Writing Tip # 5 The importance of reading.
Now to most of my readers out there this post is going to be a no brainer. If you are wanting to a writer, whether it be a journalist or novelist or whatever, it would be a good idea that you enjoy reading and do it as often as you can.
Once again I know that this is going to seem like something that should be more then obvious to everyone but I have actually met writers who did not read anything. Now they could all read so they all made the choice not to read. Let me lay out some ground work here so you can fully understand what I am talking about.
A friend of mine tells me that they are a writer as well, not only that but that he had finished and published two novels! I was so excited to have found a kindred heart that I immediately got my hands on his novels and dove in. I noticed that there were a few things that were slightly off almost as soon as I began reading it.
The biggest things I noticed was the set up of the pages, there weren’t indentations at the begging of paragraphs. There was no punctuation at all and nothing seemed to flow. So I decided to go and ask him about this and that is when I discovered something crazy.
He told me that he absolutely hated reading……. hated it. So of course my next question was then why do you want to be a writer and his response was because its better then what he was doing for a living at the time.
Writing is not a job you do just because you want to get rich and famous, or because its better then what ever it is you are doing. You write because you love the art of writing. Because all you think about all day, everyday is putting words to the stories that dance through your head.
By reading you are getting ideas, finding new ways to write and express details. You are sharpening your craft and doing research for future projects that you haven’t even thought of yet.
Well that’s all for this week….. I guess it just bugged me and I had to share it with you guys.
If you want to be a writer you should be a reader first.
Writing Tip # 4 – Your tools.
So I know that just about everyone now a day’s uses a computer or laptop or even a tablet to do their writing. I met one writer who wrote his entire manuscript on his iPhone. And while I will say that I believe that using a computer is the best way to write I do have say though that it is not the only way to write.
I use a laptop for about 96% of my writing. The other 4% I do with pen and paper and for the reasons why I even still use pen and paper is because I feel like I get closer to my writing. It also helps when you have an idea on the fly and you need to write it down real fast.
I feel that if you write exclusively on your computer you could lose touch with your characters and I have seen so many people write their novels like a facebook post because of that.
This is definitely a subject that requires the caption To Each His Own though. If you hate using technology to do your writing that’s fine, you might lose some benefits to have the internet and spell check but it is still completely possible to write without it.
So in closing I would recommend experimenting with different forms of writing. Look up your favorite authors and see what they do and try it out. Some of my greatest ideas have come off a $.97 note book that I keep in my back pocket.
Writing tip #3- Work on your writing all day.
Now I know what you are thinking. How can we work on our writing all day? We have jobs and lives and families. Well so do I.
Right now I am finishing up my second novel, promoting my first novel. I have two kids, a house to take care of, a 62 hour a week job and I am getting ready to go back to college here in a month so trust me I know what busy is.
But even through all that craziness I still have time to work on my writing all day. The trick is to be in a constant state of a writer. While I am at work I am thinking about ideas for my current writing project or even future writing projects.
I take my laptop with me to work every day and I make sure that I write at least one page during my lunch hour. There are even more ways to keep working on your writing then just what I am doing.
I have met writer who kept pen and paper on them at all times and could be seen constantly writing notes down throughout the day.
Now there are two main reasons that these are great practices for a writer. Number 1 being that you are getting work done. By working on your writing every day you are ensuring that your work will get done and probably in a timely manner.
The number 2 reason is because it will make your work better and make you a better writer. If the only time you wrote was when you were sitting in a dusty office under a single lamp then most likely your writing will be missing the spark and shimmer that makes a great novel.
For example, I was at a corn maze two years ago while I was still outlining my second novel. It was around Halloween and we were with some friends doing this corn maze together. As it turned out this corn maze was done very well and we got lost. Not kind of lost like “ha-ha were lost this is so funny.” That kind of lost went out the window at hour 1 by hour 2 we were debating just walking straight through the rows of corn to get the heck out of there.
While we were working our way through the labyrinth of corn we came to path where water had eroded the top layer of soil around the corn stocks. So at the base of the corn you could see about an inch of the roots but the corn was still standing.
I had seen in passing but it caught my attention and I took dozens of pictures of it. I wound up using the design of the plant in my second novel in a big way and if I would have never seen the plant or if I had not been thinking about that particular part of my book when I had seen it then who knows what would have happened in the book.
Writing Tips #2- Do not get obsessed with what other writers around you are doing.
Writers enjoy the company of other writers. It is nice to spend time with people who understand the joys and struggles of being a writer. It can also be a great way to bounce ideas around and help out other writers.
It can also quickly become a way to get distracted from doing good quality work and instead become a competition to see who can finish their book first.
Every writer has their own style. While its true that if you look at a writer and dig into who their favorite authors are you will probably find a lot of similarities. This is because we take our favorite parts of the authors we like and add them to our own writing style. This is also true about writing processes. I have read up on some of my favorite authors and looked into how they go about writing their books. I then tried a few of their techniques out to see if any of them worked for me.
When I had first gotten into my current writing group I was the only one taking on the task of writing a fantasy epic that was going to break 150k words, not to mention be the first book in a series of 5.
Everyone else took the smarter road and tried smaller stand alone novels for their first work. We all spent months working hard and going through the struggles that authors go through but after only six months their books were finished and I was still no where near finished with mine.
I quickly lost sight of the reason I was writing in the first place and started spitting out poorly written chapters just so I could finish my book as well. It just made more work for me in the end because I was had to go back and toss all those chapters because they were not up to the standard of the book and I had to rewrite everything.
So take your time and make sure you are happy with your work. Do not sacrifice good quality writing and the story you want just to compete with someone.
This is it for this week but I will be trying to update and post new stuff every Sunday so check back next week!