Writing is a talent and skill that serves many purposes personally and professionally. Whether it’s collaborating with one of my kids on a short story or writing a blog post for a customer, writing is in every fabric of my life. I’m happy to present my 15 favorite writing tips — wise advice for beginning writers or anyone who wants to be a more productive writer.
1. Pray before every writing session
I like to engage the God of creation before I enter into writing endeavors. I think it’s wise to seek God’s guidance so that I can write with excellence. My desire, and hopefully yours too, is to make content that ultimately points back to God’s goodness in all that He does.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2 (NIV)
2. Be consistent with your writing routine
Writing is like exercising. The more that you exercise your writing muscle, the stronger writer you’ll be. And like not always wanting to go to the gym…you’re not always going to feel like writing but you have to get in your words in order to build a good habit. Personally, I’m a morning writer. It’s when I have the most creative energy. But I’m writing this at night because I simply had to grind out these words.
3. Anticipate distractions and temptations
There will be phone calls, text messages, Facebook, crying kids, Instagram, and more. Most of us (including me) aren’t disciplined enough to ignore these distractions. Therefore, it’s wise to eliminate the opportunity for distractions. Put your smartphone in a separate room. Have your Google Docs tab or your Word software be the only thing open on your computer.
4. Write about topics of deep interest
If you enjoy writing about a topic, it won’t feel like work. It’ll be much easier to do rule #2. Also, your passion for and knowledge of the topic will shine through your writing.
5. Make an outline first
An outline will help you organize your thoughts, ideas, and research. This step might seem like a waste of time, but trust me…it will save you tons of time. Reference our 3×3 writing process article for more help with making outlines.
6. Write without fear
Fear can stop you in your tracks. It can make you question everything (even if it’s good)! Put the process of doing good writing over outcomes (how you think people will respond). Write while you can and share it with the world.
7. Write to non-distracting music that inspires you
This is pretty self-explanatory. I often write to Radiohead’s music. I also enjoy writing to lo-fi instrumentals. Lyrics of new songs distract me. Therefore, I typically jam old, familiar tunes.
8. Express your point succinctly
There’s a place for flowery and fluffy language, but it can wear on a reader after a while. My favorite writers know how to get a point across in a few words. I know that you can too.
9. Only use adverbs when necessary
10. Don’t go for perfection with your first draft
Striving for the perfect first draft can slow down your writing process. Just let your pen or cursor flow. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Some of your best ideas will come from allowing your mind to relax. And don’t worry about spelling and grammar, you can address that during your review and editing phases.
11. Read your writing out loud
I catch silly errors with this simple tactic.
12. Take breaks
You never want your writing to feel and sound forced. Taking a break will help you restart your writing task with a fresh approach.
13. Get a different set of eyes for review and editing
Another trusted set of eyes will often catch errors that you don’t catch. Use an editor who is both critical and constructive.
14. Consider the power of helping just one reader
This will inspire you to keep going. You likely won’t gain critical mass (if that’s your desire) overnight. Think about how you can impact lives through your writing one reader at a time.
15. Give thanks to God for every word written
I would be here breathing if it were not for my Creator. I wouldn’t have the ability to write if it were not for the abilities and resources that God has given to me. I wouldn’t honor Him through my writing if it were not for the influence of the Holy Spirit. I wouldn’t consider the eternal consequences of my words if it were not for the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it’s only right that I give thanks to God for every word that I write.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2
I hope that my advice for beginning writers has been helpful for you. Please share this post with your friends and family who aspire to write.