Sunday, August 30, 2015

Writing Tips for the Novice Writer

It's never too late to start writing, but you'd better not keep putting it off or it will be too late one day.

To be a writer, you need to just choose your media--paper and pen or computer screen--and just start writing.  Pour out all the thoughts craving to be released.

Say Something 

Usually, I write with something to say.  It may be sparked from a number of places, and I may write on a variety of topics. I write in my mind while cleaning the pool, doing housework, walking the dog, taking a shower, reading someone else's article.  My mind spins different themes.  But keeping all the goodness festered up does no good.  I need to get it out. With luck, the ideas take and come to mind later.

Share Your Writing 

The internet is a turning point for many writers and artists.  It gives us a place to show our work which is much better than growing a pile of journals, manuscripts, or even painted canvasses in our drawers or basement.  Sharing what's on our mind not only gives us joy, but it often helps someone. 
Art by Rosalie Garde, 2015

Don't Limit Yourself 

All those ideas you have can be worked on simultaneously.  You don't need to focus only on one project at a time (unless you're doing a for pay piece with a deadline).  I might write on marriage, gardening, midlife crisis, or life purpose all in a week.

Have a System 

Create a system.  That may mean set aside a time to write.  Or it may mean set aside a method.

I have a file in Word called "fodder" and another called "rough drafts."
Fodder is where I collect ideas. They may be cut and pasted off the internet (to use as prompts), or they may be ideas of my own that I don't feel like working in depth at the time.   I also have a separate file for "ebooks I'm working on."

The rough drafts file is where I write without editing.  Later, I will scan through my fodder or rough draft files and choose something of interest to work on hopefully to completion and submission.  Then I'll transfer the piece to "submitted." Often, the rough draft is so long I can pull two or more articles out of it and multiply my revenue.

Joining a group or submitting to a place where there is an opportunity to have your work pass through editors is helpful.  I work through Constant-Content.  Their team of editors checks everything and sends back errors pointing out what's wrong.  Of course rejection hurts and delays income, but this has been a good way for me to learn and improve on my writing. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Silence the Critics

If you're going to enjoy your life as a writer, you're going to need to shut out certain voices and demolish certain long-held beliefs.

Rules have changed.  Yes, grammar rules should still be followed, but rules about hierarchy have changed.  Those who have been formally published and who do critique or editing work need not be revered as some type of god.  They may feel god-like in their mind, they may be helpful advisers, but today rules are changing quickly and unless they've kept up, their advice might be not only inaccurate, but damaging to your momentum as a writer.

The threat is that those who've held professional positions with publishing houses, those who've been certified by editing organizations, those who've taught courses and been published themselves sometimes think of themselves more highly than they ought to and intimidate new writers.

If you're an emerging writer, shut out intimidation.  If you entrust your writing to an editor or have it critiqued, learn from their feedback, but don't let their advice stop you from pursuing your dream.

Get rid of the idea that only those with a big platform can write, sell an article, sell an ebook or book. So called professional writers may tell you rules they feel a writer must follow, but rules have been broken every day.

Marketers will tell you it's important to follow a set of rules that goes something like this: create a sales page, collect emails, offer a freebie, send out newsletters. Those suggestions might work, but they may just as likely not work.  They may become projects that gobble up time with no return.

Take all the advice you want, but in the end trust your own judgment.  Take a risk.  Write something.  Publish it in a method of your choosing.  Let it go.  See where it leads.

Finding Words for Your Story

I usually write non-fiction. In non-fiction, especially articles for web content, we need to write concisely. That means, we don'...