Have you always dreamed of writing a book but never had the confidence to give it a try? Or maybe you just want to improve your writing skills but don’t know where to start.
Well, the good news is that writing is a skill that can be learned. With enough time and practice, you will find that your writing improves significantly.
Over the years, I have written every form of content known to man, but I still don’t consider myself an expert when it comes to writing. It’s the one area where you can never know enough. There are always new things to learn, better ways of doing things and new ideas that need to be explored.
As for as writing is concerned, there is no endpoint. There is no right or wrong. The only way to know if you’re any good at all is by the number of people who tell you they enjoy reading your work. And even then, this is subjective.
Whenever I sit down to write, I basically write for myself. I explore the subjects that I am passionate about. Then I send my work out into the world and hope that somewhere along the way, it ends up in the hands of someone who feels the same way as I do. It’s all I can do.
There was a time when I tried to copy other people’s writing style and write about subjects that seemed to be in vogue with publishers. But I felt like a fraud. They weren’t topics I felt passionately about and I ended up staring at an empty computer screen. It was only when I decided to go back to writing about subjects that I cared about that the words began to flow again.
Where do I start?
1. Be authentic – this is my number one tip. Write about the things that make your heart sing. The things that you enjoy reading about and in a genre that appeals to you. Don’t think about the commercial viability of your work at this point. Just sit and write. Anything is publishable if it is written in the right way.
2. Read, read, read – a lot of blogs on writing will tell you to read the greats, but who exactly are the greats? I think it’s more important to study the genre you want to write in. I write children’s books so when I’m not reading real estate, home decorating or financial blogs for work, I am surrounded by picture books. I read them over and over again. I study the structure, the language, the tone – everything. Then I come with my own ideas and start working on my manuscripts.
3. Write a lot – it’s easy to get caught up in life and never find the time to write. But if you are want to become a better writer, you have to work at your craft. Even though I spend my days writing business copy, I always find an hour to work on my manuscripts – every single day. Find a time that works for you and make it part of your daily routine. I never, ever miss a day.
4. Keep a notebook – inspiration can strike at any time, so make sure you are always prepared. I have notebooks everywhere – in my bag, in my car, and even next to my bed. Some of my best ideas have come from watching children playing at the park, conversations I have overheard, and dreams that I was lucky enough to remember. Sometimes my scribbled notes end up in the bin, but other times the idea is golden and I turn it into a picture book that hopefully someone will love.
5. Start strong – it doesn’t matter what you are writing, you need to hook your readers from the moment they pick up your book or click on your blog post. A powerful headline or introduction will encourage your audience to keep reading, which is the aim of any writer. It doesn’t matter how wonderful your content is. If you don’t immediately grab their attention, you will lose them forever.
6. Revise, revise, revise – writing your copy is only the first step in the writing process. The most important part is the revision process. Writers are often so relieved to finish a piece of work that they send it off to publishers or post it on their blogs as soon as they finish writing it. But this is a big mistake. I guarantee that if you let your copy sit for a day or two, you will find a number of things that need to be changed when you go back to it. You can’t rush the writing process. If you do, you will end up with inferior work that no-one will want to read.
So now that you know where to start, it’s time to start writing. You never know, you might just surprise yourself!
If you need a copywriter or editor to help you with your content, contact me for a free quote.