I’m a writing tip junkie. Any tweet or blog post or random comment that begins, “Here’s the best tip I’ve ever gotten about writing…” makes me click. What’s thirty seconds of time when I could pick up a gold nugget that changes my writerly life?
Mostly, 1) I already know them, 2) they’re pedestrian, or 3) they’re wrong, but occasionally I get one–or twenty-one in this case–that I think are worth passing on. See if you agree:
- Don’t try to be a writer
- Don’t expect to make any money.
- All plot twists must be foreshadowed in the beginning of the book. But use twists to keep middle of story alive.
- As Colm Toibin said at Shoreditch, ‘Just get the f****** book written. Oh, and then edit until your eyes bleed.’
- Although I write on a laptop, I like to tuck a pencil behind my ear. That way I can stab people who interrupt me.
- Minimize self-promotion on social networks
- Proofread carefully to see if you any words out
- If you write for excitement, you’re better off dousing yourself in gasoline and lighting a match
- If you’re a hammer, everything in the world looks like a nail. If you’re a writer, everything looks like a plot.
- It’s not the size of your words that matters
- Successful writers establish long-term writing goals for themselves and long-term story goals for their protagonists and then set out to complete a series of short-term goals they believe will move them and their characters toward those final goals.
- Always be willing to change… repair mistakes, change your cover, change your blurb, change your marketing, and change your idea of what it means to be an indie author. We are living in a malleable time.
- Separate your editing from your writing. Otherwise you’ll be too critical when you need ideas to flow.
- If you claim writing is important, you’ll find the time to write. It’s that simple.
- Poetry As A Road to Prose – When Tolkien couldn’t express his thoughts in prose he “wrote much of it in verse.” He writes “The first version of the song of Strider concerning Luthien,… originally appeared in the Leeds University magazine, but the whole tale, as sketched by Aragorn, was written in a poem of great length.”
- Write at least five times a week. Doesn’t need to be long. Half an hour will do. But if you keep it up you will get there.
- Cut out all those Capital Letters–even in headings (I’m so on the fence on this one)
- If you are truly a Writer, you can run, but it’s already in your soul. Have you ever met a retired writer?
- Make sure you write what you mean
- Sometimes when you can’t write due to life/work/kids, don’t get frustrated, use it as brewing time.
- Unless required for voice-related purposes, avoid using “needless to say” or “utilize” or “awesome tits” in your writing. (Women: Fill in the blank: “Awesome _____.”)
What are your favorite tips?
Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and four ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, will be out this summer. Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.