Back in the 90’s when I left school and started studying creative writing, the amount of weather worm adults who gasped in horror at the idea of throwing away time, energy and brains on writing was astounding.
I am sincerely glad I didn’t become a psychologist now, which was the second choice. With the rise of social media and blogging, it’s truly a great time to be a creative copywriter.
Writing is the popular kid on the block.
More popular than I think most people would have imagined. Two decades ago roughly 1 in 10 people would start outlining the plot of their secret novel at a party when I mentioned words and I were on first name terms. Now every second person I meet when I introduce myself as a writer responds with “Oh me too!” before they share their Twitter handle or blog URL. Incredible!
However, despite the internet levelling the playing field a LOT in the realm of self publishing, we are not all writers and not everyone can write. Just because the tools have made is easier doesn’t mean the quality is high! But if you are willing to work at it, fortunately it is a craft you can learn.
Here are my favourite practical writing tips:
Practice, practice, practice-
Keep writing every day. Get stuff out of your system, add it to your project, keep a journal, and muse over coffee, whatever.
Writing is like exercise. The more you do, the fitter you will get and the better able you will be able to handle more and more challenging forms.
A diary doesn’t count-
It’s really tempting to publish every rant, rave and sulk piece to the internet. It’s certainly easy to do and makes you feel a bit better about things when someone validates even your most cock eyed opinion.
But the reality is, constantly vomiting your crap out into cyber space doesn’t make you a writer- it just makes you a person crying out for attention.
Get it out, sure, but in a journal only you read. Sometimes too much information truly is too much information.
Read a lot and then read some more-
Reading on a regular basis will naturally train your brain to pick up sentence construction and generally click with words. Read across all different kinds of genres- fiction and nonfiction- on a regular basis.
Read things too that are from people who you don’t necessarily agree with to see how and if they can construct arguments and persuasive points of view.
Watch with a pen in hand-
We all have our favourite films, TV shows and documentaries. Once you’ve enjoyed them, try tackling them from a writer’s perspective.
Go back and watch out for dialogue that grabs you and note down scenes where words are not used but illicit strong emotional responses. Break the characters down and see how they tick.
TV pilots are especially useful because you get to meet a story line, setting and a bunch of characters in a very short time. Once you work out the mechanics behind what you enjoy, even if you want to write something entirely different, it will help you connect the dots in your own writing.
If you suck, get help-
To people who enjoy reading, love writing, know about your topic or are just plain clever serving up any old bit of writing won’t wash.
So if you lack technique, confidence or knowledge, try studying a course, taking a workshop or picking up the many thousands of books on writing and see if things improve.
If it just doesn’t gel for you, ask a writer for help. Writers can help you with editing, co-writing, development from idea to actual written form, advice and give honest feedback. And we writers are usually pretty good at jumping in at whatever level suits you best. So make use of us!
Writing is fun, rewarding, challenging and an art all rolled into one.
If you feel like having a chat about writing or grabs some more specific writing tips on issues you are facing, hit me up- I’d love that!
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