“One day i’ll find the right words…
…and they’ll be simple.” Trust Jack Kerouac to voice our frustrations perfectly.
Writers have widely different opinions about how you can hone your craft. Take writing courses, for example: some people love the structure provided by a creative writing course, whereas others strongly believe that you can’t “teach” people how to write.
Instead of looking for hard-and-fast rules, you should find out what works best for you. That being said, there are a few common habits shared by the most prolific and successful writers:
Read a lot of books
A good book teaches you a lot about writing. Read every book that has enjoyed critical acclaim and popularity in your genre, and try to analyze what makes these books different. Pay attention to things like the story, plot structure, and characterization. Go back to your own draft and see if you can apply your learnings.
Make sure you have a plan
If you’re writing a novel, it’s often a good idea to “plot” your story beforehand. Chart how one event leads to another, which then causes a third thing to happen: you know, the story.
Diving into your first draft without a thoroughly developed structure will make it difficult to keep track of how your story progresses. When you’re dealing with tens of thousands of words, the last thing you want is to get overwhelmed and stop writing!
Give yourself deadlines
Do not get stuck in an endless loop of incessantly editing a chapter. We’re not saying that you should rush; merely suggesting you give your book the time it deserves by making sure you maintain a steady level of productivity. The National Novel Writing Month, where hundreds of participants write over 50,000 words in one month, is a perfect example of how clear goals and deadlines can do wonders for your writing process.
That’s all for today! Tomorrow we’ll be back to look at a critical stage in publishing any book — editing.
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