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.

2 Replies to “Tips for writers”

  1. 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. Paula:
    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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