“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself…It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.”
Welcome to Writerzblox.net’s March 2012 Newsletter! This month we have some tips to improve your writing, as well as book recommendations, a monthly writing prompt, free wallpaper, tips, tricks and plenty of inspiration.
Many people yearn to write but don’t because they believe they won’t be good enough. The only way to become a better writer is to write. What many new writers don’t realize is that most books you read have been edited and polished to perfection. Most writers make mistakes, have awkward prose and they all have been beginners. If you want to be a writer, improving your writing skills should be on the top of your list, here are some tips to get you started.
Write! This seems like an obvious point however; many times, practice is all we need to hone our writing voice. Try to make it a habit to write daily whether it is a journal or blog. The shear act of putting words on paper Will improve your writing ability. What is the old adage “practice makes perfect”?
“If you wish to be a writer, write.”~ Epictetus
Read! Another no-brainer but essential for those wanting to write. Reading voraciously not only inspires and motivates, it also teaches you about the written word. Even bad writing can help you learn what not to do. Reading other authors can teach you so much about the craft of plotting, character development and dialogue. It is important however to read like a writer. What is it that you like about a particular author? What makes their work stand out? Read more and more authors in your genre and use what you learn to perfect your writing style. Don’t forget to read outside of your genre too, exposing yourself to different styles can help you broaden your horizons.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Write from the heart! Don’t worry about what others will think or say, write wholeheartedly for yourself. Write what makes you feel alive. If you write police procedurals but are concerned your neighbours will worry about your stability… DON’T! Writers use their imagination – that is one of the tools in their arsenal. By self-censoring, you will take the passion out of your writing for both yourself and your readers.
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~ William Wordsworth
Keep a journal! Always have a notebook on hand at all times to jot down ideas – in fact if practical, have several. Keep one in your bag, one in your car and one on your nightstand for those fleeting dreams that inspire you. Sometimes people think they will remember an idea or concept but often lose the flow of an idea…writing it down while it’s fresh will capture what perhaps inspired it.
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” ~Saul Bellow
Study the craft! Studying grammar and structure, whether it’s via a course, books, or online, will teach you the mechanics of writing and will help you lay the foundation to your writing success. Books such as Strunk & White:The Elements of Style and Roy Peter Clark’s 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer will help you get the basics. Also, here are two fantastic websites which offer free writer’s courses:
Poynter News University ~http://www.newsu.org/
Purdue Online Writing Lab ~ http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
“Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them.Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.” ~Truman Capote
Believe! If you want to be a writer the one key is to believe in yourself. Rejection is part of the writing business, but if you work at your craft and believe in your abilities so will others. Practice your craft, put in the work and say to yourself “I am a writer”.
“The hardest part is believing in yourself at the notebook stage. It is like believing in dreams in the morning.” ~Erica Jong
This Month’s Affirmation: “I put my heart and soul into everything I write.”
The Right to Write – An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life
by Julia Cameron
CDN$ 17.50 via amazon.ca
The Right to Write gives you the tools to make the most of your creative drive. This book is composed of over 40 brief personal essays and exercises also known as “invitations” that are an endless source of inspiration. In The Right to Write, Cameron teaches you valuable tools to tackle problems such as procrastination, insecurity, lack of writing space and a lack of time. Cameron’s advice is valuable to anyone who has felt overwhelmed by the act of writing and helps you to break it down into pieces that are more manageable. This book is a favourite of many writers and will be a book you can revisit anytime you are in need of a dose of inspiration.
Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life
List Price:CDN$ 16.61
The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain [Paperback]
by Alice Weaver Flaherty
List Price:CDN$ 18.95
Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within [Paperback]
by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett
List Price:CDN$ 15.95
We all have an inner critic, that nasty voice that tells you to give up, that you can’t write and not to waste your time. I hope that as time goes by, you have learned to ignore it and move on, but if you haven’t, what better way to say good-bye to that critic than by writing it a “Dear John” letter. For those of you who have been lucky enough to not be the giver or receiver of such a letter~ it’s basically a letter you send to end a relationship and bid adieu.
To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”
Is there a decision you’ve been thinking about but avoiding because it seemed too daunting?
If you followed through on that decision, what would the worst possible outcome be? Now, what would the best possible outcome look like? Does the decision still seem daunting? What steps can you take to help the outcome be a positive one?
Reflect and write!