Helpful tips


My Advice on what makes a good writer




Cultivate a fertile imagination

Just because you are no longer a child this does not mean you have to shut away your imagination. It is not a sin for an adult to have an overactive imagination. Some of the greatest books written were produced by adults with overactive imaginations (consider The Lord of The Rings, Don Quixote and War of The Worlds).

Be Crazy

Can an eccentric person be a great writer? Can the unusual make for entertaining reading? Does a writer have to fit a preset mold, conforming to the writing styles of other writers? Is it wrong to be different when it comes to writing? Is it a rule in this world that you must be an ordinary writer? Do not be afraid to exercise abandon-stretch the writing rules. If you want to write a poem about a dancing tootsie roll-go ahead and try. Just because every other writer is operating in the "norm" does not mean you cannot experiment and cross the line. How can you become a better writer if you are not willing to stretch your limits and be different from other writers? There have been writers that broke the mold in their time (consider Cervantes and Edgar Allen Poe). We would have never heard of these writers if they had not decided the conformity of their time was unacceptable.

Think like and become a tree

This statement serves as an example for a talent that writers should develop. Become the thing you are writing about. If you want to write about a tree, should you just write a dull litany? The tree was planted as a seed; it grew tall and now provides shade for animals. Writing about a tree must go deeper than that. Make yourself the tree. Imagine what it feels like to be a tree. How does it feel when the sun is on your back? How does it feel when the cold winter wind blows on you? Write like you are the tree telling the story. Then you can draw people in. When they are reading your tale they can feel like the tree also. If you want to write about nature you cannot provide just a thin layer of skin. Emotions cannot be invoked. The heart of the piece cannot be reached if you do not dig deeper beyond the first layer. Become lost in your words while writing. Become so involved in your writing you feel as if you are ingrained into the paper. People can become lost in reading a book. You can also become lost when writing. A firecracker could go off over your head and you would not even notice.

Let life teach you

Wisdom can be a tool for writing. Any experience you go though, any obstacle you overcome and any dream that is attained can become a source of inspiration. Life's path teaches wisdom that can cultivate your heart and mind's potential to become a better writer. Life is not just people. The expression "Life on Earth" also pertains to all life-animals, plants, water, land and air. What can this life teach us? We can learn valuable insight from other people; why not learn valuable traits from other living things? Even a humble ant can teach us something. Colonies of ants live and work in harmony without name calling, obnoxious behavior, fighting or killing one another. All human beings should learn to work like a colony of ants. Most of the world's problems would be solved if they did so. Life teaches-it is a silent instruction that is not heard but seen and felt. Birds teach, flowers teach and even a mud puddle can contain valuable knowledge.

Be an empathic and considerate writer

How can we write about people if we cannot feel their sorrow, joy or pain? There are many people that lack consideration for others. A pushy attitude is prevalent in this world. People are in a rush to get somewhere first. If a writer lacks consideration for others and also lacks fellow feeling for humankind, how can this writer be any good?

Readers will disregard this writer's words if salt is rubbed into their eyes while reading. Some writers foist their opinions on others. It is not wrong to write about your opinions. Some people when they write can come across as a person who is saying," This is how it is and you must think like me. If you do not think like me then you are no good." I have read some writer's work where I felt like the writer was attacking a reader's right to be a unique individual. We all have our own dislikes and unique personalities. Should we be bashed because we do not think like the writer? I take offense to this kind of writing.

If a writer does not have consideration for their readers and attacks their readers' choices in life, this writer should not write at all. Put yourself in your readers' place. Consider what other people want to read. It is better to soothe readers with your words than be like a harsh gong in their ears.

You can be generalized when writing about your opinions. There are people who litter. I think this is unacceptable behavior. We all did not grow up in a garbage dump so why should we litter? I think it is all right to write that people who litter are wrong. I am not judging them personally. I am not stating any names. People litter, that is a fact. It is not wrong to write about a fact. Maybe the people who litter are not ashamed of their behavior. That is all right with me, it will not prevent me from writing about littering. If I were to bash a person because they preferred dogs to cats (where as I prefer cats to dogs), I would not be showing consideration for that person's taste. I like snakes. Will someone write a poem mocking me because I like snakes? I am an adult who still likes to dunk my cookies in milk. Will I be called childish because of this? I collect teddy bears. Is someone going to write a long nasty litany telling me to grow up? If someone collected garbage can lids, I would think it was a little strange. I would not write a story telling this person they were wrong because they collected garbage can lids. Hold the door open for your readers; do not smash their fingers in that door.

Last of all-Have a love and appreciation for reading and writing

I think the best writers are the ones who have a love of reading. Writers who love reading have instilled an appreciation for words that shows in what they write. Having the ability to read and write is a gift. This gift should never be taken for granted. The world would be lost and a much different place without books and without the means of writing down our thoughts.

Words are a treasure, a treasure that must never be lost. Do not fall out of practice with your writing. If you let months or years go by without writing something, it will be more difficult to organize and collect your thoughts when you do return to writing. Look upon reading and writing as a necessity, just as necessary as breathing. Do not hold off reading and writing for long. If you have the itch to read or write, scratch that itch.

If you hold off reading you may lose valuable knowledge. If you have the urge to write and do not satisfy that urge, you may lose some of your ability to express yourself. Is this true? Some people, who have learned a new language and have failed to use that knowledge later, eventually lose the ability to speak that language. A muscle becomes atrophied if not used. Our writing ability can atrophy from non-use. A talent wasted or unexpressed is like building a beautiful house that later sits empty without anyone occupying that house. Why have a writing talent if you will never share that talent with others?

I have been writing poetry since I was eleven years old. I could have published my poetry many years ago but I was too timid to share my talent. I was afraid people would not appreciate my endeavors. I think other writers are the best people to read your work. Writers who appreciate the craft of writing can appreciate other writers' talents more than non-writers. They can understand the hard work that went into the piece. They can identify with the obstacles it took to become a writer. They can empathize with the struggles of other writers. Do not hide your writing in your desk drawer never to see the light. How can you call yourself a writer if you never share your work?

If a person writes a grocery list does that mean they are a writer? If all you write is grocery lists and never write a poem, story, novel, article or essay this does not qualify you as a writer. Writing is writing, whether it is a grocery list, a to do list or appointments written on a calendar. A writer is someone who writes and shares what they write with others. After all you would not publish your grocery list would you? Love words; appreciate the gift of reading and writing. Be brave and share what you create. Do not ever stop writing.

If any who read this want to disregard the advice I have given, that is their choice. Perhaps they wish to choose other advice on what makes a good writer. The advice I give comes from my personal experiences of what helped me become a better writer. You can gleam from your own experiences other avenues that may help you become a good writer besides what I brought out here. I hope that what I have written may help someone.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a fulfilling and happy life as a writer.




Poetry by Amy Buchanan
Read 712 times
Written on 2007-04-04 at 12:48

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Thank you for the tips, I must admit they are more than welcome here :). Writing can be an easy thing or not, the only issue here is to always try and to believe in yourself. Your tips make this task easier, and therefore thanks are given to you one more time :).
Lilly xxx
2007-04-04