For the Artists Who Like to Remain Strictly Out of the Box
So you want to be a writer? Or you want to be a better writer? Here are 3 Golden Rules for you to follow. They are 3 tips for becoming a better writer. Follow them and you will become a better writer. Don’t follow them and you’re not truly a writer, you’re just a dreamer who wants to write.
In order to be a good writer, you need to read. How often I hear people tell me they don’t have time to read. Well, I have news for you: If you don’t have time to read, you absolutely don’t have time to write. It’s really that simple.
If you don’t like to read, well that’s another story all together. But to that, I would you probably have to find something else to read. There has to be something that you like to read. If there isn’t, then maybe the whole writing thing isn’t for you either. Sure, you can still write. But there isn’t much of a chance you’ll be any good at it. Show me a good writer and I’ll show you someone who likes to read.
Reading will inspire you to write. It’ll also teach you how to write well. And it will help develop your voice and how you should develop characters, plot, etc. So, if you aren’t already reading – at least a few books a year – start now.
Okay, I know this is an obvious one. But a lot of people just write sometimes or when they feel like it. I am talking about writing regularly. And by regularly, I mean pretty much every single day.
And don’t worry about what you write. Just the act of writing will make you a better writer. Some very successful writers swear by writing at the same time every day. They say that makes their brain produce at that time. It trains their brain. Honestly, I’ve tried this in the past and it does work. But I don’t know if it will work with everyone. But I would encourage you to give it a try.
Regardless, when you write, and if you choose to schedule it at the same time every day, the more important piece is to write every… single… day. And don’t give-in to writer’s block or some other type of nonsense, either. Force yourself to write. Write everyday. You’ll be shocked at the results.
This is one I struggled with when I was younger. I didn’t want to have to rewrite an entire book. And I didn’t want to destroy my writing. To borrow a phrase from Stephen King, I didn’t want to kill my own babies.
Back then I didn’t really understand what the process of rewriting entailed. I thought it was sitting down and completely drafting another book. But it’s not. Rewriting is basically editing. It’s reading your story and taking out anything that is superfluous (ie anything that doesn’t move the story forward, and adding anything that needs to be in the story. Of course, it’s also about fixing all the spelling errors, etc.
You can’t be scared to delete an entire sentence, paragraphs, pages, or even scenes. If it doesn’t add to the story, or worse yet, if it’s wrong for the story, then take it out. Just delete it. I don’t care how wonderful the prose might be. You’ll create more great prose. And if it’s that great, write it down and save it for another story. Or put it on your wall to remember it always. I don’t really care what you do with it. The important part is that you take it out.
Do not ever publish a story, or even show it to someone, without first rewriting it. Rewriting is what separates writers from decent writers. It’s what separates decent writers from successful and gifted writers.
So, there are your 3 golden rules for writing. These aren’t tips for writing that you can choose to follow or not follow. They are writing tips you have to follow. Well, that is, if you want to be a good writer, they’re tips that must be followed. Yes, they are very basic and might seem obvious. But too many aspiring writers don’t use them. So, remember they are the most important tips for becoming a successful writer, and always remember to follow them.
About Charles Rose
Charlie Rose is a published writer who writes short stories and novels. For more about writing, check out his blog post about writer’s block: Writer’s Block