Writing Fundamentals You Might Be Missing
Writing can be as enjoyable or stressful as you make it to be. Some of the most famous writers in the world have struggled to get their careers going but they managed by making writing their life’s work. No one can succeed as a writer if they don’t take it seriously and familiarize themselves with some of the fundamental rules of writing.
It’s a lifestyle
Before giving writing a serious thought, ask yourself what it is that you want to do in life. Some people write journals or personal blogs and vent their writing habits privately. Others crave for more however, and getting more out of writing means committing the majority of your time to it.
Consider the notion of writing for hours on end each day and then laying in bed completely tired – how do you feel? Do you feel like writing more or do you think about the time you’ve just “wasted”. The first thing that pops into your mind is the answer you are looking for, and if it’s the latter, maybe professional writing isn’t for you. Many people have failed to become professionals – for every successful writer; there are 10 other writers who never caught a break. Being passionate and committed is the first step in becoming truly great at writing.
Writing an original piece takes much more time and effort than your usual essays or papers would. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be original – avoiding plagiarism and not copying any elements from other sources will do the trick. Originality is the sum of elements that have not been combined before. Using several writers and texts as an inspiration for your own writing is the proper way to start developing your own writing voice. Every writer began by looking up to their idols and using their texts as a springboard to creating something entirely different.
Creating a system
Anyone who writes fulltime will tell you that it’s all about creating a system. The idea of a writer who has a “Eureka!” moment each day and writes at random intervals doesn’t exist. Hard work and strict working habits are what separate professionals from amateurs.
Try creating a system in which you can write 3-4 hours each day. Do you have enough material to write about? If so, try developing additional ideas and branching out your initial writing into different narratives, versions of the same text, trying to make it as short or as long as possible, etc. Practicing writing in this way will give you a clear sense of what “clicks” with you – if it’s short stories, great, if it’s long novels, good. You won’t know until you try constantly and give it your best.
Rewriting and editing
You’d be surprised as to how many manuscripts coming from professional writers turn into something else entirely once the rewriting phase begins. Some writers tend to write and edit as they go along, but most of them finish writing a rough draft of their text and then start editing. Editing your texts after a few days is a good way to create a more distanced perspective on your writing – going into it immediately won’t give you the same view.
You will still feel fond and attached to the words that you put on paper, making it difficult to change or delete anything. Create a system of editing that works for your personal writing habits – don’t follow any tutorials that you might find online about the psychology of rewriting a text. Editing a text is strictly subjective and if the text is supposed to get published send it to your publisher and editor as well before making any significant changes.
Formatting your text properly is just as important as what you put on paper. People won’t read your text if you write a block of text without any sense of what’s what. Using headings, subheadings, paragraphs, numbered or bulleted lists and citations is just as important as the inspirational writing you are using.
You can check out some of the formatting examples online and get the idea of how to shape your content and make it reader-friendly. You can also ask for help from a friend or a professional if you need any help with your first texts, but the best way to learn is to do it yourself. Take some time and do all the formatting yourself, using only the internet as your guide.
Attention to headlines
No one will read your text if the headline is uninspired. People tend to pick up books, magazines and online articles based on their headlines and short synopsis. Pay close attention to capturing the essence of your text by writing these elements in the editing phase and focusing on a hook.
The synopsis should tease the content of your text but not give anything away – you want people to keep reading and explore the entirety of your writing. This will take some getting used to, as many writers make the mistake of revealing the gist of their texts in the headlines. This makes the reading process much less mysterious and exciting but it will still make people read your text if the content itself is appealing to them.
One of the key problems that many writers face is keeping their focus high enough during the writing process. There are so many possible distractions around us at any given moment that we can hardly stay focused at one thing in particular – especially if that thing happens to be writing.
Creating quality content takes concentration and creativeness which are hindered by electronic devices, house noises, neighborhood sounds and anything that breaks you out of the writing process. Make sure that you create a stress-free environment in which you can write and do nothing else. Set a timer each time you start writing and think about nothing else while you write.
Publishing your work
Getting published by someone is a huge deal and it’s also something that many writers will never live to see. While there are numerous publishers in each country – book and paper publishers alike – they are always looking for a profit from their writers. Is publishing your text going to bring them money? How long will it bring money for and in what quantities?
Unfortunately, this is the part of the writing fundamentals that no one wants to admit to – publishers publish for money and word-of-mouth, not because they are good people. Think about the commercial nature of your writing while you are still developing it.
Pitching that idea to a publisher shouldn’t be too hard as long as there is a positive side for them. Emphasize the vision behind your text but also the commercial application if it should ever be printed. This is usually what separates professional writers from casual and creative writers who keep their texts to themselves.
It’s easy to stay creative once the writing process has begun. Doing creativity exercises each day during your morning coffee will help you a great deal. Grab any piece of paper and start brainstorming about a word or an object that’s close-by. This will kick start your brain into high gear as soon as you open your eyes, allowing you to continue writing where you left off without any worries.
This is an essential part of the writing process that many people neglect. Writing is no different than painting or graphic design in a way that it allows the author to express their inner feelings and ideas. Write creatively without thinking about external opinions and edit the text afterwards.
The most important part of writing is enjoying your work. Do you feel complete and purposeful when you write? Do you feel like you could do this for the rest of your life? If so, you can check out some of the many journalism courses or start up a freelancing career online to get your professional career going. Many people tend to write online and that’s completely satisfying to them – they have never even considered publishing their work in print.
There are writers who write for themselves and writers who write for others. The former will either become a huge success (like J.K. Rowling) or fade into obscurity – there are no clear rules. The later however will never become famous or respected as writers but rather work in agencies and copywriting projects and earn a nice living from the comfort of their homes.
Whatever category you fall into, make sure that you embrace it completely. Keeping one foot in the door won’t make you a good writer and it will take up your free time which you can use to pursue other venues. Whatever the case may be, writing fundamentals are the essence of what makes a writer tick. Anyone who is considering writing should know these rules and shape them to their own writing practice.