Here are some writing tips that you might not have found elsewhere.
1 Make sure you are comfortable
Writing can wreck your back unless you have a decent chair and a good posture. Writing whilst you are uncomfortable can be an unwanted distraction.
2 Make sure you are not hungry or thirsty
Being dehydrated or very hungry will affect your ability to write and concentrate so don’t push time just because you have found some inspiration. If you manage to eat and drink a little you will probably be able to pick it up again afterwards, only this time, with better concentration.
3 Make sure you have the right conditions to write in
I always write with music in the background. If you write with music blocking out background noises you will be able to keep your concentration. I find music that I know really well doesn’t distract me but does keep other distractions out. Any random piece of conversation that I hear immediately stops me in my tracks. Everyday noises are a real sentence breaker. Create a little cocoon of creativity
4 Make sure you are prepared
Being prepared before you write is a must. You will save time if you plan properly. If you set off on a book and half-way through you still aren’t sure what age group you are writing for or get stuck not knowing where you are headed or who your main character is you will end up having to re-write most of it. You need to know what your audience is and what kind of book you are writing.
5 Use random words
Random words can really create ideas. There are different ways to get random words. There are tools on the internet or you could just randomly open a dictionary. Do people have dictionaries anymore?
6 Make sure you can avoid writer’s block
If your planning is held up by being stuck for ideas for flash fiction or a short story, an internet article or something else, and you are sitting at your desk with your head in your hands, have the courage to write the first sentence that comes into your head. I did this with one of my favourite short stories. Out of the blue I came up with:
‘“You’re all slaves!” The Prophet raised his arms and violently shook his hands that were held together by the super-electronic shackles, his defiant voice pouring scorn upon their android posturing.’
I had no idea that I was going to write science fiction. Where it came from I have no idea.
7 Write more than one story at a time
I’m sure that there is advice out there that will tell you to concentrate on one thing at a time. You will never get anything done if you have more than one project on the go at the same time they will say. I disagree. I find that having three or four books going at the same time helps me. I don’t spend time at my desk with writer’s block. If I’m stuck I’ll go to another one of my books and write for a while. Some days I’m only in the mood for one or two of them. I find that I can actually get a lot done this way.
8 Don’t let other people’s opinions destroy your originality
Time and time again I read about the importance of asking for feedback from other people and the absolute necessity of using editors and attending writing courses or joining local writer’s groups. There are occasions where feedback is good. I read my children’s stories to my son and learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t. However, I think originality is the x-factor that makes great authors great and I would hate to change my style because of someone else’s opinion (including agents or publishers). Where is the satisfaction in writing exactly what you think will get published even if you hate it? It’s much better to be published for writing like yourself and no-one else. It’s your project and it’s your right to do it exactly as you please. Break the rules! All the best art breaks the rules!
9 If you are not enjoying it it’s probably no good
When you have that buzz about what you have just written it’s probably good. If you are bored the chances are that your audience will be also.
10 Don’t work too hard
One of the good things about being a writer is that it is a pleasure and a thrill to feel your creativity flowing. Making it too much like hard work is going to turn you off writing. Give yourself a break and finish at a reasonable time. Give yourself enough time off and don’t be afraid to admit that it just isn’t working at any particular time. So go and do something else. Sir Elton John gives himself a very short amount of time to write a song in. If it isn’t flowing after that he just gives up and does something else.