Writing advice? Here’s some subjective, but practical points you can use today
Advice on writing is found in abundance all over the net. I’ve read a lot of it, thinking it never hurts to build on your skills. However, most of the writing advice I’ve read tends towards a book-of-rules sort of information, from writing a query to dealing with editors. As for the actual craft, there’s little to be found in terms of short, snappy tidbits you can read quickly and put into practice immediately. Here, we hope to deliver just that, writing advice you can use right now.
Write to your audience! While you’ve probably heard this before, it is paramount to any degree of writing success. If you’re writing about weight loss, your readers want to lose weight, right? You need to understand where they’re coming from in order to give them useful insights that are encouraging, practical and will help them achieve their goal. If you’re writing about a health condition, do the research to find little-known facts which they can present to their doctor. If you’re writing for children, avoid complicated sentence structures and big words.
This bit of writing advice might take a bit of getting used to, but it will make your writing far more lively. Be visual, create images of what you’re writing about, before you begin writing. If you’re writing a piece on kitchen renovation ideas, take a look around your own kitchen. You can mentally do a complete makeover of your own kitchen. Put all those ideas, in short descriptions in a loose outline form. Then expand on each with relevant detail. This also makes your writing flow easily and helps keep your writing organized.
When you write, be genuine in your “voice.” A natural style makes your reader feel personally connected with you, as well as making your writing more interesting and engaging, which is why they’re reading it!
Another bit of writing advice pertains to the online venue. Online writing is a bit different than in print. Unless you’re writing a scholastic piece, cultivate a more colloquial style for your online pieces. It’s more like talking in an everyday manner, such as conversing with friends. You can take a few liberties with grammar – just a few!
Your reader is reading for entertainment and/or information. Humor is good. It never hurts to throw in a small funny every now and then. Getting a chuckle out of your reader leaves them feeling slightly more satisfied for having read the story.
If you’re writing for money, you absolutely must be disciplined and manage your time. Time is of the essence, if you hope to make a living. If you’re working from home, it’s essential that you convince your family and friends that you do have a real job and you must spend real time doing it. Establish your working hours and stick to your guns. Ask any freelancer. This is the most common problem, and it needs to be sorted out.
Now, this next bit of writing advice may seem to fly in the face of my previous point, but flexibility is also a signature of a serious writer. If you’ve got a deadline you can only meet by working late, you’ve got to do it. If you’ve got to take care of family business on Tuesday, plan to work on Saturday.
If you don’t already keep an ongoing journal, begin today. It doesn’t need to be long and arduous and it can be about anything you like. Just write in it every day. It can be very therapeutic, reduces some of the daily stress and makes you a better writer, over time.
The finale to this writing advice capsule is: Read, read and read some more! This will do more for you as a writer than you’d ever imagine.