Category: Writing

7 Things to Avoid to Become a Better Writer

All authors, journalists and writers in general know that the process of writing is not always an easy thing to do. Writing is often messy, disorganized, tiresome and challenging. People who write for a living know that this process is difficult to carry out all of the time. They also understand that writing can be a rewarding experience when they are transmitting knowledge or telling a story to an audience. While writing is not an exact or perfect craft people can make it a lot more difficult by doing certain things that they should avoid. Here are 7 things that all writers should avoid doing to become better at their craft.

You should Write Despite how you Feel

One of the biggest and most dangerous problems that all writers have is allowing their ability to write to be dictated by their feelings. This is a dangerous and a bad habit to get into for writers. Why? Because a professional writer should be able to write a story despite what their feelings are saying.

Most writers who only write when they are inspired are probably not disciplined enough to write all of the time. So, they use the lack of inspiration to keep them from writing at all. While it is true that a person should be motivated to write; it is also true that a person should write regardless of their feelings. Also, a writer who only creates pieces when they feel inspired probably will not be writing much at all.

Ignoring your Craft

People who call themselves writers but never learn the basic rules for this process are selling themselves short. Writers should understand how to the process of writing works. They should know about sentence structure and how to use literary devices in their work. Proper grammar is a must and so are components such as tone, pace, setting and theme. If a writer ignores their craft they more than likely will not get very far as writers.

Avoid Writing to the Market Only

Most writers try and create stories based off of what is selling. Unless they can crank out a very good story within a short amount of time this is a foolish thing to do. Why? By the time an author completes a story that has been based off of current trends those trends have more than likely changed. A writer should write material that is going to interest the public but they should also focus on writing good stories that sell regardless of the current trends in the marketplace.

Do not Quit

A lot of writers give up before they can establish themselves as writers. This is true for many book authors and for writers who work in magazines or for some other type of publication. Writing is a long and tiring process and it can often be boring and uninteresting to deal with. Even though this is the case, writers should not give up on their art because if they do; chances are they are not going to strat the process again.

Edit, Edit, Edit

Writers who are capable of editing their material will be able to produce good works. Writers should not shun the editing process. Unless a writer is a highly polished professional, chances are they are going to have to edit their manuscripts. The fact is that the editing process helps a person to make their writing to become more concise, polished and gives it a greater impact.

Avoid Long Sentences and Words

All writers should avoid long sentences and long words unless they are creating a manuscript that will require the use of these two literary elements. The reason why long sentences and long words should be avoided is because our language has changed. People no longer communicate in this way. They speak in short abbreviated phrases and they write messages in 140 characters or less. A good writer will avoid using long sentences and words for these two reasons.

Diversify your Stories

A lot of writers stick to one genre and this is okay. Many writers have gone to have successful careers by sticking to one type of genre. Writing for one genre can be a problem if it is no longer accepted by the public. A writer might have to change up their style and start writing for another niche if they want to make ends meet. The bottom line is that a writer should focus on one genre but they should also diversify the type of material that they produce. These writing tips can help any writer to grow and to improve their craft.

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How To Find Your Next Writing Gig

Climbing The Writing Stepladder

Its not really that hard today to find a writing job that can be done in your spare time. Opportunities for writing jobs are numerous on the internet, although many of them dont pay that well. However, if you are interested in writing professionally and supporting yourself with your writing talent, that is another story. There are definitely tiers of experience that must be climbed before you can reach to that level.

Define Your Specialty

Most professional writers know the areas of writing where they work the best. They may be fiction or non-fiction writers. They may enjoy writing biographies, how-to articles, journalism, technical pieces, or they may excel in business-related writing, such as resume writing or white papers. Each of these specialties appeal to different markets.

Deciding what you do best may be difficult for a beginner. A good way to define the type of writing you can excel in is to sign up for some introductory content writing jobs on the internet. These are low paying jobs that are open to beginners. In some cases, all that is needed to apply is a sample of your writing.

Searching Google for “content writing jobs for beginners” will provide you with a list of current offerings that you can try. These are not recommended for putting food on the table, but they will help you to understand the type of writing you are good at, and in some cases, you will gain valuable experience that you can use in your journey.

Target Your Market

Once you have discovered your specialty, or niche, the next thing to do is to locate your target market. This is the area in which you will offer your talent. Job bidding websites, such as Problogger, People Per Hour and others, are helpful in finding clients who need your writing skill. There are several of them on the internet which can be searched. Writers forums are helpful for finding new job bidding websites and opportunities.

Clients who advertise on job bidding websites have individual requirements for applying. Many will request that you provide them with a portfolio. A portfolio is a sampling of your work that also gives the prospective client a brief introduction into your background. There are websites on the internet where a free portfolio can be set up, with a personalized link that you can give to clients for their perusal.

They may also ask you for a link to your personal website. As a writer, it is helpful to start your own professional website to introduce yourself to possible clients. This can include samples of your writing, your background and experience, testimonials from satisfied previous clients, and contact information. A personal website is a sign to prospective clients that you are serious about your writing trade, and have the required ability in your area of specialty.

Magazine Writing

If magazine writing is something you would like to try, there are several online magazines on the net that accept freelance writing. Their content requirements are usually much stricter, and they will often request that you send them a query letter. This is a brief letter to give them a synopsis of the article you would like to write for their magazine.

Local Clients

Many established writers say that the highest paying clients are local, found off the net in your own neighborhood. You may be able to identify a school, newspaper, or other public institution that needs your writing. If not, you can pitch your writing talent to local businesses of many different kinds. This face-to-face approach requires some confidence and a backup of experience to do well.

One important thing to remember is that the life of the writer is an ebb and flow experience, since job offerings can go up and down. Your confidence as a writer will grow as you ascend the stepladder to better writing jobs.

How to Write Compelling Prose

Modern Prose Writing

Far too many people today are interested in evaluating classic literature when it comes to learning how to write. For better or for worse, however, prose styles are going to change with the times. A lot of older works are difficult to read for modern readers because people in those times were paid by the word.

As such, their prose is often littered with superfluous adjectives and adverbs, and these will slow down the pace at which a reader will actually absorb a given sentence. There is also plenty of older writing that goes much too far in the opposite direction. Some older writing is so devoid of imagery and emotion that it becomes painfully boring to read. Modern writers need to strike a balance in order to create sufficiently compelling prose.

The Secrets to Compelling Prose

It is often better to describe everything from people to locations by using a memorable phrase rather than listing out all of the associated characteristics. Writers who are describing a beach, for instance, should try to evoke the feelings associated with the beach. They shouldn’t describe the beach as if they are describing it to a painter so the painter can get all of the exact details right, even if he or she has never seen the place.

When people see a beach for the first time, they will usually experience certain emotions. Writers should be trying to convey those emotions. It has been said constantly that a picture is worth a thousand words or more, and people dont want to have to spend a thousand words reading about a beach.
Compelling prose needs to have a lot of emotion behind it. Otherwise, people can feel as if they are reading a tech manual. The characters need to talk in a way that really conveys their personalities. The movements and motions that they make should suggest something about their personalities, and they shouldn’t just be details that the author throws in for the sake of cataloging everything that a person does. The audience needs to be able to make an emotional connection to these fictional people, who are not real but who can feel as real as physical people to those who are invested in their lives.

Compelling prose should also be designed to make the pages turn. People today generally want prose that is going to keep them immersed in the story. If they have to stop and contemplate each page, theyre going to be lost. Shorter sentences, more directed descriptions, and witty dialogue can all work together to create a page-turner. Page-turners can still be intellectually engaging. However, they are intellectually engaging because of the content of the story, and not because the prose is so difficult to digest.

The Importance of Compelling Prose

Writers can have fantastic ideas for their stories, but if their prose is either flat or bloated, theyre still going to have a difficult time keeping their audience members engaged. Prose is a very important part of the art of writing, and getting it right isnt just about avoiding spelling errors.