At times all we need is someone to point the way, to motivate us when we’re feeling as though our writing world is crashing down on us. Here are some tips to help you out of a slump.
- There’s a reason why you keep reading this over and over again in almost every writing how-to book: read, read, and then read some more. The fact is, the more you read the more you pick up various authors’ styles—the way they string words together, the way they use most of the five senses, the way they bring their imaginary world to life by their descriptive details. Reading is part of the educational process in order for you to grow as a writer. And I’m not saying to copy them, but to study them. What is it about their writing that pulls you in? Knowing the answer helps you to work on your own style and perfect areas where you’d love readers to be just as enthralled as you are with your favorite author.
- When you feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall (avoid clichés–do as I say and not what I do) then put down your manuscript and walk away for a spell. A bit of distance to clear your mind allows you to come back refreshed and not story blind.
- When looking over your manuscript, look at it objectively. Put away your writer’s hat and wear your reader’s chapeau. Is your work fully fleshed out? Are your characters believable? Does the setting make an impression on you? Can you tell what period the story is set? Is there clarity in your sentences [as writers we tend to know what we want to transmit to the reader but at times we fall short].
- Don’t wait until your book is published to begin marketing yourself or the book. Build yourself a website/blog and begin promoting yourself, or rather, brand yourself as a writer. Write articles/stories and sub them to various outlets. Get some publishing credits. You need to begin the hype about your book before it hits the bookstores.
- Begin researching various publishers suitable for your book now. At the same time, research agents who deal with your genre. Don’t waste your time and theirs by submitting a manuscript not suitable for their guidelines. READ guidelines carefully and adhere to them.
- Rejections are part of a writer’s life. Get over it.
- Did I mention to read, read, and then read some more?
- Remember why you write and have fun. Don’t give yourself ridiculous deadlines or goal plans. Think through your commitments before you accept them. What do I mean? If you work a 14 hour shift almost every day and then commit to writing 4 hours a day, let’s just say that is going to fall into Niagara Falls quicker than you can blink. Knowing your lifestyle, pick goals or rather break your writing schedule to something more attainable, like a half to an hour a day. I prefer time limits than word counts then again every writer has their own preference. Just don’t push yourself to fail and feel miserable by giving yourself unattainable schedules.
- Join a writer’s group and a critique group. They are valuable areas to help you fine-tune your writing. Or gather some beta readers who are eager and willing to give you their impressions of each draft as you move your novel forward. Remember to have a tough skin…criticism is part of a writer’s life.
- Don’t sit and think too much about what to write next. There are different methods for different writers, and you need to figure out if you are:
*the type who needs to outline the whole story before you write or
*the one who writes the whole story down while it’s fresh in your head and then worries about the filling in stage [narrative/taglines/five senses/plot building, etc.] and editing.
I fall in the B category. My first drafts all look like screenplays and directions in the beginning. Then, with each draft, I perfect descriptions, character profiles, plots/subplots, and everything else that’s needed to make a thoroughly memorable and enjoyable read for my readers.
I’d love to hear from you with any other tips you may have for writers, things perhaps you use in your own writing.
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Until next time, here’s a quick writing tip:
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