Advice for Writers
1. Be Curious
It’s easy to write if you have a curiosity for the world around you. Writing is merely taking up all you’ve soaked in and wringing it out in a string of words.
What does a summer day or crisp winter night smell like?
How do leaves look when the sunlight catches them?
What does it feel like when you have to bring bad news or get to see someone you’ve missed for so long?
What ridiculous things do you hear people say?
What words of wisdom do you cling do?
2. Make a Backstory & Do Your Research
Good writing runs deep. You don’t just pour whipped cream on top of a store bought pie. It’s about making crust from scratch, peeling the apples yourself, and dusting the top with egg whites and sugar. People can taste the difference1. Plus, you feel better 5 hours later instead of worse.
Take the time to think about back stories for your characters. Figure out what motivates them and learn their deepest fears and desires. (There are loads of websites and exercises online to help with this if you need a little help.)
My Ruthless Editor makes me research minute details. Always. It’s like she demands freshly ground cinnamon and real vanilla. Luckily I enjoy interesting facts, so it’s not too bad. But having a strong grasp of your scene and all its elements is just as important as the characters you place there.
(This is obvious. I thought about not putting it, but gave in to peer pressure.)
But, honestly, I have spent 100x more hours reading than I have writing. I absorb stories and words and writing techniques for years on end before I even pick up my own figurative pen. Good writers are good readers. Learn from the best, and enjoy the world of words before you seek to add your own.
4. Get Focused
Finally, I often draw upon some wonderful words of advice I received a couple years ago when I was knee deep in writing 7 separate stories:
“A lot of people can write 50 pages. Few people can actually write a whole story.”
Challenge accepted. I begrudgingly set aside my 6 other stories and focused on the one I had written 56 pages for. A year later, my first draft was finished. I could have never done it if he hadn’t told me to pick one and buckle down. Additionally, I adhere to a strict writing process that helps me stay focused and make sure to hit all the parts of bringing my idea to a published success. It helps to not only map out your plan of action, but to set goals for when you want to get to each stage.