I have thought of a few more things I do while writing or while I think about my writing. (If you haven’t seen my first Writing Advice post and would like to read it, here’s the link). Anyways, if anyone would like to read them, here they are…
Always be on the lookout for new words.
Words are everywhere, but not many people bother to think about what they mean. If you see a word in a book, magazine, poster, someone says it, etc., and don’t know what the word means, write it down in a notepad and look it up on your laptop or in a dictionary when you have the time. (I personally have found many amazing words I love and use in my writing this way).
Write only what satisfies you.
Never, ever write what other people want you to write (unless you want to, then go right ahead and have fun while doing that). Don’t let friends or family tell you what you should/shouldn’t write about. It’s your story, not theirs. If you disappoint them by saying no, but you still don’t want to write a story with their plot, you could tell them that it’s a great idea and that they should write it, because they know what happens and you don’t.
Don’t be afraid to read your story out loud.
As you revise and edit, read your draft aloud to yourself (or an audience, your choice). I struggle with this, as I am in the editing/revising/beta readers stage. I am paranoid someone will overhear me as I utter it under my breath, but reading aloud does help to see what words and sentences are tricky to say and sound odd.
Don’t just stick to “writing what you know”.
“Write what you know”… I bet you’ve heard this before. I disagree with this message, for I think writing is about exploring through your imagination. Write about places you’ve never been to or want to go to at some point. Mix it up. Write about what you know, but add some of what you don’t. Write about what you don’t know, add some of what you do. Do some research, you’ll find that (if it’s on something you’re interested in) it will be fun.
Research with an open mind.
Research, research, research… Research is a writer’s best friend (okay, maybe not best friend, but maybe a friend… never mind, it can be an enemy). Though it can be infuriating to be in a great writing-spree, then run into something you aren’t sure is true and could totally screw up your plotline if you get the info incorrect. Take the time to research. It’s necessary, and can be fun. Research words, diseases (I research those a lot), places… You’ll be surprised at what you will find, it may help with your writing and possibly give you a great story idea.
Keep your writings in many places.
What I mean by this is not share your work constantly for everyone to see, but type it up on a secure website so your story is only visible to you (unless you want everyone to see it, then post your story on a blog or Wattpad or something…). Why I say that you should type your story up and have it in a notebook is because what if your house catches on fire? Or a flood washes away everything? Or if a tornado comes and sucks up your home? Anything could happen at any time (I hope I didn’t scare anyone with those examples. I’m sorry if I did). If something like that happens and you can’t save your notebook, and your writing is only in that notebook, that version of your writing is gone forever. The choice on this subject is yours, but I recommend keeping your work in many, many safe places. Online (be sure it is on a safe, secure website), notebook, a copy at your grandparents or trusted friend’s house, etc. Because if you have many copies, the chances of your story getting destroyed is hardly likely.
Finish that book.
Finish the first draft of your story, no matter how “bad” it is. You may say it’s bad, but other people will say your story is brilliant and many readers will probably love it. You just have to overcome and let go of your frantic editing (I still have to work on this myself).
These are all just suggestions, and I’m not saying this is the right or wrong way to write; I’m just trying to throw a little information out there for writers who are looking for it.
Best of luck with your writing and don’t forget, someone out there is just dying to hear your story.
~ Amelia Jacobson
(Garfield© by Jim Davis)