Every young aspiring author, including myself, is desperate for advice by well-established authors. While the writing process and style may differ from person to person, some writing tips are true no matter what you are working on. Here are three writing tips for newbie authors that I find helpful:
Writing Tips for Newbie Authors 1: Read as broadly as possible
“My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt.” — Michael Moorcock
This is among the most popular and important writing tips for newbie authors. “To be a good writer means that you have to be a good reader first.” I always believed this to mean that I had to read in my genre exclusively. The downside of this procedure is the temptation of embedding clichés like the perfectly defined abs, the largest cock in the world, and the orgasm by a mere touch. On the other hand, reading in a variety of genres allows you to develop your own style. It’s important to know your own genre, but it’s equally essential to find your own style.
Writing Tips for Newbie Authors 2: Shoot the writer while she’s happy
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” ( Dorothy Parker)
Talking to other writers, especially those attempting larger projects such as novels, I realised that writing isn’t fun. Well, let’s say, it isn’t always fun. I do have the odd moment when I come up with a superb idea, clapping myself on the shoulder. At this moment, writing is the best thing that could have happened to me. My fingers fly over the keyboard weaving fantastic sentences, funny expressions, a witty remark if I say so myself. On the other hand, we do all seem to have our moments when our writing is less than perfect, the grammar doesn’t even make sense, and every sentence starts with “but”. At the writing meetup Shut up and write, I overheard two participants talking about the frustrations of writing.
Says one, “I met this woman here the other day. She was so enthusiastic about writing, talking about how much she is enjoying it.”
Says the other, “How I hate such people.”
It made me snort because writing can be frustrating more often than not. Coming up with ideas of keeping a storyline running is an aggravating job. Especially as a newbie, I am always asking myself questions like: “Haven’t I used this word like ten times already?” “I shouldn’t start every sentence with but, should I?” “Did they even wear those kinds of dresses and live in those kinds of houses at the time?” The thing is, you can learn all those things. Attend courses on writing or read something about style, and especially, keep on writing.
Writing Tips for Newbie Authors 3: “Shut up and write!”
“The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’” — Helen Simpson
This doesn’t seem like much of a tip at first, but the most important aspect of writing is to fill the pages. No matter how grim the day or how bad the writing, you cannot fix an empty page. So, write, even if it hurts, and it does at times. Write, even if you hate every single word and the plot and the characters and the setting. The final product will be worth it.
I hope you liked these writing tips for newbie authors as much as I did, and that they will be of use to your own writing. So, good luck and let’s get on with it!