Valuable Advice That Helped Me Start My Writing Career

Instead of sulking and beating myself up, my idea of dealing with the problem is to shake whatever feeling of unworthiness I had and just do what I do best… which is to write.

I’ve written for a number of clients. I know I can write… and yet there’s this little devil sitting on my shoulder whispering, “You’re still not good enough.”

I honestly want to smack him with a skillet because him being there is not helping me at all.

Writing can be hard work.

No, not all the time. Just sometimes when you’re not in the mood, or when something else is taking up your attention.

Instead of sulking and beating myself up, my idea of dealing with the problem is to shake whatever feeling of unworthiness I had and just do what I do best… which is to write.

I used to browse writing websites for whatever advice I could scrape to help me out, and the most effective ones for me were really the simple ones. In my opinion, we all get incredible advice all the time, but we never take them seriously. Maybe because they’re so commonplace that they hardly seem special anymore. Or we just don’t want to listen. God knows why.

For my first post, I’m sharing the tips I’ve come across that have really stuck with me after my two years of being a freelance writer. They’re precious to me, and I’m hoping that they can also help a struggling writer out there who’s not quite sure how to handle that sneaky little devil on their shoulder.

1. Read the works of great writers

Learn from the masters by emulating them.

After that, you should find your own voice while retaining the techniques learned from those who have already achieved writing success. Play close attention to style and structure, in addition to how the content is written as a whole.

2. Write a lot

Try to exercise your writing muscle by writing as much as you can.

The more you write, the better you’ll get at it. We all know that writing is a skill, and just like any other skill, it requires practice for us to get better. Write for yourself, a blog, or other publications. Whatever it is, just write and have fun while doing it. Trust me, it will get easier after awhile.


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

3. Write down ideas all the time

For this, you may want to consider using a small notebook or set of index cards.

Having a way to write down ideas as they come can be very valuable. Not all ideas are acted on, and most of the time this happens because they tend to slip from our minds.

We should be able to act on the brilliant ideas that come to us, and having a notebook and pen handy does wonders in achieving that.

4. Set aside time every day to write

The brain recognizes when a habit is trying to be formed, and it adapts even better when it recognizes that a time period is set for this activity.

Try to study yourself and find out whether there’s a particular time when you feel most inspired to write. Some people may feel at their best writing early in the morning, while others prefer a cooler environment and write in the middle of the night.

If you’re the type of person who dislikes routine work and prefer to mix up your writing time, then don’t hold back. You should know what works best for you.

5. Write without thinking

For a lot of perfectionist writers, this sounds like terrible advice.

I’m not saying that you move your fingers with complete disregard as to whether your writing is making any sense. I’m saying to just dive into the task at hand. No pressure. No judgment. Write about how you don’t feel like writing, or write about how confused you are right now… I don’t care, just write something. Once your brain gets into the act itself, delete or edit out the gibberish you made earlier.


6. Write distraction-free

What’s considered a ‘distraction’ varies from person to person. A writer may prefer to work in silence and find music to be an unwelcome disturbance, or he may enjoy it and see it as a useful mood-setting companion (I’m more of the latter).

Look around you and observe what goes on in your environment – try adding and taking things out of your view. Try working with and without music. Once you’ve established the things you consider a distraction and those that help you write, you should be able to mold your environment and put yourself in the perfect position to write without distraction.

7. Plan your writing

This advice is meant for writers who actually do better planning out their content.

Having a writing outline is useful in that they reduce the time needed for thinking about how to structure things. It helps you figure out what to include where, and to put off certain topics for when you reach the segment its meant to appear in.

Again, this works for some people but not all. If you know what you’re writing about and already have an idea about how things are going to look and sound in the end, that may be good enough.

8. Dare to experiment

The great writers of today and yesterday were no doubt putting their creativity to good use. Writing isn’t always about the rules, or about making your work sound like someone else’s. It’s about improving your own voice and being confident enough to try out new things.

Get inspiration from the masters but believe that you have it in you to come up with something that hasn’t been done before.

Break the mold.

Be daring.

Be willing to experiment.

9. Critic other people’s work, then your own

P10-quotes-to-inspire-writers-2-638eople write differently from one another, but it doesn’t take much to recognize great writing when you see it. But even great writing has some room for improvement. Being able to recognize great writing should mean that you can recognize it from yourself.

Pick out one of your favorite articles from other authors and make notes on what you like about it.

Try to put into words what it was about the article that left an impression on you, then put on your ‘critic’s glasses’ and voice out everything that could’ve been done better. After doing this on someone else’s work, do it on your own.

You may get a nauseous feeling judging your own work harshly, but in time, it becomes a part of the growing process. It not only teaches humility in writing, but also honesty, integrity, and above all, courage.

10. Practice concise writing

By this, I mean practice getting your thoughts across clearly.

This may involve taking out a sentence, or even an entire paragraph. In fact, you may even have to rewrite the whole piece itself. The fun thing about this is that you can deconstruct your original content and use your creativity and ‘critic’s glasses’ to come up with something new, better, and more original.

The point of this exercise is to make sure that you only leave the important things. What is unnecessary is, of course, unnecessary. If it doesn’t add any value to the content as a whole, then you’re better off without it.

Consideration can be given to some situations, however. If your sentence has done nothing else but add more personality to your writing, then it’s still valuable. If it tells your story better or creates the mood you were hoping to achieve, then leave it and let it honestly reflect your writing style.

Great writing isn’t always perfect writing – it’s writing with authenticity.

11. Practice writing powerful sentences

A powerful sentence is something that leaves an impression right after your eyes are done going through it. It may not make a reader stop and reconsider his whole life, but if it can leave a lingering feeling of truth, or if there’s a dramatic impact, then that is powerful writing.

For this, you may want to take a look at the speeches of famous people such as Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, and Gandhi. Your writing may not always be required to have that much impact, but at least you know when to write powerfully when it counts.

12. Get feedback

To quote another writer: “You can’t get better in a vacuum.”

Not everyone has the resources or connections to have an editor go over their work, but if you can, get someone who can recognize great writing to give you honest feedback about your work. This person should preferably be a voracious reader and reads in a diverse field or genre.

If you’re having an article criticized, he or she should be someone who frequents well-written articles. If it’s a chapter of a novel, then he or she must be someone who gobbles up novels from famous, celebrated authors.


13. Put yourself out there

For some writers, there’s nothing scarier than letting the public read your work.

It’s like exposing a part of you that you’d rather keep secret. But the whole business of writing is about getting thoughts and ideas across to other people, and it can mean baring your entire being for others to judge and criticize. Sometimes you’ll have to weigh it out with yourself whether it’s worth the vulnerability you’ll go through.

If you’re not prepared to be judged, then don’t do it. If you’re ready to take a bold step and do what others can’t easily do, then it’s time to put yourself out there.

14. Write as if you’re having a conversation

Sometimes there’s no better way for someone else to understand your work than to write as if you’re speaking to an audience in front of you.

This will also take some creativity. It may even feel like forcing yourself to multi-task by having to imagine a real live audience while coming up with words on your laptop, but if you can find a way to clearly imagine the general message and writing style needed to make your work sound personal and conversational, then you have something worthwhile to read.

15. Know how to start, and how to end

Generally, you want your whole writing to be as good as possible, but it’s a rare skill to be able to start and end with a bang.

With articles, the beginning should beautifully tell what the whole writing is about, or what the reader can hope to find. The end is where you usually summarize and tie everything together.

There are a number of different ways to start and end an article well, and it helps to practice all of them so you’ll have a number to choose from in the future. If you keep using one style of opening for every article, that often comes across as a lack of creativity. The more you’re willing to diversify, the more interesting your overall portfolio of articles will appear, and the more impressed your audience will be with your writing as a whole.

It’s easy to impress someone with just one article, but impressing them with your natural way of writing is something to be proud of.


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