Writing is a craft and just like any craft you have work hard to get it to a good standard. Most writers will admit that when they look at their early works, they cringe in disgust. They want to take what they wrote and hurl it into an incinerator. Stare at it in a twisted rage and watch it burn before collecting the ashes and heading to a remote island where they will dig to the earth’s core with their bare hands to bury the blasted thing for it to never surface again.
But if you can get past that (not many people do) and you have the writing flair, patience and grit to practice until you get it right, you could create something wonderful.
Knowing that you want to write is a great start. Writing is a process and can often be a laborious task with very little reward, so you really have to love it – I mean the sick kind of love. I remember someone once saying:
“Writing is easy, you just have to sit and stare at a piece of paper until blood pours out of your eyes!”
You have to be a writer to appreciate that.
Here are three quick tips for you aspiring wordsmiths out there:
1. Read More
I know that this sounds like an obvious one, but you will not believe how little people read these days, even aspiring writers. Reading helps you discover different writing styles and can really help you to develop your own unique voice. Reading well-written, published books particularly in the genre that you are hoping to write in, can aid you in realising the mechanics of a book and how it should be structured. This includes writing fiction or non-fiction. So, blow the dust off the library card and get moving.
Remember: reading other people’s voices is to help you discover and develop your own – don’t copy other author’s voices – this never works as it usually appears forced and becomes obvious to your reader. And losing your readers defeats the purpose of your writing.
2. Transform from Aspiring Writer to Actual Writer
There are millions of aspiring writers out there – but most of them just aspire and don’t actually write. It is common for people to think that they have a book in their heads, but as long as it stays safely snuggled in your head, then you will always be an aspiring writer.
The key to writing is to write.
You don’t know if you got a knack for writing until you actually write. So, get writing. And just like any other creative craft, the more you do it, the better you become at it. It is difficult to keep focused, especially when writing something long like a novel, so it is crucial to get into a habit of writing.
Motivation only takes you so far, the rest of the journey is done with habit.
Work out a schedule of when you’re going to write and stick it to it. No one has spare time – you have to make time for the things you love to do. In my opinion, if you don’t obsessively love writing, the chances are that you’ll never finish a book. And your fragmentary manuscript will live alongside millions of other incomplete texts in the realm of unfinished manuscripts.
So, love it – write it – finish it!
3. Don’t Get Too Complex
It is very easy to get carried away with words. Words can be beautiful and elegant. Words can spread peace and love, and they can start wars and cause misery. But when carefully and skilfully constructed, words can whisk a reader away into another world.
But often writers try to take an aggressive approach to this when there really is no need. When you start constructing all your sentences to sound like a beautiful form of poetry you can bore your reader or worse, confuse your reader.
Readers love words, hence why they’re reading, but they usually love meeting exciting characters and trekking into new worlds and getting lost in engaging plots. When you start making your writing too complicated, you typically fail at keeping your reader turning the pages. Readers want to escape into your book not decipher an encrypted new language.
Keep it simple – keep it engaging.