As aspiring writers, one thing we normally do (or are told to do) is to look up for tips or suggestions from other writer in order to improve. On this quest, we tend to find a million tips and tricks for making the process of writing a novel or a short story or a script a whole lot easier. Well, I wanted to dedicate this post to some of the different myths and tips among the writer community, and my personal experience regarding them.
All Writers are different
The first thing that is important to note, is that not every writer is the same. It is very important, whenever you read a tip or suggestion, that you understand that it might have a point, it might sound correct, but it might just not work for you! What works for other people might not be the thing for you.
Imagine something as simple as how you ask for a drink on a bar, or how you clean your room, or how you arrange your clothes in the closet. You probably have noticed other people do these things differently. "You shouldn't wear your watch on your right arm" someone might tell you, but that's where you like it. It is just like that with writing. Some things might be good for you, and some might not. Be open to learn new things, but never think they must be done that way. Learn what to take, and what to let go.
Daily Goals are the easiest way to write
This is a very popular one. More than once I've come across these plans that promise you'll have a commercial novel in three months, by writing a 1000 words a day for a 100 days (which, indeed, you can consider a 100,000 words novel commercial). However, there are several problems with this model.
First of all, you're not in a writing mood everyday, nor at all times. At moments you might have this incredible flow of ideas, and you can sit down and write non-stop for hours. However, you could also spend a whole hour in front of your computer, willing to write, and not type a single word. You shouldn't write a certain amount of words a day: that will make your writing stiff, and unnatural. Try to write as much as possible, as long as you are feeling the emotions and the will to write.
Second thing I don't like about this concept is that it only conceives the initial writing process. Before writing your novel, there is a long process of research you should follow. You should ideate characters, plan a general plot, what you want to achieve with your story, what message you want to get across with it, and what's the best way to get it across to your readers. Also, when you finish your story, you need to start the revision process (into which I don't want to dive too much, because there is a lot to be said, and deserves a dedicated post for it). There's a lot more than just writing your story, other than the fact that you shouldn't initially limit the amount of words it should have.
In order to write, you need to read
Yes, you do. You need to read a lot in order for you to improve your writing. However, be selective. Read things related to the topic, genre, or style of what you are writing. Usually, those are the reads that really help you propel your story forward. Also, try to focus on words, expressions, or ways of delivering story that you do not use in your writing, for you to enrich yourself. Whatever might be the intent of your reading, never seize.
A tree cannot grow without water, and a writer cannot bloom without books. Read constantly, but also write constantly. Not only your main stories: try exercises. There are a lot of cool tools and websites dedicated to provide awesome, useful exercises, like campfire storytelling, writing prompts, and plenty other cool things. Tumblr is full of useful pages for writers. Don't hesitate to give them a try.
Plotting is a Must
A plot might probably be the must trustworthy, organized way for you to outline your story, and know where you should be heading to with it. However, I wouldn't say it is for everybody. I personally do plot, but I don't stick to it a hundred percent. I like to enjoy the story as I'm writing it. Sometimes, I feel a character shouldn't do what I plotted them to do, simply because, taking into account the events, and how I felt their story developed, it isn't the right thing anymore.
The plot might be a guideline, or it might be your goal. Either way, you need to try out both (or even not having a plot at all), and figure out which way works better for you.
Anybody can be a Writer
I don't want to jeopardize any aspiring writer's future with this, but I believe this is not a thing anybody can do, unlike what some authors say. The thing about writing stories, especially good stories, is that they require time, dedication, a lot of time into thinking and planning, plotting and revising, and simply put, patience is not a virtue of all. Of course, if you are really passionate about it, you will find your own way into coming across that amazing story, and be able to successfully write and edit it, but that requires you devoting to it. Your story is not going to be written on its own (as much as I have personally wished more than once), but you have to get your hand dirty and get some writing done.
If you truly believe this is a passion of yours, then don't let my words discourage you, because that is not my intention. Strive for improving your prose and your ideas, and work hard for making them become a reality.
As I said at the beginning, most of the tips you find should be taken into consideration, but never as a definitive rule. One off the many wonders of writing is that you can make it as personal and enjoyable as you want. Create your own rules, stories, characters, and live and enjoy every second of it!
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in the comment section below your thoughts about this topic.