Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tips to Help Become a Better Writer

I'm constantly looking for tips and methods to improve my writing. Over the years I've read various books and blogs on the subject, and I've tried, at some point, almost everything I've read about. Of course, there were a few tips that caused me to raise my eyebrows and ask, "Are you for real?"

What works for one person may not work for another.

Over the years, the tips and methods I've picked up have evolved and changed as I've added to them, and dropped the ones that are no longer working for me.

Here are some of my tips:

Tip #1: Read Everything!!!
"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." 
--Stephen King
I love this quote, and it's the truth. Writers must make the time to read. They need to read in the genre they write, but they need to read everything else too. Exposure to different genres and writing styles is a good thing because you get to see what works and what doesn't.

Tip #2: Keep a pen and notebook handy.
I never leave the house without my pen and notebook. Sometimes I jot down a description  of something I've seen or a piece of conversation I've overheard. Most times what I scribble down has to do with the story I'm working on.

Tip #3: Don't wait for motivation, chase it down.
If writers only wrote when they were motivated, there would be 100s of 1000s less books out there to read. There are a lot of days I'm not motivated to write. Life is going on around me. So, I have to sit down and force the words out. Sometimes what I've written is usable, sometimes it's not, but I've got something on paper to work with and that's what counts.

Tip #4: Be an observer.
Watch what's going on around you and take notes. Part of the notebook I talked about earlier has nothing but stuff I've jotted down--things I've observed. I may or may not use them, but they may inspire something later on.

What are some of the tip that have worked for you to improve your writing?