If you type ‘tips for beginning writers’ in Google you will be rewarded with many thousands of pages of results and about half of those pages will contradict the other half.
So, we here at Beal Press thought we might be able to make it a little bit easier for you to find the real useful advice that can benefit every writer out there, no matter what genre you are working in.
We started out making this a top-10 list, but after careful revision and much deliberation, we determined that there are really only 7 tips that warrant a true ‘top tip’ status.
1. Love what you write.
Writing for a living is a tough business. It’s very difficult to see long-time success as a writer. So, what keeps you going when the going gets tough? Love. You have to love to write. It needs to be something that you love deep down in your soul in a way such that you would continue to do it even if you never get paid. That love is what makes you better. It’s what gives you the determination to practice and continue to learn. It’s that love that comes through in your writing and resonates with your readers.
2. There are no rules.
It’s true. Beyond the basic grammatical rules, there are no set rules for writing (especially not when discussing fiction). Anyone who ever tries to sell you on ‘rules’ for writing is actually just selling you their specific rules for writing. The only rules are the rules you make.
The #1 thing you must do to make it as a professional writer is finish your writing projects. You can’t sell what you haven’t written (in most cases). You can’t have a portfolio to show people to get work if you haven’t finished a project. People can’t read your work if you haven’t finished you. You see where I’m going here?
The first draft of anything is never good enough for public consumption. If you are not good at editing or simply don’t like it, you will either need to learn (there are a multitude of good books on the subject), or you will need to pay an editing service. Beta readers can help a lot in this respect as well. But no matter how you do it, you must edit, you must polish, you need to spend the time going over your work to make sure it is as good as it can possibly be…and then do it one more time to get it ready to release out into the wild. Bonus Tip: you will be more successful when it comes to editing if you let it sit for a couple of weeks and then go back with a fresh set of eyes.
This one really kind of depends on the writer. Do you work best in the local coffee shop sipping a vanilla latte? Or do you need quiet and solitude? Do you have a room in your house that’s set-up as your office and is off limits to the kids? It’s all really writer specific. The important thing is to find what works for you. Also, be sure you have a way to take notes no matter where you are, because as writer’s our brains rarely, if ever, turn off.
6. Never stop learning.
Some ‘experts’ will say to ‘write what you know’ and while I do think that they have a point to some extent, there’s more to be said for writing with passion than with the knowledge you already have. If you have passion, the subject matter can be learned. The more you learn about a wide variety of topics the more you will have to write about. Besides, learning is just plain fun.
7. Read it out loud.
This is an age-old, tried and true self-editing method that really works. Reading your work out loud activates a different part of your editor’s brain when you hear the words and it makes it a lot easier to spot mistakes and correct areas of writing that just doesn’t flow as well as the rest.
That’s it. Beal Press’ Top 7 Tips for Beginning Writers. Let us know what you think and if there are any top tips you think we missed in the comments below.