A few weeks ago I wrote a post that had to do with writing tips for those who were trying to improve their writing skills. It ended up being one of my most popular blogs posts, and I felt like those tips were really appreciated by my readers. So, in the same spirit of that post, I wanted to expand on that topic and offer some more suggestions for you to improve your craft. Whether you’re writing novels, blogging or just describing areas of interest in detail, we should all be looking to continuously grow and learn as individuals. So, why not share what we learn?
Limit Your Distractions
If your goal is to produce quality content through writing, then your focus should be on the writing itself. Not just half on the writing and half on the television. If you are splitting your attention between your work and something else, then you’re either going to produce lower quality work, or it’s going to take you a lot longer to finish writing about your subject. So, if possible, always try to limit your distractions when you write.
Use Music to Inspire You
If you’re itching to produce something and want to avoid distractions, but you enjoy some background noise, then by all means, use music to inspire you! Not all music is going to inspire you in the same way, and sometimes music with a lot of lyrics to follow can end up distracting you from your work too. You don’t want to be distracted! So, I recommend chill, instrumental tunes to work to. They can be soothing and nourishing to the creative spirit. These tunes seem to work best for me when my goal is to get to work and to produce with focus and clarity. Youtube is a wonderful resource for lengthy tracks of soft music to write to.
For example, here’s what I’m listening to right now:
Immerse Yourself In Your Work
This applies more so to creative writing. So, if you are working on a piece of fiction or poetry then this tip is for you. It’s not good enough to just think with your head if you want to produce a quality piece of fiction. In order to accurately be able to describe the feelings and images of your world, try closing your eyes and engulfing yourself in your work. Let the characters take shape in your mind’s eye. Picture the environment, the sounds, the smells, the temperature. Allow the feelings of your characters to flow through you. What are they telling you? What are they experiencing?
If you’re writing poetry, how does your subject make you feel? Take a moment to really become part of that feeling. Those personal feelings are going to breathe life into your work. Vulnerabilities and human emotions are endearing, don’t be afraid to really put yourself out there. Expose your inner world to your audience. When it comes to poetry, vulnerabilities can often lead to powerful works of art. Don’t worry about trying to impress with powerful metaphors straight off the bat, you can always add these in after you have finished funneling through your emotions.
Don’t Overthink It
When writing a fiction directly from your mind’s eye, don’t try to edit as you go. Write it all down and let the word-flow pour out naturally as it comes to you. After you’ve spent some time writing directly from your imagination, then you can get clever with your editing; adding creative metaphors and wordplay. Editing is when you can fine-tune your work to make sure that it’s really impressive.
If you’re writing an informative article or non-fiction, sometimes it’s still best to let the flow come naturally as you research and then to edit it all after you’ve completed your first draft. You might notice you repeat yourself in a few spots or whatever, but that’s just part of the process. The creative flow gets jarred when we continuously switch between writer and editor. So just put it out there first, edit after.
How does your work make you feel?
Every time you finish a piece of written work, you should take the time to re-read it and not only correct your spelling/grammar errors, but to listen to how your work makes you feel as if you were a reader experiencing it for the first time.
Are these the feelings that you were hoping to produce in your reader?
Are you proud of this work?
Is it informative and direct?
Does it express your thoughts clearly without repeating itself?
This can make the difference between producing mediocre and quality work. It doesn’t take a lot of time to edit your work thoroughly or to proofread your own work from the perspective of a new reader. In the end, it will always be worth it! Don’t be afraid to look for constructive feedback either. Like all skills, there’s a learning process involved and we are all growing together.
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” ― Octavia E. Butler