I recently came across Joss Whedon's Top 10 Writing Tips. Check them out here. Whedon is one of the most talented and successful people of our time, so when he gives tips, I listen! His tips include: Finish It, Structure, Have Something to Say, Everybody has a Reason to Live, Cut What You Love, Listen, Track the Audience Mood, Write Like a Movie, Don't Listen, Don't Sell Out. Seriously, check them out.
All this prompted me to wonder what my writing tips would be. So, without further ado, here are my off-the-cuff writing tips:
- Keep writing. This is, of course, closely related to 'Finish It' but with good reason. Are you really a writer if you don't finish anything? Are you a writer if you don't write?
- Find joy in writing. I hate to say it, but I know many writers at various stages of their careers and money doesn't seem to be plentiful for anyone. Authors need to find their fulfillment elsewhere: in creating new characters/stories/worlds, or maybe in meeting and getting to know other like-minded souls, aka writers.
- Get feedback on your writing and listen to it. I don't know anyone who can write a perfect first draft. I know some aspiring writers who think their first drafts are perfect... And I'm not optimistic about their publication success. Note, however, you shouldn't change your work willy-nilly based on what random people say. Only you know in your heart what your story is and what it needs.
- Develop your writer's voice. Voice is invaluable. Voice is the combination of subject matter, vocabulary, sentence structure, tone, theme, and all other aspects of writing. Of course everyone has a voice, but you want your voice to be distinctive and unique. Think of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, or Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. You'd know those voices anywhere. How do you develop your voice? You write with your inner editor turned off. Incidently, NaNoWriMo is great for this.
- Keep trying to improve. Read writing books. Study novels and stories: what worked, what didn't work? Go to writing conferences. Talk to other writers. Read writing blogs about writing tips. :)
How about you? What are your writing tips?