I've been writing all my life--journaling, short stories, ideas for new books. But it wasn't until college that I started to really have writing become a part of my daily life; I've finished two novels, hundreds of articles, started a blog, and I am also a writer for a few online magazines (The Odyssey, Mogul, The Compass). I've watched my writing styles change and grow in these last two years, I've expanded my ideas to things I would've never wanted to write before, and I've learned how to be a better writer. If you're new to writing, an expert writer, or somewhere in the middle, I've made a list of my top 10 best writing tips from an amateur like me.
1. Just write it
Don't think about it--just go. Don't worry about editing or grammatical errors. Don't worry if something doesn't sound right or if it isn't coming out like you want it to. Write down your exact thoughts, write like you think it, write with your heart.
2. Don't think too hard
When I want my piece to have an extraordinary factor, I try not think too much about it. I let my mind flow from idea to and idea (sometimes not so flow-y) and I just follow it. I find that I learn a lot about myself starting with a general idea and just seeing where my mind takes me. Don't try so hard to make it great--that'll happen naturally.
3. Read it over out loud
If you're anything like me, you can't stand spelling or grammar errors. I read and re-read my pieces over to myself when I am finished and fix all the silly mistakes I made or add in words when I was writing so fast I forgot to type them.
4. Take the smallest idea and crack it open
Sometimes I'll have a clear cut idea of what I want to write about, only to find myself rambling off in a different direction. Thats okay, thats where the best writing comes from for me. It isn't something I plan or make sure that I do, it just happens.
5. Don't stop writing
I think this is a great technique when you have writers block, are stuck on where to go next, or just don't know what to say. Keep typing in sentences, even if they are random, and let your creative juices take over.
6. Don't stop to edit
This only makes me lose my train of thought and then I have to reset all over again. Don't let your mind dwell on the last line, be in the present, you can go back to fix it later.
7. Forget you have an audience
If you are writing for something or someone other than yourself, you're not doing it right. What I mean is that you need to enjoy what you are writing about, putting your whole effort in, feeling passionate about the topic, and not letting an audience scare you away from what you really want to say.
8. Practice your own writing style and hone your skills
I've read thousands of different writing styles since middle school--each unique and their own. I've kind of adapted my own as well, to the ones I like, and although it has definitely changed in the last two years, I feel I have a distinguished voice in writing. Do your own thing and don't be afraid to try something new.
9. Share it
It can be nerve-wracking to share your writing with others and even more so if you let their judgments overpower your own. It doesn't matter if someone thinks you're a good writer or not, if someone has something bad to say about you or not. I've heard terribly, awful things about my writing over the last two years, but its never stopped me from continuing on.
10. Write for yourself
Writing is something that doesn't come naturally for everyone, just like anything else in this world. I think if you follow your own heart and mind, and just let it all go, your writing world is going to become a whole lot bigger. Don't be too hard on yourself, just write. Put words on a page and erase them. Do it again. Write for yourself.