WRITING TIPS ✏️

  1. 1.
    Write every day, even if it is only for 1/2 an hour
    Put it in your calendar. If you don't block off the time, it ain't gonna happen. "Protect the time and space in which you write." —Zadie Smith
  2. 2.
    The first draft is just about getting words on the page
    Don't think too much. Channel your muse. Try to think of your fingers as a faucet and the words as liquid art flowing straight out of your brain and onto the page/screen.
  3. 3.
    The first draft is not for perfect grammar, spelling or syntax.
    Thinking about these things now will just slow you down.
  4. 4.
    Find that special writing place where your writing really seems to flow
    For some, it's a little writing room in their attic. For others, it's a noisy coffee shop. I take my laptop to a quiet, anonymous carrel at UNC's Davis Library. I find that I'm more likely to keep going if none of my creature comforts (or bed) are nearby.
  5. 5.
    Turn your phone and internet off.
    Franzen is right about this. That shit is stressful and distracting. And will get between you and your Muse. Your Muse ain't on fucking Facebook.
  6. 6.
    Do your homework/research
    I'm writing a novel in the second person at present, so of course I'm reading a bunch of other 2nd person novels and stories as I write.
  7. 7.
    Don't reread first drafts the same day
    Sleep on it for a night or two
  8. 8.
    Never write about, refer to or in any way mention monkeys, apes or other primates.
    Monkeys or apes et al ruin everything. EVERYTHING.
  9. 9.
    From second draft onward, regularly read the work to yourself OUT LOUD
    It's the best way to notice problems with cadence, rhythm and word choice. You also hear the alliteration / tongue twisters this way. And there's no better way to notice unrealistic-sounding dialog than to speak it yourself. "Only then will it have the sound of speech." —John Steinbeck
  10. 10.
    Stick with "said"
    Not asked. Not suggested. Not inquired. Not whispered. Said goddamit. It's good enough.
  11. 11.
    Never use Oxford Commas
    Hey, it's my list, bee-yotch. 😉
  12. 12.
    Every once in a while go back through the work and strike all those nasty little adverbs that people naturally put in. But do so gently.
  13. 13.
    Keep rereading aloud. Eventually it will sound as smooth as a dolphin's ass.
    Read aloud, go back and edit. REPEAT
  14. 14.
    Don't have multiple characters with similar-sounding names or even the same first initial.
    It's confusing... unless the story is about a mix up of luggage or some shit.
  15. 15.
    Probably everything you put in parentheses can be deleted
  16. 16.
    Don't love your characters more than your readers do. See also #25.
  17. 17.
    For Tesla's sake, don't put in too much bloody exposition!
  18. 18.
    Sometimes, read the work backward, a paragraph at a time
    It's the best way to make sure things unfold logically from A to B to C
  19. 19.
    Don't be too fucking flowery
    Garrison Keillor once suggested that the best poetry is that which is most memorable. Of what you've read before, probably you don't remember super metaphorical, dense nonsense that you need to take a class to decipher. You remember "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" You want readers to get your words stuck in their heads.
  20. 20.
    Make regular backups!
    Print it out, too, from time to time.
  21. 21.
    Beware the Ides of March.
  22. 22.
    If you feel stuck, go for a walk
    Your body is linked to your mind in more ways than you think. Sometimes, getting your bodily fluids pumping will get your mind pumping, too.
  23. 23.
    Write for yourself. Your audience is secondary.
    Stole this from Stephen King
  24. 24.
    Drink a lot of water
    You need to take care of your precious bodily fluids.
  25. 25.
    "Kill your darlings."
    Also Stephen King. IOW, don't be afraid to edit out characters or scenes that aren't working, even if you are in love with them for some reason. Let go.
  26. 26.
    If a friend ever puts you or your writing down in any way, fire them as friends
    Ray Bradbury advice
  27. 27.
    Write with joy
    Also Ray Bradbury. Interpret as you will. I take it to mean: Write because it's fun. Not for $ or anything else.
  28. 28.
    If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. —Elmore Leonard
  29. 29.
    Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. —Mark Twain
  30. 30.
    Every character should want something. Even if it is a glass of water. —Kurt Vonnegut
  31. 31.
    Start as close to the end as possible. —Kurt Vonnegut
  32. 32.
    "Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting." —Jonathan Franzen
  33. 33.
    "Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov
    Show, don't tell
  34. 34.
    "Listen to the criticisms and preferences of your trusted 'first readers.'" — Rose Tremain
  35. 35.
    Always be honest and brave when you write
    And overcome your personal censor.
  36. 36.
    That's it! Do all these things and you are guaranteed to be the next E. L. James.
  37. 37.
    ✏️✏️✏️