After being inspired by a guy who thinks lists of writing tips suck, I decided to create a list of writing tips. Yeah, this post started out as a joke and then it kind of got away from me.
1. Learn to spell.
If you can’t spell, your writing’s probably going to suck. Buy a dictionary, chump.
Of course, certain words may be spelled differently depending on the region you’re in. Fun Fact #2 (there is no #1): Some years ago, certain folks decided to deviate from French-influenced phonetics and started to omit the “u” from certain words (e.g., going from “colour” to “color”). It stuck in the United States.
2. Use the hashtag #AmWriting as much as frickin’ possible.
Not only will this seem annoying and pretentious, it will also help you connect with fellow writers with whom you can develop alongside and form a network of support.
Originally, I did think the hashtag was a bit on the lame side. It reminded me of the Family Guy joke poking fun at writers who conspicuously write in public for validation. However, I’ve seen others who have used the hashtag to form a good network of earnest writer-friends and, to be quite honest, I’m jealous.
3. Read more novels and watch more movies.
That way you can rip them off and pretend you thought of it first.
Alternatively, you can learn to improve your craft from observing how successful authors set the pacing for their scenes and overall plot, or how they develop tension and make use of white space. You could also take notes of mistakes of other authors—if they didn’t spend enough time to develop a character’s motives and personalities before expecting the reader to care, or if there’s too much fancy prose in a segment which makes it difficult to keep a fast pace. Maybe you can at least pick up a new vocabulary word.
Oh, and if you’re familiar with other work in your genres, you can also avoid accidentally writing something that’s already been done. Those aren’t so easy to sell.
4. Get critiqued.
A good cry can be nice, sometimes.
Receiving feedback on your writing is an important part of improving your writing chops. However, the key to taking criticism is staying patient and logical. You shouldn’t quickly dismiss advice you don’t like, but you also shouldn’t assume that because one person hates something that everyone else feels the same. Get several opinions and see where they overlap; logically assess whether certain things are problems, and whether certain parts of your writing are truly awesome (at least to the majority of your target audience).
5. Critique others.
Making other people cry can be rather satisfying. Also, there are other, more concrete benefits.
Giving critique helps you learn to take critique: You learn that, as a critic, it’s easy to find the bad bits in another person’s work while forgetting to point out the good ones. As such, when someone gives you your own manuscript marked up in red, you’ll understand he or she may have actually liked more of your work than the quantity of red might indicate.
On top of that, when you see mistakes others make, you might just realize you’re making the same ones.