Melissa Donovan, Guest Author
The first time someone told me “show, don’t tell,” I had no idea what they were talking about. Show what? Isn’t writing, by its very nature, telling?
I was a young writer and didn’t yet understand the many elements that go into good writing. But I kept hearing that advice over and over: show don’t tell.
Then, one day, it clicked. I got it. To tell was to write a synopsis. To show was to write a scene, to take readers through the events with action, dialogue, and detail. Show, don’t tell. Of course. It was so obvious.
Now, every time I read that advice, I have to smile.
Learning often happens through repetition. Oftentimes, the first time we hear something, we forget it almost immediately. Through review and repetition, we eventually memorize new information.
There are an infinite number of writing techniques and skills that the most advanced writers have mastered. We can’t expect to get our writing right the first time around and we can’t expect to master all those techniques and skills as soon as we become privy to them.
You can’t have too many writing tips and you can’t brush up on your techniques and skills too often. In that spirit, I bring you 15 quick and dirty writing tips. These are just the headlines, designed to jog your memory and remind you of all the writerly things we should be doing at any given time.
Quick and Dirty Writing Tips
This list includes a mix of some of my favorite writing tips and some of the tips I think are most essential.
1. Read as much as you can (and make sure you read good stuff).
2. Write every day – practice makes perfect.
3. Acquire some resources: dictionary, thesaurus, style guide, grammar handbook, and books on writing.
4. Join or start a writers’ group and get feedback on your work.
5. Lower your expectations and allow yourself to write badly. It’s better to write crap than to write nothing at all.
6. Feeling uninspired? Writer’s block is no excuse; find some writing prompts and exercises. Use them.
7. Do you want to write a novel? Launch a blog? Submit your poetry? Set goals and then get busy reaching them.
8. Be yourself. You have your own voice; let people hear it. Don’t compare everything you write to more successful writers. They started somewhere too.
9. Tell your inner editor to take a vacation. Let yourself write freely and creatively. You can always edit and revise later.
10. Get organized. All those notes, journals, and all that research! Binders, notebooks, and computer files. Put things in order so you can find what you need when you need it.
11. Pay attention to your language: word choice and sentence structure is the difference between an award-winning novel and a book that sits on a shelf collecting dust (poetry exercises are great for this).
12. Know your audience. Write for them using language they understand.
13. Be creative and take risks. You’ll never know unless you try.
14. Revise, edit, proofread, and polish everything you write before anyone else sees it!
15. Show, don’t tell (you knew that was coming).
Copyright © 2014 – Melissa Donovan. Melissa Donovan, is a self-employed website designer and copywriter. You can learn more about the online marketing services she offers by visiting scribizzy.com. She began writing poetry and song lyrics at age 13. She has worked as a technical writer, business writer, copywriter, and professional blogger. Visit her Writer’s Blog.
Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com
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