Tips for writers

People often ask me for writ­ing tips. They want to know how I can make myself sit in front of a com­puter day after day, key­ing in words, delet­ing them and start­ing all over again until I have a fin­ished art­icle or book.

The answer is that I like writ­ing. And for­tu­nately, I seem to be genet­ic­ally dis­posed to be being dis­cip­lined and focused. And it doesn’t hurt that I’ve learned to take rejec­tion as a sign – not of fail­ure – but that I can improve my work to strengthen its appeal. 

The best piece of advice I can give any­one is: sit down and write. Talking and think­ing about writ­ing are fine up to a point but, soon­er or later, you have to put words to paper or on a com­puter screen. 

But every writer – includ­ing me — struggles from time to time. It might be dif­fi­cult to access that neces­sary bit of research, the words might not flow in a cohes­ive and enga­ging man­ner and dis­trac­tions are often only a glance or mouse click away.

Here are a few things I’ve found bene­fi­cial to the writ­ing pro­cess.

-Read a lot, write a lot and then read some more.
-Know your theme and stick to it (mostly).
-Use act­ive voice.
-Pound out the first draft wtih little regard for pun­cuation and spelling. 
-Write as if you’re telling a story to your best friend.
-Create and keep a reg­u­lar writ­ing routine.
-Have a quiet place to work where you will not be dis­turbed.
-Learn to edit your writ­ing. 
-Listen to your intu­ition to determ­ine what works and what doesn’t.
-Enjoy the pro­cess – even the struggles.

Finding a quiet place to write is essen­tial.

The above might motiv­ate you to put your fin­gers to the key­board or you might have some oth­er ideas or tricks of the trade. If so, I’d love to hear about them.

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2 Responses to Tips for writers

  1. Paula says:

    What an intriguing pro­ject, Reg. I’m hon­oured by your invit­a­tion to co-author your book but I have a long list of my own books that I want to write so will have to decline.

    Since you’ve already writ­ten 25 stor­ies that shows you have the dis­cip­line to be a writer — that’s import­ant. And you write well and clearly, that’s a bonus. Writing a book is sim­il­ar to writ­ing a story, there’s just a lot more detail. Why don’t you simply plunge in and start? If you get well and truly stuck, then you can take a work­shop or find someone to help you.

    In the mean­time, you might con­sider your mar­ket. Is this a book for friends and fam­ily to enjoy? If so, self-pub­lish­ing might be an option. If you think there is a wider audi­ence, you could invest­ig­ate tra­di­tion­al pub­lish­ing.

    Good luck with your pro­ject and keep in touch.

  2. Reg Wannamaker says:

    I’m writ­ing a book of things that have happened in my
    life over a long peri­od of time. I have about 25 stor­ies
    writ­ten in rough. One of the stor­ies was in the Record
    on Dec24, 2010.

    I have one story, Paula, of an American Civil war treas­ure
    bur­ied on a island in Lake Ontario. I know where the island
    is and the last part of the story behind it. I would like to put
    it togeth­er as one story, one book. But I don’t have the expert­ise
    to do it. The story would be part fic­tion and part fact. Paula,
    would you con­sider being a co-author and what would you expect
    in terms of pay­ment for such an assignment.….….….Reg

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