Disclaimer: I don’t think I have any business telling anybody HOW to write. I’m an amateur blogger, who writes mostly about life and love; I’m no Shakespeare or John Green or J.K. Rowling.
Still, some people ask me how to write (and I have no idea how to respond properly, as I’m just a geek with a lot of opinions, a laptop and Internet access), so I’ll do my best to help. Without further ado, here are my top five tips for writing:
1. Check out “The Elements Of Style” by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White.
This one is a technical tip I can offer. When I first got out of high school, I thought that opening a journal or a Word Document was all I needed to know about writing. After going to college and taking up journalism, I realized that there was more to it, like style and grammar. This book is worth taking a peek.
2. Be honest.
Writing is the only place where I know how to be completely honest. When I write, my thoughts and feelings flow onto the page, which has really helped me tell the world exactly how I feel and what I think. Page views and reader comments aren’t necessary to validate your writing. Write for yourself, to express whatever you really want to say.
Writing as honestly as you can helps to make your piece become more personal and heartfelt, something that (based on my experience) helps readers to better connect with you.
3. Write about things that interest you. Things about which you care, things you know, things you feel.
I chose to become a corporate drone after studying journalism for years because I didn’t want to write about sports or politics or business and I didn’t want people to tell me that I was a worthless writer because of it.
I have friends who write about sports or news and it works for them because it’s important to them. I, on the other hand, aspire to write about life and love, so I just stopped writing altogether. Eventually, though, I missed it and I tried writing again. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.
It doesn’t matter to me anymore that I can’t write deep, universal articles about current events. I write about the things I love because they are the things I know best. Negative comments shouldn’t undermine your thoughts (unless you’re writing a news piece based on non-credible “facts”). Write for you and about the things that are relevant to you.
4. Find your voice and USE IT.
Every writer is different. Some feel the need to use flowery language and repetitive words to get the point across. Others are straightforward and concise. But, every single writer has a voice: find yours and use it.
You don’t have to write to please every single reader that comes across your piece or copy the ways other writers tell their stories. You don’t have to stick to one style forever. Every story can be told differently — all you have to do is write in the way that’s most comfortable for you.
5. Don’t EVER let anybody tell you that you can’t write.
Like I said, you write for YOU and you can’t please all the readers in the world. Don’t let negative comments or judgmental messages get to you. Don’t stop writing because some other person said you couldn’t do it. Keep writing because you know in your heart that you should.
Want to write? Just grab a pen and a paper, your laptop, your tablet, your phone — whatever works best for you. Then, go sit somewhere quiet, play your favorite music and write away.
Do you have other tips that work for you? Share them!
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