I take writing tips with a pinch of salt, but I still find them inspiring. Whenever I come across some, I feel a renewed desire to write more and write better. Maybe you know that feeling.
I am a young writer myself. I have a lot to learn about writing still, and a lot to unlearn about it, too. It’s a never ending process.
But I’m going to share the following tips with you on the grounds that I have embraced writing as a way of life. I write for a living and I write for pleasure, and these tips have helped me over the years.
Even if you don’t agree with some of them, use that contradiction to your advantage. Find a new insight in the contradiction, apply it to your writing life.
1. Always finish what you start.
2. Don’t edit as you write—edit after your draft is ready.
3. Write for at least a few hours every day. Write like an ant or bee would write, not like a butterfly or eagle.
4. When you revise your writing, aim to cut from it rather than to add to it.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there’s nothing left to take away.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
5. Don’t use figures of speech unless they come naturally. In other words, don’t try to embellish your writing.
6. Write with nouns and verbs.
7. Don’t make adverbs your buddies but don’t persecute them either.
8. Write in the morning before you do anything else if you can. Don’t leave writing last unless you really can’t do anything about it.
9. Write in sessions of up to 90 minutes and then take a break. That tends to be the maximum amount of time the mind can focus on something, after that attention and mental energy begin to wane.
10. Write the introduction last. That way you’ll make it more engaging, eight times out of ten.
11. Don’t surf the web before you sit down to write. If you have to do research, do it today for tomorrow.
12. When working on a longer work, do like Hemingway: stop before you have written all that you can write (mid-sentence is fine) so you know where to pick it up the next day.
13. Have a notebook so you can jot ideas.
14. Read long and “hard” books like War and Peace or Proust’s In Search of Lost Time even if they are different from your favorite genres or your writing style.
15. Read a lot but don’t read too much. Reading can become an excuse not to write.
16. Read poetry even if you’re not into it to become better at distilling images and emotions into fewer words.
17. Give yourself the time and the space to write intuitively, without outlines or careful planning.
18. Use the modern equivalent of a typewriter to write more and write faster without the distractions or eye fatigue of a computer.
19. Write your life off the page by living deeply and mindfully and paying attention to nature and other people, and examining your sentiments and reliving your memories.
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.Anais Nin
20. Understand that, past a certain level, writing cannot be thought because it is to a large extent an intuitive process and that writing classes, writing groups and the like can become distractions that keep you from writing.
21. Write a lot so you can make all the mistakes you can possible make and learn from them.
22. Don’t hurry to self-publish. Don’t hurry to publish. Make your writing the best you can make it before sending it out.
23. But do send your writing out even if it’s going to come back.
24. Send your writing to beta readers. Pay them if you have to. Friends’ opinions may not be objective enough.
25. Don’t have just one writing project. Have at least two.
26. Be humble about the subjects you write about. Be willing to write about anything.
27. Don’t blog too much or let social media distract you.
28. Always set yourself deadlines.
29. Close and lock the door if you have to.
30. Stop reading posts like this one and go write more. You’ll figure things on your own as you go.