Hello Dear Writer.
I am encouraged you have come here to investigate some tips for writing. We all have much to learn and I think, like most professions, our learning does not stop. We can only keep learning, keep growing and keep getting better at our craft.
1. Get it down.
Just write it down. Don’t stop to edit. Don’t rewrite. Just get it down. However it comes out and no matter how ugly it is, at first, get it down. Editing can come later once you have the whole story down. We don’t have to make it perfect the first time we type those words out. We, dear writer, just need to write down the story. May I suggest when you are writing, and need to stop, stop in a section that you know what is coming next. That way when you return you can continue writing. I find when I do this I am able to keep writing, but if I write to the end of a scene the next time I sit down to write I end up struggling to move forward. So learn from me to end in the middle of a scene.
2. Edit and Edit Some More
Once you have your entire story written down, you can begin editing it. Once you have gone through the first editing process, go back and do it again. Then do it a third time. Nothing is perfect the first time and it won’t be perfect after the second draft.
3. Get A Critique
Once you have edited your work as far as you can alone, take your work to someone you trust to be both honest and critical. (It would be helpful if they also were strong grammatically.) Ask them to read it and to make comments, suggestions and grammatical corrections on the draft. Plus, they should comment about the flow and pace of the story. Also give them a deadline. I find if you leave it open ended they make take longer than you desire. I suggest a month.
4. Edit Again
Take the comments, suggestions and questions your trusted friend provided on your draft and begin to edit. A word of caution here. You must be open to the criticism and no hold on too tightly to your baby (writing). Look at your writing and their comments and begin editing. A second word of caution. Not all criticism is helpful. As the author of your work you must decide what is valid suggestions and what is not. It can be a tricky thing to do because our pride can blind us to the truth and we can ignore good suggestions or we can be so uncertain about our work that we are blown from one opinion to another changing everything because someone said this or that. So eyes open…begin to edit.
5. Critique Again
I like to get a few critiques of my work. You can do this by finding another trusted friend to edit your work or you can find an actual editor and pay for their service. The benefit of having another friend do the edit is that it will not cost you anything other than perhaps a cup of coffee from Starbucks. Whereas a professional edit can cost from $500 and up depending on the service you request. The benefit of this service is you will get someone who is exceptional at spotting grammar issues, plot problems, pacing issues and so forth. Plus, it will be a completely unbiased critique. Our friends may go easy on us because they don’t want to hurt our feelings or discourage us. (Well…some friends might go easy on us.)
6. Edit Again.
As you can see, editing is a big process in writing and should never be done quickly or nonchalantly. Once again, take the criticism and begin writing.
7. Save it on a USB
This may seem like a silly thing to mention, but you must back up your work on an outside source other than your computer’s hard drive. Should your computer crash (and it will if it hasn’t already) you want, need, must have your work saved on an outside source. I have my work on a USB that I keep on a lanyard around my neck. And, recently, I purchases an external hard drive. These items are not expensive and they can save a lot of tears, hair pulling and foul language.
You have come to the end of your novel. You have edited your work (numerous times) and have polished it to a shine. Now, go and celebrate your success. You have done it! You have written your story! Don’t worry about getting it published yet – we’ll deal with that a little later. Now is the time to pat your self on the back for a job well done!
If you want to see some ways other famous writers keep writing check out this website: Daily Routines of 12 Famous Writers. Then come back here and let me know how it is going, do you find the tips helpful, did you try the tips, and let’s continue to encourage each other on our writing journeys. No matter your age, you can write and we can do this…together!
Until next time!