Three ways to Hone your Writing

Yes, yes, I’ve gone down that well of the numbered list blog posts. This shouldn’t be a regular occurrence but bear with me, I’m experimenting in the background of this beast that I call a website and seeing what it can do.  Its an ongoing thing. There is so so so so so so much advice out there for new and aspiring writers, and much of it follows relatively similar paths. That’s awesome. Its amazing. There’s tons out there. What I’ve included below are three important points that I haven’t seen as much of on my forays into the wilds of the internet.

1) Find new ways to get paid for your writing.

This is key, especially for new writers. A lot of advice seems to be about continuing your day job while you chip away at your novel/short story/whatever you’re working on. That’s also awesome, and totally a thing people can do. What it doesn’t do, however, is get you used to writing for a deadline. Many starting writers seem to have, from my totally anecdotal experience, a difficulty with being creative on demand. They write everyday but don’t necessarily have the same drive to produce as part of your pay being associated with it.

There are a bunch of ways that you can work on getting paid for your creative writing; writing for magazines, newspapers, your blog (if done well and properly), for videogames, for mods for videogames, pen and paper games, and so on. This also gets your mind trained for this work you do being worth money, and gets you used to working with editors and people on the publishing end long before your first novel. You’ll have experience that a lot of other first time novelists won’t have which will make a lot of people happy.

2) Be Efficient!

This is one of my favorite ones. Some people call it lazy, but there is no reason that you can’t reuse the research that you did before on something else. For example; I’m working on a pitch for a company where I’m going to write about the glory days of the Ottoman Empire, the fall of Byzantium and the rise of Constantinople. Then, I’m going to turn around and pitch an article on the same topic to a history magazine that I have my eye on. This is by no means using the same thing I’ve written in multiple places, though when the time comes to put together an anthology that is the thing I’ll be doing, but rather using the research I did in multiple different locations. There isn’t much else to add to this one but there is no reason you can’t reuse research and other work where its justified. Its what a lot of writers do when they write books as resources for other writers.

3) Get out of the House and Meet People!

This one gets some attention but it honestly needs more. Writers tend to be relatively solitary folks and its pretty easy to spend all your time “socializing” on Facebook or other social media venues. That’s great; build your audience, make friends, etc. But you’re missing out if that’s all you’re doing. You need to go have adventures and meet people and do things. If you don’t you’re missing out on what has classically been one of the biggest ways that writers have been able to get things to put into their stories. Chuck Palahniuk describes it as going out and collecting stories before stitching them together into his novels, there’s no way that Hemmingway’s experiences didn’t affect his writing, and your experiences are going to affect yours. If you’re always inside on social media you’re going to be missing something.

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