Top Ten Writing Tips

October 14, 2009

One of the many things I’ve learned throughout the writing process is that you can never have too many words of encouragement. I want to impose ten tips writers should always remember.

1. Never, ever give up. I know. I know. You’ve heard this one hundred times by now, but it’s the truth. You can’t let rejections or editing get you down. Keep your chin up!

2. Read until your eyes burst into flames. Sounds crazy, but it helps. Not only does reading give you a break, but you can learn so much—how grammar, punctuation and writing styles are used.

3. Observe, and then observe some more. Yeah, that’s right. Take a seat somewhere the next time you’re out in public. Watch people. See how they react when speaking to someone else. What are their mannerisms? Oh, man. I can see those gears rotating in your head already.

4. Don’t edit as you go. Trust me—I know this is hard. Who cares if your first draft is crap? The odds of writing a perfect novel are probably 0.00000000001%. There isn’t a novel out there that’s perfect the first go-around. Wait until you’re finished. Give those fiery eyes a break. After a few days, you can go back and edit.

5. Write as much as your heart wishes. No, I’m not talking about just books. Keep a journal. Grab a pen and paper, step into your backyard and describe what you see. Think of it as practice. The more you practice something, the more experience you gain.

6. Learn from your mistakes. You’ve been pierced through your most vital organ and are bleeding abundantly. It hurts when someone takes the red pen of doom to your baby, doesn’t it? Don’t take it to heart (pun intended). These people are your sidekicks, partner-in-crime, fellow writers. They want to help. Listen to them. Have an open mind. I promise your manuscript will be ten times better than the original draft.

7. Read out loud. You’re probably sitting there going, “Whaaaaaat?!” Yep, I said it. I bet you’re trying to remember the last time you read out loud right now. You can actually catch typos and sentence structures that are out of place better than if you read with your eyes only. Try it sometime.

8. Always keep a pen and paper handy. You never know when that shiny new idea will spring to life inside that head of yours.

9. Pay it forward. If another writer reviews your work, be kind enough to review theirs.

10. Stay true to your characters. They need you. They depend on you. You are the only way they’ll get their story read by hundreds—maybe even thousands/millions—of other people. Remember, they’re one of the reasons you began this journey.




  1. 🙂 Thanks for this! – Jamie

  2. Becca – This was great! I really needed #1, even if I hear/see it all the time.

  3. Good list 🙂

    I agree with number ten but I think it’s also interesting to realize that others might see something in a character that you didn’t and that this can lead in interesting directions.

  4. Great list! I loved the “stay true to your characters”….I do love them!!

  5. I learned a new trick from the QT blog. Get your computer to read your ms out loud. You find even more typos that by reading it out loud yourself. Often we read things on the page that aren’t even there without realizing it. Your sentence may sound great . . . if only that was how it was actually written on the page. The more times you’ve read your ms, the bigger the problem.

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