Currently I am still slogging my way through my first draft. It’s hard, but I’m getting there. Meanwhile, I’m reading any article that promises to give me the best advice on being an aspiring author. There is so much conflicting advice out there that I thought I would comprise a list of these top tips and my experience in implementing them. I have comprised a list of tips that were repeated across multiple platforms or that really stood out to me. Hopefully, this will shed some light regarding the supposed “crème de le crème” of writing advice.
Don’t think about success or failure, just write. – All amateur authors think about what success will be like. This definition of success will vary from writer to writer. Some will want publication, others recognition from peers. Whatever an author wants to achieve with their writing the most important thing thy can do is just write. I sadly admit that I too have fallen victim to the ongoing daydreaming sessions where I picture all the success my writing will acquire or equally how failure will ruin me. Then I look down and see an empty page and I realise that I have been doing nothing for the past fifteen minutes. So, although its tempting to sit and think about all the possible things that could happen should you attempt to write anything, please don’t be scared. Just write one-word at a time and think only about that and your story. Leave the ambition and worry until you have finished writing.
Don’t be too wordy – I am a serial offender of doing this. Equally, I know people who also underwrite and don’t use enough words. The advice is that after writing something, you should go through and think about if each word is necessary for the sentence/story to make sense. If it doesn’t, then cut it. Otherwise leave it in. Simple.
Over use of Exposition – This is one of my biggest pet peeves and possibly the single worst thing any writer can do. There is nothing worse than a writer over explaining an idea instead of leaving it to the readers imagination. I am not saying I have never done this when writing as I most certainly have. The important thing is to spot when you are doing this and take it out. Have faith in your own ability to convey the underlying message without shoving it in the readers face. If you are struggling to know where you are guilty of over exposition, ask a trusted friend to read it over and see what they think.
Read Everything – I disagree with this slightly in that you don’t need to read everything. I think you need to have read a mix of fiction and non-fiction but I don’t think you should read things for the sake of reading them. I am not ashamed to say that I have never read War and Peace nor that I ever intend to do so because this is not a book I am interested in. Despite it being a classic that people say you have to read I think you should mainly read what you enjoy. If a certain book is not for you then don’t feel as though you have to plough through simply because it’s the book of the century or whatever. The same goes for writing as well. Write about what you want to write about, not what you think will impress others.
Write it for yourself – Again, this is a writing tip that I very much agree with. Don’t write what you think will sell or what other would like to read. Write a book that you want to read. The chances are that if you want to read it, others will too.
Write what you know – Ok, so this is one tip I very much disagree with. I think that it is boring to write about what you know. This being said, if you are a very interesting person who has lead a very interesting life or you just want to share your story with the world then go for it. It can also be fun to take something you do know, like going to school and adding elements that you have not experience such as goblins and meld them together. Personally, what makes writing fun for me is exploring new worlds and ideas that I haven’t encountered before in my day to day life. I read books as a form of escapism. The same goes for writing. When I write I want the possibility’s to be limited only by my imagination. Although I may base some things on what I know, most of it comes from the fantasy world inside my head. So, if you want to write about a goblin school or people with super powers, then go for it. Don’t be scared to write about the unknown.
Enjoy what you do – This is something I very much agree with. If you don’t like and enjoy writing then, obviously, you shouldn’t be doing it. When I write about something, it is because I am passionate and interested in the theme and message contained within it. It’s often a topic or character trait I am trying to work through or figure out for myself. However, I don’t think this means it needs to be easy. You can enjoy writing whilst still finding it hard. Also, to all the people out there who don’t write because they become paralysed with the fear that everything thy write will be bad, it won’t be. I have seen people write utter drivel and then transformed it into something beautiful. Next time you find yourself pulling your hair out over your writing, take a break and write something else more fun in the meantime.
I found most f these tips very helpful, and these are just the most common ones. There is loads of advice out these for beginner writers that anyone can utilise to make their writing better.
If you can think of other common writing tips for beginners that you have tried out let me know what they are in the comments. Below is also a list of websites that I used to find these tips in order to work out what the most common advice was.
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Also, to anyone else still writing their first draft like me – you got this! Keep writing and remember to try and have fun with it. 😊