Tips From Great Writers

Writing a book is not an easy task to tackle (more of that later though), and sometimes we need guidance and encouragement to get us through this phase and get us to finish that darn book. Who better to encourage us than the leaders of this challenging gift?

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Bestselling authors gave us more than just great reads to love and learn from. They also gave us a good deal of advice on being better writers. Let’s us examine the different stages of writing through the quotes of our favorite authors.

On Coming up with an idea:

“You can make anything by writing” – C.S. Lewis

No one says it best than the marvelous creator of Alice in Wonderland! There is no limit to creativity through writing. A strange or rare idea you may have, with the right plot and work, can easily be turned into a book.

“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it.” – Herman Melville

However, your idea can’t just be any idea. It must be one you put thought into and verified through immense research. To write great, your idea has to be great. If it isn’t, not even a thousand pages can make it look good.

“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there will always be better writers than you and there will always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.” – Neil Gaiman

“If there’s a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

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The legends Neil Gaiman and Toni Morrison encourage originality and being yourself with your ideas. It’s okay to be inspired by other authors but always try to do something that hasn’t been done redundantly before.

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” – Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow believes those late-night ideas may just be your best yet.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

Finally, once you’ve got your main idea, don’t doubt yourself and just go with your gut and see where it leads you.

On setting deadlines:

Before you start writing you need to have goals set and a deadline to when you’ll finish.

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” – Douglas Adams

Don’t let those deadlines whoosh by you because they’ll keep on going by and you won’t ever start or finish your book.

On starting to write:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

The great Ernest Hemingway, the author of classics like The Sun Also Rises, understood the struggle of writing. He amusingly puts it as simple as can be – you just sit and bleed because writing is not an easy task and clearly takes up a lot of your time and energy.

“You can fix anything but a blank page” – Nora Roberts

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Starting to write is maybe the hardest step to writing a book. A blank page can be intimidating that’s why Nora Roberts encourages you to write, write anything and not to leave the page blank. Whatever you write can be fixed, edited and made better as long as you START.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

Jack London knows best. Don’t wait for inspiration to come strolling along to get started. You have to find your own inspiration and go after what you need.

On writing struggles:

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” – Robert Forest

Always place yourself in the reader’s place when writing. If you don’t react to your characters and story, how do you expect the reader to?

“Write drunk, edit sober.” – Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway encourages you to write your raw first draft altogether and burying your inner perfectionist that’s itching to edit and fix.

“The first draft of everything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

Clearly, Hemingway knows his stuff, don’t you agree? It’s okay if your first draft has typos, grammar or spelling errors, and confusing structures – that’s what editing is for. The point of writing your first draft is just to get your story out on paper.

On editing your writing:

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“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Edits require a lot of work and a lot of cutting. You need to make your writing easy and clear for your readers which would require some sacrifices…

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” – William Faulkner

William Faulkner refers to those sacrifices, cuts that need to be made like favorite lines or metaphors for a better reading flow.

“Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.” – David Ogilvy

Don’t overdress your writing in big fancy words, it doesn’t make you look smarter, it just makes it harder for your readers to understand.

“Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.” – Jonathan Franzen

Again, don’t overcomplicate it and stick with the simplest verbs possible.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov creatively refers to the “show don’t tell” theory. This is a concept many writers get confused with till today, it is always better to show how the moon is shining in details instead of just stating it is. Don’t be shy to explain what you need.

On finding a title:

“A good title is the title of a successful book.” – Raymond Chandler

Finding the perfect title is vital for your book, it’s a big part of defining if the book would be a success or not so keep looking, gather a few ideas and then choose your title.

On finishing your book:

“I hate writing, I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker

Finally, when all the hard writing and struggles are over, you’re left satisfied and proud of your work.

At the end of the day, we writers all feel strongly with the author of the bestselling classic American Gods when said…

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” – Neil Gaiman


Tips On Getting Over Your Writer’s Block

You’re staring at a blank screen or empty paper, whichever and nothing is happening. Your hands are lifeless, the brain is numb and you can’t get yourself to write down anything. Don’t panic. You’re not losing your knack for writing. You’re just experiencing a writer’s block.

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Many, if not all, great writers go through writer’s block. Writer’s block is when your creative juices come to a halt. You can’t seem to come up with new or good ideas and each time you try to write, blockage.

Now, there can be more than one reason as to why this is happening. However, it’ll pass, just like everything else in life. Here are a few tips to help you get through this. First…

Why is this happening?

Why can’t you write? It can be pressure or stress. Your mind is elsewhere or you’re having problems that are keeping your mind occupied. To write, you need a clear mind with the right mindset, when your mind is too fuzzy with other concerns, it’s not helping.

Fear is the number one reason for writer’s block. You put your all into your writing, so to expose that to everyone to read and criticize can be intimidating. This can also lead to procrastinating, constantly putting it off so it eventually never happens.

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Lastly, worrying if it’s good enough. You want everything to be perfect, just like you imagined it. You’d waste too much time outlining, planning and doing research and keep delaying the actual writing.

Helpful tips to fix writer’s block

  • Do other creative activities. Think of other things you can do like painting, doing DIY projects, writing poetry or music, playing an instrument and more. Do anything else other than working on your main project. I personally like to write music for a change. This will mostly help your creativity side stay wired and maybe help create ideas for writing.

 Go for a walk. Get your mind off writing by going on a walk whether indoors or outdoors. Studies have proven that doing so will increase your creativity by 60% because this will tap into your deeper state of mind and provide you clarity. Other exercises like running, aerobics, yoga, or dancing will help you focus and boost your energy.

Coffee is your best friend. There is nothing better than the aroma of freshly brewed coffee every morning. Coffee helps you stay focused when you’re in the zone and when on breaks, helps you brainstorm ideas to get back to writing. Sometimes, all you need is a good cup of Joe to get the flow through your fingers.                                            

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 Write anything, anything at all. Whether it’s an idea, a thought, an emotion or simply scribbling randomly, write it down. Try to do this for around 15 minutes just to get your mind on paper. You need to make writing part of your daily routine, even if it’s just random words being written. It may help evoke new ideas for you to work on.

 Take a break. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It can even be just a short road trip. Go do something new with a group of friends like hiking. Keep your mind off writing for a while and just relax and have some fun.

 A change of scenery. Sometimes all you need is a different setting to get the wheel going. Instead of your usual desk at home, try heading out to a café, the nearest Starbucks or the library to write. Just being in a different environment and seeing new faces can help.

Work on other projects: This personally works for me. Sometimes when I’m too focused on my main project, I get too stressed and can’t do anything at all. So I try working on other projects. It can be another novel idea, a poem, a short story, journal entry or even a blog post. Just exercise writing in any way. This will keep you in writing mode, keep your brain active and boost your imagination.

Read a book. Reading can definitely help out! Not only does reading improve your writing skills but it will be a good chance for you to get into another world for a bit and maybe come out with some inspiration.

Getting over writer’s block isn’t a walk in the park (well, actually, I guess it is sometimes) but it can take one or all of these tips to get through this. But the point is, you will get through this. So go, get up, try out these few tips and get back in the game!


How Can I Become A Great Writer?

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I’ve always loved to write. I’ve been writing since forever, although not so regularly these days. When I got something special for my birthday, I’d write down how happy and ecstatic I was when I received it. When I was scolded for not doing my homework or forgetting to make my bed in the morning, I’d put my sad thoughts into words. I continued to do so until my high school and college years, where my poetry and stories were appreciated, but my hunger to learn on how to be a great writer has never been filled. So, I continued to search for answers and here’s what I got – some wonderful tips from my favorite teachers, authors and a few useful snippets from the web. One is writing from the heart, telling your life story, such as this story which drew thousands of responses.

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reading

Publishing Tips

Writing a book is a wonderful achievement and it’s something that is truly your own. Taking your book to the next level and getting it published can truly be a major step and one that sends authors into a spin. However, while it might seem scary, it’s the next step for writers and it’s the only real way to know if people like what you write. Read on to find a few simple publishing tips that might prove useful for you today.

Have You Had The Book Professionally Proofread?

First and foremost, you need a new set of eyes to go over the manuscript and check for errors. Now, you might think you have looked over it a dozen times and it’s perfect but it’s easy to miss things, especially when you have written it personally. That is why you have to have someone look over the novel that has no interest in it, such as a professional proofreader. These are the ideal people to view the work with a fresh set of eyes and they know what they’re looking for. They can pick up on minor errors in the structure of the book as well as the grammar and spelling errors. This can help ensure your book is published perfectly and avoid negative reviews on the grammar and structure.

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reading story

How To Market Your Book

You’ve written your book, you’ve proofread it and you’re ready to publish, but what next? Well, you have to think about marketing the book so that people know about the book and want to buy and read it. When a book is marketed correctly it can become a huge hit and it’ll make all the difference. You have to remember, there are thousands and thousands of new books hitting the shelves on a daily basis and yours has to fight for readers. It’s not going to be an easy process but if you think your book has what it takes and you market wisely, anything is possible. Read on to find out how to market your book.

Put the Word Out On Social Media

Social media can be the ideal solution for those who wish to market their book. Now, even if you are using a publisher to handle things, it doesn’t hurt to put the word out there. However, if you aren’t going through a publisher and going for self-publishing, you must do more in order to get the word out. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be ideal as you tell followers or friends online about the book which might encourage them to read about it. You can post messages and they might in return re-post them which can get more interested. What’s more, you could create a little trailer for the book and post on media sites such as YouTube. It’s a great way to market effectively. 

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story telling

Helpful Hints For Aspiring Authors

Love the idea of writing a novel? You are not alone! Thousands truly have a writer’s gene in them and getting the words down on paper can be magical. However, not everyone starts off like J.K. Rowling or the great Edgar Allan Poe! A lot of people can struggle with their writing, even though they have it perfectly set out in their minds. You can have a great and very unique story that interest people but getting it all down can be a troublesome factor. However, with a few hints, you might find them more than useful for aspiring authors. Read on to find a few tips that might help.

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