Writing tips for the beginner: the 10 skills needed to become a writer.
Think you have at least one book inside you? If you think it will make a good read and entertain, it’s time you took steps to let it out. Writing a book and getting it published is not a simple undertaking.
Here are 10 writing tips: the skills you need to help pull it off:
Communicating effectively & being understood
Writing is a form of communication. And how well your readers understand your message will depend on how good a communicator you are. There are many techniques at your disposal that you can use to communicate your thoughts succinctly. An excellent writing tip is to take time to understand your target audience can help you choose an appropriate writing voice and style they can relate to. Depending on the type of book you’re writing, you can make use of imagery, figures of speech, and dialog. Communicating your thoughts effectively also involves being able to write well, which brings us to the next step.
A good command of language
If you have ever read (or tried to read) a story or article that had glaring errors in spelling or grammar, you probably became distracted. Likewise, if you want to write a book that makes sense and keep your readers engaged, you must avoid similar mistakes. If you’re not already good with language arts you must work on your spelling. Ensure you practice using correct grammar and punctuation, and avoid syntax errors. There is some leeway when it comes on to writing dialog but, overall, your language skills need to be bulletproof.
Coming up with suitable book titles and ideas can be a challenge for many aspiring writers. They simply don’t know what topics to write about even though they might have a natural flair for writing. This can sometimes be as a result of waiting for an idea to somehow fall from the blue sky, instead of purposefully trying to find a topic. If you are not sure what to write about, you might want to work on your brainstorming skills. A few writing tips and techniques to try include:
- Examining your area of professional expertise for topics you can write confidently about.
- Paying attention to your surroundings for happenings that could spur ideas.
- Keeping a notebook to jot down ideas that might appear when you’re out and about.
- Staying up to date with current affairs and trends.
- Asking friends, co-workers, or family members for ideas.
- More ideas here
The ability to do research your chosen topic
Having research skills is a must for any serious writer, regardless of whether you plan to publish fiction or non-fiction books. Research is vital in order to add details that will make your story believable, readable, or valuable to the reader. Doing research can be as easy as going on the Internet, although there might be reason to go to a library or conduct interviews, depending on what you’re writing about. The important thing to remember is that you will need to make time for it.
If you think about it, writing is a form of acting. A good actor is one who knows how to be convincing in the different roles they play. As a writer, your mind needs to work in a similar manner, unless, of course, your book is exclusively about you. If you’re writing a book with multiple characters, you will need to convincingly and consistently portray the unique personalities of each throughout the story. Being able to keep personalities separate and use different voices is a skill that can set you apart from average writers.
Like most people, you probably have other areas of your life that need your attention, whether it’s a full-time job, caring for kids, or just taking care of yourself. Not being able to find the time is among the reasons why many writers fail to start or finish a book. But sometimes, the real issue is a lack of being organized. For example, having a work schedule and making use of calendars can help to govern how much time you spend on a task and when you might find time for writing, as well as assist in reminding you to do it. Organization is not only about managing your time, it also has to do with how you lay out your story when you are ready to write. For instance, spending time to create a story outline might help your thoughts to flow better.
Editing & proof reading
After you’re finished writing, it’s a good idea to enlist the services of a good proofreader or copy editor. But one writing tip is that it might be in your best interest to learn how to do the initial editing yourself. Even if you have excellent language skills, your first draft will still, most likely, require some editing. This can include removing unnecessary text and re-writing unclear parts. Having the skill to do at least one round of editing can make it easier for the proofreader or copy editor to do their job. It might also reduce the chances of your draft being sent back to you because it requires too much work to fix.
Staying focused and committed to writing
In a world filled with distractions, it can be easy to go off track and lose sight of your goals. If you are serious about getting that book published, you will need to work on your ability to stay focused on the endgame. Start by keeping distracting tech such as smartphones off or away from your writing space. Some writers invest in simple typing machines that remove the need to hop on social media or check emails mid-chapter. In addition, some people use aids such as ambient music to keep them “in the zone” while writing.
Business knowledge & marketing
Not sure whether to try self-publishing platforms or go the traditional route once your book is complete? Nowadays, more and more authors are trying out self-publishing platforms such as Amazon. Others prefer the traditional route due to the high standards of some of the publishing houses. As you can imagine, there are pros and cons to choosing either or both. Having some knowledge of the publishing business will help you make the best decision that works for your book and how you plan to market it to readers.
The best writing tips is the ability to start writing
No matter how desirous you might be of becoming an author, but one obvious writing tip is the fact if you don’t write you will never be published. So, you need to actually start the process. This might sound pretty straightforward, yet the ability to begin – to get that first word, sentence, or chapter written – is often what cripples many aspiring authors. This can be as a result of mindset-related issues, such as having doubts, overthinking or serial procrastination. Getting started can seem difficult but it’s literally as easy as writing the first thing that comes to mind, even if it doesn’t make sense. The more actionable steps you take to begin your masterpiece, the higher the chances that you will be motivated to continue.
If you have ever wondered how to go about writing a book or maybe even made an attempt but failed to finish, you’re not alone. There are many people who desire to write a book and have never managed to get around to it, sometimes because they simple lack the skills required. If that’s you, it’s easy to find help from writing tips blogs like this one. There are also a multitude of people out there willing to help you with the business side of things. So, there’s no reason you can’t become an author. As the saying goes, the best time to start was years ago…the next best time is right now.
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