turn at a grocery store, etc. It might seem weird to write on your phone rather than on a laptop at your desk, but if you do it often enough, we promise, you’ll get used to it.
10. Challenge Yourself
Question yourself constantly. It’s one way to make sure you’re doing your best every time. It’s easy to be complacent about your content, you’re hitting your word count targets, no one is complaining about your output, but in the greater scheme of things, is your content really adequate? However, if you’re always challenging yourself, you’ll see every bit of potential in your story, and you won’t stop until you maximize that potential.
11. Write Now, Edit Later
Don’t push yourself to where you become too paralyzed to compose. Write what’s on your mind, let those thoughts flow! If in doubt, either skip it or write an inferior version of it for now. Write now, edit later is the strategy of countless authors. If it works for them, it can work for you as well!
12. Read What You Wrote Out Loud
Many of the best writers and editors in the world read their work alone and out loud to check for inconsistencies and awkward phrasing. This technique is especially helpful in cutting out long, unwieldy sentences, and it will also help you create a dialogue that will feel true to your characters.
13. Don’t Beat Around The Bush
Polonius, a character in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” was right when he said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Keep your writing short and sweet! Your goal should be to produce intelligent writing without appearing too pretentious. Start by controlling the use of adverbs in your sentences.
Be straightforward and speak in the present tense as much as possible. Get down to business and tell your readers what your characters are doing. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is.
14. Kill Distractions
Easier said and done, right? This is one of the hardest writing tips to follow- sometimes the temptation to Netflix and chill in the middle of an impending deadline can be just too hard to resist! But the more distractions you remove, the better your writing will become.
Here are some suggestions on how to get into deep focus mode – work in a quiet place at home, set your phone to airplane mode, or place it in a separate location. Also, stop working alongside people who will bug you now and then about things unrelated to work. You can hang out with your friends after work.
15. Ask For Feedback
Here is another not so easy writing tip. Who wants to hear bad things about your work? Especially after you’ve worked so hard on it. But it must be done. Accepting constructive criticism is one of the most challenging aspects of becoming a novelist.
But you need to have your work critiqued because the feedback you receive will let you in on other people’s views. You will know what you need to work on, so try not to see criticism as harsh, see it as beneficial, as a way for you to become a better writer.
16. See Things In A Different Light
Focus on creative ways to use familiar visual phrases. One of the best ways to improve your imagination is by constantly thinking about how you can explain everyday objects in fresh and exciting ways. You want people to see a common occurrence in a whole new way.
The best way to do this is to pause when you’re explaining something in writing and say to yourself, “How can I describe it in such a way that it will create a stronger, emotional impact?”
17. Write For The Right Reasons
As writers, we put a lot of effort into what we do. Since we work very hard, it’s normal to want to be recognized for it, right? We write because we love it, but we also want to be remembered for what we do. It’s normal to feel this way, but it shouldn’t be our only motivation.
When we write to be recognized, we put way too much focus on our readers. Before long, our art will inevitably suffer. We grow worrisome and anxious about how a certain word or phrase will be perceived. It becomes less about the art, and more about how other people will see us.
If you can’t write and feel satisfied with your work with no one commenting on it, you’d better give up right now. You don’t write for the right reasons, and won’t be able to get a lot of longevity out of it that way, anyway.
18. Time Is Gold
Manage your time. Stick to the hours or days you have set for writing. Put values to those moments. For most people, “writing time,” is “flexitime.” You won’t get anything done in that way. Give writing your complete attention, but don’t forget to put in a few breaks. How often should you take a break?
Based on the Pomodoro technique, to help you focus on important tasks, you need to spend 25 minutes completely focused on what you’re doing. This means that when those 25 minutes are in place, you ignore all email alerts, forget about social media, mute your text messages, and avoid doing anything else that could distract you. You remain in your zone and stay fully concentrated. When those 25 minutes are up, take a five-minute break. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll be able to do!
19. Distinguish Good Writing From Bad Writing
There’s a lot of good writing out there, but there’s also a lot of trash. Many people don’t know the difference between the good and the bad, and that is really, really sad. Expose yourself to the good so you’ll be able to differentiate it from the bad. Read books by world-famous writers like Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, etc. As popular pianist Duke Ellington once said, “There are two kinds of music, nice music and the other kind of music.” The same applies to writing.
20. Write Down Your Ideas
Inspiration strikes anytime, anywhere. Keep a journal or notebook ready at all times so you can write all your creative ideas down. If you have a smartphone, make sure it’s loaded with a note-taking app.
21. Go Out Of Your Way To Meet Fellow Writers
If your writing life has been inactive for months, or even years, the right group of writers will drive you to action. You’ll also be able to learn a lot from them.
Although not every community of writers is purely educational, education is inevitable when you’re with a group of people who share the same interests, whether it’s through getting input from others, studying how someone promoted their book, or finding a new tool or resource.
22. Be A Grammar Nazi
Improve your grammar. Be mindful of your subject-verb agreement, learn the difference between adjectives and adverbs, and know the proper usage of same-sounding words. Familiarize yourself with the rules. Read a lot. When you read a lot, you’ll become more and more aware of proper sentence structure.
23. Be Observant
The people and events that surround you will give you great inspiration for characters, plots, and themes.
24. Invest In Helpful Resources
Invest in important tools. Subscribe to a Word Count Tool or Character Count Tool. Read books about writing and learn about different writing style guides like the Associated Press Style, Chicago Manual Of Style, etc.
25. Start A Blog
Let your voice be heard! Share your most thoughtful and inspiring arguments on writing. You may also use it to display your writing portfolio to potential clients.
26. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
This is one of the most important writing tips we can give you. Proofread your work before submitting it. Edit the writing from your device, take a break from the text, then print out the pages and proofread it again.
Seeing your work on a printed page is another useful strategy for noticing things that might have escaped your attention as you were proofreading from the computer screen. This is also a good way to check if your formatting is correct and consistent on every page.
27. Make Mistakes
Allow yourself to write a weak, uninteresting story, or a dull, grammatically incorrect poem. You’re never going to succeed if you don’t give yourself a few mistakes along the way. Don’t refrain from writing because you’re afraid it will not be great! We all start from somewhere. What’s important is we don’t repeat our mistakes. We should learn from them.
28. Challenge Yourself
Use writing exercises and join writing challenges and blogging challenges to develop your abilities, enhance your strengths, and explore various genres, styles, and techniques.
29. Place Yourself In The Shoes Of Your Readers
If you saw the book you just wrote, would you read it? If you will not pick up the book or the story you’re writing and read with excitement, then you shouldn’t be doing it AT ALL. Plain and simple. This is because when you create a story you love, you’ll see it in the writing. Your words will pop off the pages. It’s also a lot easier to write about something you love, or you are interested in.
So for the third to the last entry in our long list of writing tips, ask yourself these questions: do you feel you’d root for the characters in your story? Is the plot captivating enough? Would you look for a book like this? If you saw your book in a bookstore, would you pick it up? If you say no to any of those questions, maybe it’s time to revise your book idea.
30. Own It
Say it out loud, “I am a writer!” Whether you write as a hobby or you are a professional writer, if you write, then you may say, loud and proud, “I am a writer!”
31. Tell The Truth
Famous author Maya Angelou once said, “I look at some of the great novelists, and I think the reason they are great is that they’re telling the truth.” Write your truth. Share your truth. When you have a truth worth sharing, writing becomes easier, more meaningful, and more powerful for those who read it.
Finally, we’ve come to the end of the line. Now it’s time to put these writing tips into effect! Remember, even the best writing tips on its own won’t launch you into superstardom. You need to put in the work. The more often you sharpen your skills, the better you’ll be at your craft. So, are you ready to become a better writer? Ready to go from a decent fiction writer (or blogger, or freelancer, etc.) to an awesome writer? It’s time to get to work, then. Let’s do it! Have fun writing!