Thinking about giving writing a go? Perhaps you used to love writing, but just haven’t done it for a while. Maybe you are looking for a new hobby or a side hustle to make some extra money. The reasons we write are many and varied. Here are a few tips that I have found helpful over the years which have kept me going, growing and (at times) groaning. No pain, no gain.
Tip 1 – Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing
There’s a big comparison trap out there and you don’t realise you’ve been caught in it until you start to want what other writers have – badly. Whether it’s a brand new website, a new book coming out or a social media marketing campaign that gets more ‘likes’ than that picture of you and your dog, you’ve got to stop worrying. I put this tip first because it’s probably the one that frustrates me the most as a writer. It brings out the envy and it’s ugly. By all means set goals, learn something new and make improvements. Just don’t longingly try to be the writer that you are not. Be the writer that you are. As the saying goes, ‘writers write’. You won’t be writing if you’re worrying about what other writers are accomplishing in comparison to you.
Tip 2 – Turn up
Whatever you want to work on, it’s not going to write itself. Turn up and put the work in. That might look different depending on the season of life you’re in. Write when you can, but just make sure you set up some time to do it. Start really small if you have to. Try to keep distractions to a minimum. Write a few words. Then a few more. You can edit and re-write later. Before you know it, you’ll have words to craft and play with.
Tip 3 – Read
Read anything and everything. It all contributes to helping you learn how to write better. It builds up your vocabulary. It also helps you to develop your own voice in time. Don’t be shy about looking up words that you don’t understand. Try different genres. Read paperbacks. Cereal boxes. Magazines. Blogs. Newspapers. Adverts. Social media posts. Read things from the past and the present. Develop the mindset that you are willing to learn and work on your craft for the long haul.
Tip 4 – Remember not everyone is going to like what you write
That’s OK. I don’t like everything I read. I’m sure you don’t either. It’s impossible to get every single person to like your work. It’s impossible to get every single person to read your work. You’re not aiming to please everyone or write for everyone either. Don’t take criticism personally. Rejection is a key part of the writer life. Be willing to learn from it. However, don’t let someone’s words destroy you or your confidence when writing. File away the compliments you receive for your writing to pull out when you’re having a tough day. Words can build up or tear down. You have the ability to speak directly to someone who reads your work – what a privilege. Be a writer that builds up, but don’t be afraid to rock the boat and speak freely on something that you think needs to be said and read.
Tip 5 – Take up opportunities
It’s great to try your hand at different types of writing. I’ve dabbled in poetry, copywriting, journalling, screenwriting, a creative writing course, article writing, novels, and blogging. I’ve had my work printed in newspapers, magazines and online. If you have the time, work experience is such a great opportunity to network with others and learn more about the type of writing you are interested in. Join writers groups on social media or find other writers or courses in the niche that you are most passionate about. Connect, learn and grow together.
Tip 6 – Get someone else to read your work
I find it helpful to get someone I trust to read over my work as an extra pair of eyes. They will spot things that I accidentally overlook or just don’t think about. It’s helpful if they will be honest with their comments so you can improve. Listen gracefully. Edit diligently.
Tip 7 – Keep going and don’t give up
Writing can be lonely at times. Writers may not reap much for their work. There is potential to earn income, and maybe that is one of your goals. Perhaps you just want to write because you enjoy it as a hobby. There can be many reasons why you want to start writing. There are also many websites that can help you to develop your craft, learn the skills necessary to flourish as a writer in these times and to connect you with more readers and other writers. It can also be overwhelming as you navigate the minefield of information at your fingertips. But trust your gut, keep writing and get your work out into the world.