January 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm #3502
I know writing and reading are the main ones, and I’m working on those; but does anyone have any suggestions on other things I can do to improve my writing? Classes, mentoring, exercises? What’s worked for you?January 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm #5964
Any of the things you’ve mentioned can help. I’ve found classes and writing buddies to be especially helpful, but there’s truly nothing that will help you better than rolling up your sleeves and writing.
And writing some more.January 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm #5965
I was wondering the same thing. Thanks. What happens when you’ve lost faith in yourself?January 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm #5966
I guess that depends on how much you love writing. I don’t think there’s an easy answer for that.
There have been times when I’ve given up on myself, but I’m so addicted to writing that I start to go bonkers if I go too long without doing it.
You just have to keep plugging away at it. And try to get feedback from other people from time to time. They can point out things you don’t see yourself.
It’s also an amazing feeling when one of those people point out something you used to be terrible at and say, “That thing that you did really worked.”
Whatever you do, don’t give up!January 22, 2013 at 10:21 pm #5967
Hello to you all! I just signed up and am looking forward to engaging with you ladies.
I might have some insight for you here.
I think it might be helpful for you to narrow your focus a bit. What do you feel is holding you back the most? What are you struggling with? For me, it has been problems with story structure and plot. What I did when I realized this was to read several books on the topic that really resonated with me (books on screenwriting were very helpful, as was Larry Brook’s “Story Engineering”.) Then, I read several novels, and analyzed each one using what I had learned. I did my analysis in writing, as though it were an assignment. Wow! What a huge help learning this way has been. I understand so much more now. I’ve begun practicing with my own work now that I have a deeper grasp of the issues at hand.
You can do this with any aspect of writing once you narrow it down. Learn a little, then analyze other people’s work – what did they do? Why did it work? Why didn’t it?
To Pamela: when you’ve lost faith in yourself, ask Why? Then set out to resolve that problem. You can overcome anything, I believe.
Hope this advice is at least a little helpful!January 23, 2013 at 12:46 am #5968
Thanks so much! Good advice. I’m regaining my confidence and have begun writing again. I guess for me it’s practise makes perfect. Also, reading children’s books helps me to stay focused and keeps me in touch with what children like to read.January 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm #5969
I have started journaling. At first I thought well I’m spending time writing in the journal instead of on my writing project. But then, I would get done writing in the journal and go straight to my writing project and write until I couldn’t. So it has really helped me. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but you could try it.January 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm #5970
Disclaimer: This is merely my own opinion. I am not a professional. Feel free to try this at home.
First of all, don’t just read, but read good stuff. Read books that inspire you to write because you love the way they are written, which has nothing to do with plot. Look at books that have won awards and consider what worked about those. Contrary to popular belief, being published is not validation. Look at the graveyard of books on the discount table at the bookstore and realize that publishers can make bad decisions. Not everything picked up by a publishing house (even a major one) is worth reading. I strongly believe that some people just got lucky when they were beamed in the head by a book deal. In fact, I’m totally sure.
There are two parts to writing: the craft and the art. The craft is about structure, discipline, plotting, the mechanics, kind of utilitarian. The art is about taking your words to the next level by using figurative language while having the good taste to know when less is more, which is like knowing that safari table and cheetah rug clash with the pink chandelier. It has more to do with aesthetics. In the world of fiction, we long for both in order to enjoy a book or to produce an enjoyable book. Some books I’ve read were strong in craft but weak in artistic merit. Some writers may truly love to write and weave metaphors, but they can’t figure out where they’re going enough to wrap up an idea or finish a book. Brainstorm. Do word associations. Mind map. Read the best writing. Use your journal as practice. Play with words in poetry. Try haiku, which forces you to summarize a thought in seventeen syllables. Study figurative language and do homework by writing your own hyperboles and metaphors and similes.
I hope this helps. 🙂January 20, 2015 at 1:16 pm #6347
This topic is pretty old, so I’m reviving it. I’m sure there are new members (and some old ones) still looking for ways to improve their craft. Other than writing, writing, and writing some more, and reading good books, there’s a lot to be learned from seasoned authors on the net. When I want to learn a specific element, I do a search for it. A good place to start is the basics: grammar, plots, scene structure, POV, deep POV, backstory and flashbacks, settings, character development, using senses in writing. There’s more, but this will give most of you a good start
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