Plucking the minds of other authors is such a wonderful way of continuing to learn and grow as a writer. I found some brilliant people to share their tips on writer’s block, deadlines, inspiration, writer’s groups, giving a “voice” to your writing, writing what’s right, editing, and natural dialogue. My hope is that some these gems will spark your inspiration, get you to try something new, or help steer you in whatever path you’re choosing to travel.
“If you’re struggling with writer’s block and don’t know where to go with a story, try playing The What If game. Write “What If” at the top of a page, then just let your imagination run wild. Approach it as a stream of consciousness exercise and don’t think too hard about it. Be totally absurd. Write out 25 to 50 what ifs. More than likely you’ll come up with at least one or two possibilities that will spark your creative fire and get you unstuck.” – Athena Marie, The Art of Authentic Creativity (www.writingonewordatatime.com).
“Having just published my first eBook I have learned that patience is something I need to work on. Although striving to meet a deadline is all well and good, don’t allow it to diminish the quality of your content.” – Tony Paull, http://tonypaullconsulting.com
“Keep a notebook with you at all times, or use the notes feature on your smartphone to jot down random thoughts and inspired ideas throughout the day. Review your notes before you sit down to write and you may notice a theme or find in those “random’ tidbits a great topic for discussion. The universe is always teaching. We must be open to receiving those messages and using our creative talents to relay them.” – Rica Lewis, http://yogamatmonkey.com/
“I recommend being in a writer’s group that meets weekly or every two weeks. It offers accountability. If you are meeting with your group, you feel obligated to have something to share. Also, you will get encouragement and support so writing won’t feel so isolated.” – Debbie Weiss, http://www.thehungoverwidow.com
Giving a “Voice” to Your Writing
“If you struggle to get your writing to “sound like you”, try speaking your blog post. Record yourself talking about your topic, like you’re explaining it to a friend. You’ll be able to capture the little unique things that you say, and your true passion will come through in your words!” – Kaylene Newquist, kaylenewrites.com
Writing What’s Right
“I think that I believe that writing is really subjective and that you shouldn’t do something just because you think you should. I understand my stories better when I write everything and brainstorm in notebooks and type afterward. It took me a long time to figure that out because I assumed I should type from the start. Do what feels right.” – Rebecca Sampson, http://rebeccakelsey.com
“No matter how many times you read over your own writing, you’re bound to miss typos and errors that you have made. This is because as we write, we become so wrapped up in what we have written that we see what’s in our minds, not what our eyes actually take in. This is why it’s vitally important to get someone else’s eyes on what you have written, preferably a professional proofreader/editor. If that is not possible, whether for financial reasons or otherwise, you should at least have an experienced reader read over your manuscript closely looking for errors as well as to give you general feedback on readability and content. In some circles, it is a common practice to enlist “beta readers” for this purpose. What you want is people who will tell you the truth about what they read, not friends or relatives who “fangirl” over every word you write. Keep writing!” Alan Seeger, Five59.com
“Many independent authors — okay, let’s be honest, even many mainstream authors — have a problem writing natural sounding dialogue. I like to do what I refer to as “letting your characters breathe.” Some authors seem to have a difficult time “hearing” the conversations that their characters have with each other. I approach it with the idea that my characters are real people having a real conversation and that I’m just listening in, transcribing what they are saying. Avoid repetitive 1-2-1-2-1-2 back and forth type of dialogue. In real life, conversation ebbs and flows. There are times when one party in the conversation has very little to say while the other drones on and on, or vice versa, while at other times the company is good and both parties are interested in each other and they both go on and on, and at still other times, particularly intimate times such as after lovemaking, neither one will say much at all; they just bask in the glow of being together. My point is: listen to what your characters are whispering in your ear. If you understand them as fully fleshed out people rather than cardboard cutouts, they’ll tell you what they would or would not say in any given situation. Good writing!” – Alan Seeger, Five59.com
Thank you to all the amazing authors who contributed to this blog post!