A lot of writers are often asked about how they write or what makes their thoughts flow so easily on paper. While every writer has a different approach towards the art of writing, it is important to know that writing doesn’t follow the ‘one rule fits all’ principle. It all depends on a number of things like what genre are you writing, is it an article or a short story or a screenplay, is it in first person or third, is it to be written and published or enacted on stage and many more.
“Writing is redefined thinking.”Stephen King, Author
Now whether you are a beginner in the world of writing or someone who is experiencing a writer’s block, here are some tips that will help you if you are starting out or just stuck-
Have a Writing System
Hemingway was an American journalist, novelist, and short story-ist whose brevity and inimitable style influenced an entire generation of fiction writers.
Stephen King is a prolific writer who has sold hundreds of millions of books, many of which have been made into movies and comics.
A.J. Jacobs is a journalist, lecturer, and editor at large for Esquire magazine.
You know what all these successful writers have in common? A honed writing system.
Hemingway always wrote in the morning, as soon as the sun rose. Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, rain or shine. Jacobs writes ever-more-detailed outlines-that-turn-into-books while walking on a treadmill.
So, if you want to be a great writer, don’t focus on great writing. Focus on creating and sticking to a great writing system.
Find a certain time of day when you can write without interruptions, and make it a routine. Whatever works for you, make it a must-do thing every single day. Write for at least 30 minutes, but an hour is even better. If you’re a full-time writer, you’ll need to write for several hours a day. It helps you get better.
Write for Yourself
Write because it gives you happiness and satisfaction and not because others have to read it. If you are happy and content with what you have written, then what others say would not push you off from the path of writing. Write for yourself and not for others. Remember the only person you have to please is yourself.
Write however or whatever you want to without judgement. This step is especially important if you are a beginner as this will help you form your thoughts at the same pace as penning them down. Write whatever you want and can think about. Initially it is difficult to process your thoughts and pen them down but over a period of time it will become easier to articulate your thoughts.
Read More, Watch Less
This may sound obvious, but it has to be said. If you don’t read great writing, you won’t know how to do it. Everyone starts by learning from the masters, by emulating them, and then through them, you find your own voice. Read a lot. As much as possible. Pay close attention to style and mechanics in addition to content.
TV Shows and Movies although encapsulate the writing process in the screenplay and dialogues, it does hamper imagination as a writer. It helps to read more and you become more aware of literary tools and techniques that will better your writing skills.
Read all sorts of literature– poetry, romance, horror, comedy etc. Do not restrict yourself to one kind. It increases your literary horizons and also makes it easier to write as you vocabulary becomes vast.
Do Your Research
Before writing, read and research about the subject as much as possible. The more you research, the more aware you become about the topic. It will give you more room to explore the possibilities about handling the theme in focus. Not everything you read will be helpful when writing but it will certainly add to your knowledge base.
Re-read your work. Refine it as you like. When you read and re-read, you find better ways to express yourself. Authors are often heard quoting that even their published work feels like a work in progress to them.
Go back over everything, looking not only for grammar and spelling mistakes, but for unnecessary words and awkward structures and confusing sentences. Aim for clarity, for strength, for freshness.
When you start writing, remove all distractions from around you as they will only interrupt your train of thought. Writing does not work well with multi-tasking or background noise. It’s best done in quiet, or with some mellow music playing. Clear away distractions so you can work without interruption.
Take Part in Competitions & Internships
A great way to write is to participate in writing competitions or enrol in internships. If you are a beginner, it is oftentimes difficult to figure out what to write about. Such competitions and internships usually provide you with a topic to write about. It helps you as this is the first step towards starting the act writing. Slowly when it becomes easier to write on anything given, it also becomes easier to write on your own without having been assigned a topic by someone.
If you are having a little writer’s block, a competition would help you focus on something not related to your current work and will help your creative juices flowing.
Here is one such competition that you can begin with- Article Writing Contest
There are no rules that define how one writes or how to start. It should, essentially, be as simple as feeling. A lot of people are heard saying “I can’t write” and while they are not entirely wrong, what people need to realise is that Practice makes you perfect. If they keep writing and are not deterred by negative self-critiques, they would over a period of time become amazing writers.