Here’s a strange but true thing about writing- it’s an art form that can never quite be described as perfect. Like any other art form, writing comes in multiple styles and presentations, so one can never truly judge one style as better than another. However, for us writers, the perspective is different; we look at writing as something that has to be perfect before it is allowed to go public. After all, it is embarrassing to present an untidy piece of art and expect consumers to spill their pockets. Good writing is important but knowing how to make good writing into better writing is crucial when it comes to gaining a fan following of happy and engrossed readers.
Great authors have this automatic alarm of sorts in their head that goes off every time they think of new ways to better their next or current novel. If you’ve got an overactive right brain, don’t be surprised to find yourself pondering over a better plot, characters, theme for your story or story element at the oddest of places and times. Here’s a list of must-follow tips on how to write better.
One day at a time
The best authors know that to become a great novelist, you cannot simply plonk down in front of a computer, type out a story and be done with it. Writing is an everyday activity, and you must learn to blend it along with your daily routine. The more consistent you are, the better your writing will be. So, start writing with a set of goals in mind to keep yourself motivated.
- Participate in writing competitions
If you find it hard to motivate yourself to put pen to paper, you could always try enrolling in writing competitions. There are innumerable writing competitions that award all sorts of writing forms, so keep a lookout for the ones that match your style and genre of writing. One such competition is NaNoWriMo, a multi-genre and multi-style competition that encourages authors to write a novel in 30 days. It is not only challenging but also highly motivating, as it urges you to keep track of your novel and finish it before the 30th day.
- Time your writing
If you are a budding author, you probably have a day job to earn a stable income while you weave together a story for personal gain. Balancing your day job with your writing is key in bringing out great stories. Work with the clock, and discover a suitable time after your job to work on your book. Great writers get the best of their ideas in the dead of the night, so if you are dreaming away an awesome plot, wake yourself up and jot it down immediately.
- Eat healthy
All of us have come across the expression “food for thought,” and what a powerful expression it is. Your think tank is draining itself on a regular basis, and like any motorised engine, it works terribly on low fuel. While you don’t necessity have to gorge down on any edible item, you must have a routine diet that involves amazing foods that help you write better.
- Stay positive
Be it Zen or any other ancient philosophy, the base of the teaching is “don’t worry, be happy.” Since you are dabbling with the creative arts, your work is bound to get criticized. The secret to having a healthy mind is to ensure a positive attitude and not get hurt by bad reviews. Take every book review you receive in a positive way; this will help you understand how to better your writing for your next big release.
The technical aspects
Behind all the beautiful artwork that comes in the form of a well-written book, there lies a science that writers need to constantly learn and apply to their repertoire. Your novel is not finished until it is finished, and that includes the many technical aspects of editing, proofreading and designing the cover. These are the little ingredients that, when mixed together in the right proportions, make a big difference to the finish of your book.
- Improve your vocabulary
English is a complex language, and while it’s not advisable to fill your novel with complex sentence structures, you must make it a point to learn new words every day. The better your vocabulary, the better will be your style of writing. You could even try cooking up new words and giving the meaning in footnotes. There is no limit to the use language, and some of the best authors in the world have practically created their own unique dictionaries. Remember, the best way to write great stuff is to get inspired by reading books that improve your writing skill.
- Stay clear of clichés
How many books have you come across that follow the same pattern of plot points and use of phrases? Such clichés are sadly quite automatic, and you will surely find yourself using a few to fill in or drive the plot forward. The best thing to do is to read your story out loud every time you finish a chapter or a paragraph. Reading it out loud will help you understand whether the cliché fits well or is unnecessary. Whether you are writing a horror novel or an adventure novel, it is necessary to do a little research before you begin to better understand what has been used and reused.
- Take advantage of online tools
The age of the Internet is a blessing for writers. Gone are the tedious processes one had to go through to get their book written, edited, designed and published. Now, everything can be done with a few clicks, which has given rise to the art of self-publishing. Remember to ensure you have decent internet connection and are aware of the many tools authors can utilize to get their novels published faster.
- Write for one audience
Many authors have the initial trouble of trying to figure out who they want to write for. The thing is, you can never be too sure of the demographic that is likely to pick up your book off the shelf. The best thing to do is to write for one audience; it could be a family member or a friend whom you feel will serve as a good critic. When you start writing with that one person’s reading habits in mind, you will have a better idea as to what language, plot structure and characters will make that one person engrossed and delighted with your book.
All play and no work
Great authors take their writing seriously; it is as good as a profession as it is their passion. But, if you approach writing as a task that has to be forcibly done everyday just so you manage to write a chapter or two, you will never be able to better your skills as an author. Do what every other professional at any other job would do – take a break! Sometimes, doing no work at all can prove to be the best way to improve your knowledge about those little things that make your writing skills better.
Apart from a healthy meal, you have to, and simply have to, make it a point to hit the gym. If the gym doesn’t work out, take your mind off the book and focus on flexing your body muscles in some form of physical activity. Exercise has proven to be a great energy booster, both physically and mentally, and it can also help in breaking the occasional writer’s block.
- Take a retreat
Ideas can stem from anywhere and at any time, but if you feel that you’ve exhausted all possible ways of ideating, then maybe it’s time to pack your bags. Traveling is another wonderful thing to do if you need to refresh your senses. Visiting a new place, or simply taking a retreat, will instantly give your creative brain a new blank canvas to structure stories in.
Confused over what character to add to your story? Step out and make new friends! The best fictional characters and character traits come from real people, so get social and have conversations with random people at random places. The best places for a writer to do so are book clubs and book cafes.
- Write your moods down
They say writing is a great healer and that is best justified when you are feeling down or going through any other negative emotion. When you are in a terrible mood, you unintentionally create impressive story ideas that can go well with any theme for your novel.
It is important not be bogged down by that obsessive need to make your first draft perfect. The best of writing styles begin in the worst of ways, so be open to making a mess of your writing before you set about getting it perfected. If you feel the need to ask an extra pair of hands and brains to help you make your writing better, contact Notion Press – a popular self-publishing agency that makes perfection a priority.