The Best Writing Advice Evah!
In response to my crowdsource request for “the best writing advice you have to offer,” here are the results, with a few of my own thrown in for good measure. Because advice is always best when passed along. 🙂
1. “Revising is easier than writing. Start somewhere. Anywhere.”
2. “Ever see the film A River Runs Through It? Tom Skerritt is the boys’ father and is teaching them how to write. His son comes in with an essay, Skerritt marks it up, hands it back and says “Half as long.” I’ve always been a fan of concision. (Just not in this comment.) There’s also a book!”
3. “Write what you know. Simple, classic, and true.” (The classics never go out of style!)
4. “Most of the best writing concerning our given topic normally comes at the end. For example, that aha! moment happens more often than not at the end of the paper/essay and it is where the real creative parts of your thoughts begin. If you are struggling with an essay because of a lack of substantial information, or really trying to rethink your thesis, Start at the end. Find that part where your thoughts really coalesce. Once you find that spot, start from there and REWRITE. I can’t stress the idea of “rewriting.” Rewriting as not as starting over, but a way of restating exactly what it is you are trying to say in the first place. In doing so, you create something new. The end is often the beginning and the best part of your writing! I have used this every time I struggle and it has helped tremendously every time I am stuck or revising.”
5. “Breathe, [insert your name here]. Breathe.”
6. “I find I get the best results by trying to weave together two ideas; call it the Reese’s Theory. It lends the prose a complexity and depth and sometimes generates that elusive unplanned creativity – you know, ‘Wow, did I write that?’ It also helps me to concentrate on the idea content instead of the style. As advice goes, perhaps it is not all that useful to others, but in that instance when you struggle to decide between two equally compelling concepts – I say, try using them both!”
7. “Not only does the First Draft of something NOT have to be perfect, but it doesn’t even have to be GOOD. It is a “Zero Draft,” and once you have gotten it out of the way, you can comfortably begin.” (I love this idea of a “Zero Draft.” It would make writing it a lot less intimidating, I suspect.)
8. There is no such thing as perfect when it comes to writing. Polished, clean prose? Yes. Well-written, well-structured, and well-organized? Absolutely. Perfect? No way. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to achieve “perfect.” Stop chasing the unicorn.
9. “Think of writing in small chunks or “islands.” Then writing doesn’t seem so big and scary.” (I now do this with almost everything I write and it really works!)
10. “Always end your writing for the day in the middle of a thought or a paragraph. It cuts down on writer’s block the next day, because you know exactly where to begin.”
11. “Give yourself the space and time to write. Schedule it, and prep your writing space accordingly.”
12. “Speak from the heart when you write.” (Another variation of this excellent advice is to spill your guts on the page. I love that. And it really does result in prose that other people want to read.)
13. “Do 3-5 minutes of freewriting right before you begin your writing session. Sketch out the scene you are going to write or the next part of your article. It will put you in the right mindset so you can dive right in instead of facing that blinking cursor cold.”
And because I’m not superstitious in the least, I’m leaving it at 13. Now what are you waiting for? Go tackle that writing project! 🙂