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How to Write a Performance Review

Employers and employees find value in performance reviews. The feedback can range from guidance to praise, thus allowing for both parties to engage in discussion regarding what’s working and what isn’t. It’s for that reason leaders need to learn how to write a performance review using these guidelines.

Regular Feedback is Critical

While a performance review typically has a bi-annual schedule, that doesn’t mean regular feedback in-between those dates shouldn’t be happening. Therefore, look up how to write a performance review sample, and use that as your springboard for regular feedback. In doing so, your employees are sure they won’t be hearing about their performance during their first review. When looking up how to write a sample performance review, you’ll find that they’re comprised of many fundamental components including communication, teamwork and collaboration skills, problem-solving, accuracy and quality of work, dependability, and attendance, and meeting deadlines.

Utilize the Employee’s Job Description

When you’re unsure where to begin, utilize the employee’s job description as a springboard for their performance evaluation sample. In doing so, you’ll can determine if they satisfied all the requirements and responsibilities of the job description’s listings. You’ll also be able to determine if there were aspects of the job description where they were lacking. Be sure the job description is up-to-date before working on the performance review. That way, you’re sure the position hasn’t undergone any changes since the job description was written.

Use Key Points

When writing the performance review, focus only on key points. For example, if the review is about whether or not the employee is achieving their goals, focus on those key points. Examples of performance goals samples include that the employee must complete a certain level of tasks before being considered for a promotion. Some sample resolutions if the employee is not achieving their goals would include that they would implement a strategy for meeting their goals and then set up another check-in with you to assess their progress.

Request Feedback from Colleagues

When writing the performance review, it’s essential to solicit feedback from colleagues who have worked closely with them. This action is often referred to as obtaining 360-feedback because you’re receiving feedback for the employee from his coworkers, boss, and any other relevant staff. Use of coworker feedback samples includes asking employees what they like or appreciate about their coworker, when they thought their coworker did a great job, or what they would like to see change about a situation.

Keep Track of Performance

When learning how to write performance reviews, keeping track of an employee’s performance is part of achieving that goal. You’ll be working with sample performance comments from other employees, as well as logging their attendance, following policies, how well their meeting deadlines, and if they’re achieving their goals. When working on these tasks, you may need a logbook sample that includes information about their daily job performance. For example, the ledger sheet sample could consist of information about if accidents occurred if it’s a factory or cash overages if you’re in the retail industry. It’s essential to keep policies on-hand, like a cash management policy sample or sample IT policies, for example, to ensure they’re up-to-date and ready to present during the performance review.


writing with tips

30 Writing Tips to Make Writing Easier

Karen Hertzberg

Every day, you write, whether it’s a college paper, blog post, work document, email, or social media update. Your writing represents who you are personally and professionally, so it’s worth it to hone your skills. Here are thirty writing tips to help you communicate better in text.

30 Writing Tips to Help You Get Started

1 set writing goals..

Maybe you want to write a certain number of words per day or upgrade your vocabulary. You can’t reach a goal unless you have one , so write that goal down and work toward it.

Write with confidence. Get real-time writing suggestions, wherever you write. Write with Grammarly

2 Write in the morning.

For many people, writing comes easier right after a good night’s sleep. Grammarly’s research also shows early birds make fewer writing mistakes. (No matter when you write, Grammarly has your back. Try Grammarly to get more writing tips to help keep you on track.)

3 Write daily.

Getting started on a big writing project can feel intimidating if you’re not used to the act of writing. Practice this skill daily—whether a short sentence or full paragraph—to get accustomed to the mental and physical concept of writing.

4 Get inspired by research.

Before you begin writing, do some reconnaissance reading. Take notes as you read up on your subject material. Ideas will form as you research.

Here’s a tip: Once you’ve jumped into the writing process, don’t stop to do more research. Instead, add a placeholder like [RESEARCH] and keep rolling. You can come back to finalize facts and add references when your first draft is finished.

5 Always carry a notebook and pen.

Inspiration can hit you at any time. Don’t leave a gripping pitch for a client, poetic sentence, or catchy project name to your memory. Write it down in a dedicated notebook, or create a note file on your smartphone. 

6 Experiment with writing prompts.

One of the best writing tips for aspiring writers is using a prompt. You can find endless writing prompts online that are suited for all types of genres. Pick one that stimulates your imagination and encourages you to get creative.

If you often find yourself rambling on without a clear structure, start with an outline. Follow this simple, no-fail outlining process to organize yourself from the start.

Writing Tips for Email and Other Professional Documents

8 keep it brief..

Brevity is important in professional communication. Respect your colleagues’ time by knowing exactly what you need to communicate before you begin writing so you can keep your message concise.

9 Use active voice.

Writing in active voice animates your writing so that the subject is acting on its verb. An active voice reads as being more confident and self-assured; it’s also a great way to shave superfluous words from your writing.

10 Don’t neglect context.

Does the person you’re communicating with have the same information and frame of reference you do? If not, make sure you provide context. You don’t have to give the entire backstory, just fill in the missing pieces so your message will be clear.

11 Format your email properly.

Use good email formatting structure . Write an enticing subject line so your recipient is compelled to open your email. Understand proper email salutations and closings .

12 Don’t email angry.

Yes, you might be irked at your colleague for dropping the ball on that project and making you look bad, but don’t send emails when you’re still fuming. If you must write when emotions are hot, do it offline. Walk away for at least twelve hours, then edit with a calm head.

Here’s a tip: Don’t treat email as anything less than an extension of your professional persona. The way you communicate in professional settings reflects on you in a potentially lasting way.

Grammarly’s tone detector can help you moderate your tone when you do come back to your keyboard. Get helpful writing tips and assessments of how your writing sounds to your recipient.

13 Proofread thoroughly before you hit SEND.

Typos and grammar gaffes make you look bad. Scan your email and fix errors before you send it. You’ll look your best when your correspondence is mistake-free!

Your writing, at its best. Catch mistakes and make your writing shine. Try now

Writing Tips to Help You Sound Natural

14 write like you talk, within reason..

Your writing should sound natural and fluid. Unless you’re communicating in a more formal context, write as though you’re talking to a friend.

15 Don’t ramble.

We just said “Write like you talk”, but there’s a caveat—don’t ramble. Avoid winding twists and turns, and don’t use filler words such as like , really , and you know . Good writing should get to the point and avoid fluff.

16 Be a storyteller.

No matter what the message is, we humans are drawn to stories. Consider Pixar’s guide.

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

17 Empathize with the reader.

Empathy can improve all kinds of writing, from fiction to content marketing to email outreach. Take the time to put yourself in your reader’s place. Are you preaching to them, or are you engaging them by showing that you relate to their feelings and experiences?

18 Be fascinated in order to be fascinating.

The more interested you are about the subject you’re writing about, the more intrigued your readers will be with what you’ve written.

Here’s a tip: Faced with less-than-inspiring subject material for an assigned project? Find a fascinating angle for your story. With the right approach, it’s possible to write an interesting story about something unappealing.

Clean Up Your Writing With These Writing Tips

19 let your writing rest for a while and edit fresh..

Whenever possible, don’t edit just after you’ve finished writing. Come back after a break and review with fresh eyes. Even stepping away for a quick walk or a cup of coffee can help you shift gears from writer to editor.

20 Get rid of filler words and phrases.

When you edit, it’s time to cut the fluff. Every word needs a job, and those that aren’t pulling their weight have to go. Here’s our list of words and phrases you can eliminate right now .

21 Avoid cliche.

As you’re reading through what you’ve written, look for overused phrases that can be recast in a fresh and unique way. It’s one of the most common writing tips, but also one of the most ignored.

22 Dump adverbs.

Get rid of most adverbs and use stronger verb choices instead . When you do, ran swiftly becomes darted and cried pitifully becomes wailed. Remember what Stephen King said: “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

23 Develop your comma mojo.

The comma is a misunderstood punctuation mark. There are many rules for proper comma usage, but if you study them, they’ll become second nature. Here’s a quick guide . And here’s another that lists the most common comma struggles and how to solve them .

24 Put everything in the right order.

We often write in the order that ideas and thoughts come to us, but that’s not always the best way to present the final product.

Here’s a tip: If you didn’t outline before you began writing, try outlining your finished draft. Sometimes, the process of outlining a finished draft will reveal paragraphs or whole sections that would make more sense if they were moved.

25 Read your writing out loud.

One of the best ways to find clumsy sentence structure is to read your writing aloud. If you stumble as you’re reading, take a look at the sentence you tripped over and see if you can clear it up.

26 Keep a list of mistakes you make often.

We all have our writing struggles. Make a list of your most frequent mistakes so you can easily find and eliminate them next time.

Here’s a tip: Let Grammarly do the tracking for you! Members receive free weekly email insights and writing tips, which include not only statistics about their writing habits and level of mastery, but their top writing mistakes.

27 Think about your ideal reader.

As you write, think about what your ideal audience or reader knows today. What is their reality and how can your writing inform and enhance it?

For example, if you’ve written a how-to guide on fixing boats, does it start at the same level of knowledge as your ideal reader’s skill level? It’s important to know where your reader is in their journey so your writing doesn’t lose them along the way.

28 Enlist a friend to read your draft.

Sometimes a second pair of eyes can prove helpful. Just remember the mnemonic, TWYWALTR—in creative circles, it means Take What You Want And Leave The Rest. Give all the advice you receive your full consideration, but make your own choices in the end.

29 Get a hand from Grammarly.

Editing yourself is hard. Grammarly’s app can help you find all kinds of writing errors . Think of it as a helpful friend looking over your shoulder, giving you writing tips and saying, “Hey, that doesn’t seem quite right. Want to take another look?”

30 Keep reading, learning, and practicing.

Read about writing to get more writing tips. (You’re here, so you’re off to a good start!) Read widely, and you’ll learn writing tips by osmosis. And practice often. The best way to improve your writing is by doing it. And if you need a distraction-free writing space to practice, Grammarly has your back.

More from Grammarly:

writing with tips

Writing Tips That’ll Actually Make You a Better Writer

18 Writing Tips That’ll Actually Make You a Better Writer (2023)

by Kevin J. Duncan

on Jan 11, 2023

If you search Google for writing tips, you’ll find a lot of big promises.

There’s no magical writing tip, idea, trick, strategy, or hack capable of turning a bad writer into a good writer.

But if you want to learn how to write better, if you’re looking to up your writing skills a level or two, a few good writing tips and tricks (combined with hard work) can help make it happen.

Here are 18 of our favorites:

1. Find Your Unique Voice

Writing Tip: Find Your Voice

Serious question:

If we all listen to the same experts and we all follow the same writing advice, how is it possible for anyone to stand out from the crowd?

The trap many aspiring authors and writers (especially young writers ) fall into is they believe if they mimic a famous author or writer, they’ll be popular too.

Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s a no-win proposition. Even if you succeed, you’ll be indistinguishable from all the other parrots out there.

There’s only one you. You have unique DNA. Your hopes, thoughts, and dreams are unique. Even the face you make when you accidentally walk into a spider web is unique.

Want to stand out?

Develop your own writing style. When you sit down to write, tap into what makes you… well, you .

2. Make Your Words Burst to Life in Readers’ Minds

Writing Tip: Use Power Words and Sensory Words

If you aren’t using power words or sensory language in your writing, you’re missing out.

Smart writers and copywriters know what word choice matters. So, they use power words to give their content extra punch, personality, and pizzazz. And great writers from Shakespeare to Stephen King to Ernest Hemingway use sensory words evoking sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell to paint strong scenes in the minds of their readers.

Both types of words are effective and super simple to use.

If you’re tired of lifeless words sitting on a page, try sprinkling power and sensory words throughout your content.

3. Edit Like Crazy

Writing Tip: Edit (a Lot)

Many first drafts are clumsy, sloppy, and difficult to read. This is true for most writers — even experienced, well-known ones.

So what separates great content from the nondescript?

The hard part isn’t over once your first draft is complete; on the contrary, it’s only beginning.

To take your big words to the next level, you need to spend just as much time editing your words as you do creating them.

It’s ruthless work. It’s kind of boring. But it’s vital.

4. Supercharge Your Subheads

Writing Tip: Write Great Subheads

Most readers stick around for fewer than 15 seconds .

Heck, most will stick around for fewer than 5 seconds.

Why? Because readers are experts at scanning. They’ll click your headline, quickly scan your content, and — in only a few seconds — decide whether to stay or go.

Writing a great intro is one way to convince readers to stick.

Write masterful subheads that create curiosity, hook your readers, and keep them on the page long enough to realize your content is worth reading.

5. Write Like Superman (Or That Guy You Know Who Types Really Fast)

Write Tip: Learn to Write Faster

Whether you’re blogging, crafting a short story, working on a creative writing essay for your high school English class, dipping your toes into content marketing, or writing the backstory for what you hope will be a bestselling non-fiction novel for Amazon; most of us are limited in the amount of time we have available to write.

So, if you want more time to write every day, you only have three options:

Your spouse and children won’t like the first option, and the second option requires plutonium.

But the third option? That’s doable.

6. Craft Irresistible Headlines

Writing Tip: Practice Writing Headlines (Over and Over)

Smart Blogger’s CEO, Jon Morrow, recommends spending at least 20% of your time on the headline for your content.

That isn’t a typo.

If you spend 10 to 20 hours writing an article, 2 to 4 of those hours should be spent writing and re-writing the headline.

Why so many?

Because if your headline sucks, no one is going to give your content a chance.

Headlines are important. Practice writing them so you get really, really freakin’ good at them.

It’s a writing habit that’ll pay off again and again.

7. Avoid Weak, Filler Words

Writing Tip: Avoid Weak, Filler Words

Too many writers dilute their writing with weak, empty words that bring nothing to the table.

They silently erode your reader’s attention — one flabby phrase at a time.

Spot these weak words and eliminate them from your writing.

8. Write with Rhythm

Writing Tip: Write With Rhythm

In digital media, short sentences and short paragraphs are your friends.

But that doesn’t mean every sentence and paragraph you write should be short.

Too many short sentences in a row and your writing will bore your reader. Too many long sentences in a row and you’ll overwhelm them.

So, mix things up.

Let the rhythm of your words dictate when each paragraph begins, and you’ll strike up the perfect balance between short paragraphs and long.

9. Kick Writer’s Block in the Buttocks

Writing Tip: Find a Technique or Two to Beat Writer's Block

When you’ve been staring at a blank page for what feels like hours, writer’s block can seem insurmountable.

Successful writers have a collection of tried-and-true techniques and writing prompts to bust out whenever writer’s block starts to rear its ugly head — techniques ranging from turning off tweets, LinkedIn, and other social media to asking Alexa to play “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers.

If you want to be a better writer, find a writer’s block technique or two that works for you.

10. Be Funny

Some writers won’t like this, but…

Your content can’t simply teach — it needs to entertain too.

Or, to put it bluntly:

If you don’t entertain while you inform, your audience will find a great writer who does.

Writing Tip: Be Funny

If stuffy academic writing is your forte, this can be a radical shift. Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can make your content more interesting and entertaining.

The easiest way (and my favorite)? Sprinkle in a little humor.

11. Write with Clarity

Writing Tip: Write With Clarity

It doesn’t matter if you’ve banished the dreaded “passive voice” and your content oozes active voice. It doesn’t matter if you’ve put every comma and semicolon in just the right place. Heck, it doesn’t matter how amazing, profound, or revolutionary your ideas or word choices might be.

If you can’t express your thoughts in a clear, coherent way, you might as well have written your words in an ancient language no one understands.

Ask yourself this question:

Could I explain my content to someone in one short sentence?

If the answer is no, your work is probably too complex. It’s time to simplify.

12. Master Transitional Words and Phrases

Writing Tip: Use Transitional Words and Phrases

Do you want to keep your readers glued to your content?

Want your posts to be so effortless to read people can’t help but absorb every word as they glide down the page?

Experienced writers are meticulous about making each sentence flow seamlessly into the next, and they use transitional phrases to help make it happen.

If you want people to read your writing, from beginning to end, you need to do the same.

13. Learn SEO (Like a Boss)

Writing Tip: Learn SEO (Like a Boss)

Whether you write for yourself or as a hired hand , being able to create content that ranks on Google is a valuable skill.

(In fact, if you’re a freelance writer , companies and agencies will happily pay you extra for this skill.)

Consistently ranking on Google doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when you understand the basics of SEO — keyword research, user intent, UX signals, etc. — and purposefully create content with SEO in mind.

If you already know the basics of SEO, you have a leg up on the competition.

And if you don’t know the basics, you need to learn them.

The sooner, the better.

14. Sleep With Your Readers

Writing Tip: Sleep With Your Readers

Remember when I said subheads should create curiosity? This is a good example.

What keeps your audience awake at night? What has them tossing and turning at 2 o’clock in the morning?

Answer this question and then write about it.

Follow this one writing tip and you could (almost) ignore the rest.

15. Keep an Obsessively Detailed Log Book

Record details of your writing sessions in a notebook. After a few weeks, look for patterns.

Are you more effective writing in the mornings? Afternoons? Evenings? Are you better writing after your first cup of coffee or your fourth?

Find the method in your madness and use it to become a better writer.

16. Just Open the Darn Document (Then Keep Going)

Oftentimes, getting started is the hardest part about writing. So, start small. Just open the Google Doc or MS Word document. Then write your first sentence.

Momentum will take it from there.

17. Throw Linear Writing Out the Window

Remember the movie Memento (aka The movie from Christopher Nolan that told its story in reverse)?

YouTube video

If you’re stuck on a piece of writing or simply need fresh eyes, try writing in a non-linear order.

Don’t start at the beginning of your post. Start in the middle. Or the end. Start with your last subhead. Or your seventh.

In short, mix up your writing process.

18. Challenge Yourself to Write in Weird Places

Having a designated writing space (especially when you’re working from home ) is important.

However, writing in different places from time to time can spark creativity.

Give it a try.

Now It’s Time to Put These Writing Tips Into Practice

Most who read this post will smile, nod their head in agreement, and implement precisely zero of these writing tips.

But not you.

You know knowledge that’s not put into practice is wasted. That’s why you’ve already picked out a few favorites, and it’s why you can’t wait to start writing.

On its own, even the best writing tip is incapable of teaching you how to write well or catapulting you to superstardom. But each one, little by little, can help you hone your writing skills.

So, are you ready to be a better writer? Ready to take what you know about the craft of writing and turn it up to 11? Ready to go from a good fiction writer (or blogger, or author, or freelancer, or marketer, etc.) to a great one?

Then it’s time to get to work.

Let’s do this thing.

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Kevin J. Duncan


Make 2-5k per month, even if you're a beginner . we're seeking writers of any skill level ..

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Written by Kevin J. Duncan

60 thoughts on “18 writing tips that’ll actually make you a better writer (2023)”.

Hello Kevin,

I enjoyed reading your post, ’14 Tips to Up Your Writing Game in 2019′.

I think finding your unique voice is key, especially for newer writers. I’ll definitely check out your interview on Biz Mavens’ podcast.

Learning how to write faster and more accurately (first time) would be a gamechanger. Work in progress. Thanks for great tactics on becoming a better writer.

All the best, Michael

Hi Michael,

Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

My podcast interview for Biz Mavens should go “live” any day now . Hopefully everyone will be able to understand me with my accent (and overuse of “ums”). 🙂

Appreciate you stopping by and commenting, Michael. Have a great day!

Hi Kevin, thanks for all those timely reminders and super-useful links all in one place. I’m going straight to Linda’s post on how to speed up your writing because that’s something I always struggle with. Love your work! Cheers, Mel

You’re welcome! Glad you found them so useful.

Yes, increasing writing speed is a good one. “Editing” is the big one for me. The more I edit my posts, the tighter (and, usually, more successful) they are. That’s probably not a coincidence. 🙂

Appreciate the kind words, Mel (especially coming from such a talented writer as yourself)!

A really nice, simple, short post.

I definitely clicked out a few links to check out.

I think it’s also worth clarifying (!) that making a bad writer write good(er), is not impossible, only that quick tips and hacks won’t get you there.

Learning how to write well is like anything. It takes a lot of practise and hard work.

Tips and hacks are what give you and edge.

But learning to write is a serious undertaking.

Great post. Always happy to click through your emails.

Thanks! Back in the day, easy-to-read posts with bite-sized nuggets of info (aka list posts) were my calling card. I hadn’t done one in a while, so this was a fun one to write.

Good clarification. Hard work is vital. And, it’s absolutely possible to go from bad to good if you put in the work. (I slightly tweaked my intro to make sure this point isn’t missed. Thanks!)

Always appreciate your support, Geoff. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Thanks for writing the useful post, The difference is that you make your point without promising anything BIG. I completely agreed with you if we improve our writing 5-10%, it would be amazing.

Also, finding a unique voice as a blogger can create HUGE impact on your blogging style and help you enhancing viewership. This will certainly keep you away from the league and help you establishing a unique blogging brand.

Thanks again Kevin, have a wonderful weekend. cheers 😊


Thank you! I’m so glad you liked the post and found it useful.

Absolutely… everyone’s looking to hit a 5-run homerun. “Do this one thing and you’ll be a superstar.” Getting into the top 1% of writers doesn’t happen that way, though. You get there by making a lot of small, incremental improvements.

Work hard, get 5% better. Repeat again and again. 🙂

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, too, Rajat. Thanks for the great comment.

Kevin, I feel the same way here. My hunch is, as you suggested, Work hard, get 5% better. Repeat again and again. Of all your suggestions, I think ‘Sleep With Your Readers’ is most effective.

Also, there is lot to learn from your commenting style and the engagements you create. AWESOME. I believe engaging with commenters could be the most effective tip for receiving comments.

Moreover, when can we see a new post on ‘Be A Better Blogger’.

Thanks a lot for useful tips.🏆

The two things i took away from this article was

spend just as much time editing your words as you do creating them.

Most readers stick around for fewer than 15 seconds.

that is going to change my process and thinking quite a lot

Yes, those are two important takeaways. Those two tips can change the game for a lot of writers!

Thanks for the advice, Kevin.

A very detailed and helpful post you have here.

Do you know of a blogging course that teaches these in-depth?

Looking forward to the best one because I can’t wait to sharpen my ax.

Regards, Jeremiah

Hey Jeremiah,

You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

Absolutely. Smart Blogger has several courses that could be great fits. If you’re not already on it, be sure to sign up for our mailing list (any of the various optins or popups we have on the site will do the trick). Then keep an eye out for our next enrollment period.

If you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

I just wanted to show appreciation for all the help that i have received after reading your blogs. I realize that success with SEO doesn’t happen over night, it takes time and patience. The new blog helps us focus on the areas we are lacking as a Advertising and Marketing agency in Pune we would love to read more blogs like this in the near future. Excellent job!

You’re very welcome, Mohana.

Hi Kevin, excellent writing tips, and really loved them all. Getting better ideas for writing is always a daunting task.

As you suggested, learning SEO is a great way to come up with a ton of ideas to write about.

Also, I often get ideas whenever I’m reading blogs in my niche. I also do keyword research using tools like Semrush as it helps me find hundreds of keyword ideas within a few minutes.

Thanks for sharing the tips.

I think, using more infographic is becoming so crazy to catch user. Instead of writing many words, we should represent in image form in an effective way. I got a lot of better ideas for content making. nice article

Hey, Kevin. Infographics certainly have their place, and I know a lot of marketers who swear by them.

Honestly i am not good at reading but your article is really easy to read and it helps in a lot of ways. Thanks for creating this helpful article.

You’re welcome, Mike. Glad you found the post easy to read!

In today’s world everyone wants to be a photographer and a writer. I must say, with smart technology it is much easier to be a photographer than a writer. Writing is a skill and while everyone should be encouraged to write, not all that writing has to go out into the public eye. I read so much rubbish on the internet and while this article is good in telling people how to improve their writing, I don’t believe everyone can or should write. Sometimes, we should just leave it to the professionals! Not everyone is professional. Saying that, write a diary!

Hey Kevin, thanks for the awesome flashbacks!

I can swear on this- none of the gems you’ve mentioned beat the pants off number 3, it’s an art I can offer to preach daily to writers to use and turn whack content to sizzling copies and attract better clients.

I’m a self-taught freelancer and once got lucky to bag a client offering me consistent work throughout the year.

I always did my best though doubted whether my copies used to meet her standards.

Curious, I took some articles I had written for her, copied and pasted their first paragraph on Google to confirm if they were ever posted.

My heart sunk. I was rudely shocked and felt like I wasn’t good enough when copies I found posted were improved versions of the piece I wrote for her, pure magic!

And I started envisioning going broke when she reduced the number of tasks she sent until she sent no longer sent any despite our contract being active.

Predictable, right?

Maybe she found a better substitute? Or I was in the process of moving out. I had to either go hard on freelance writing or go home.

I desperately schemed through several blogs, changing keywords, opening more tabs hoping to land on at least one gem serving as a leg up to my freelance writing career.

Through Jon’s awesome post on Problogger, Smart Blogger fished me out from the site and Shane was the first person to welcome me home with his masterpiece!

The rest is history, never looking back!

Best, Antony

Hey, Antony. Thank you for the great comment, my friend.

Glad you enjoyed the post and found it to be so beneficial. (And, yes, tip #3 is a great one.)

Don’t write and edit at the same time, I edit my work the following morning and then resume writing again later in the day. This is to offset the uncertainty of making a mistake.

Hey, Ekin. Editing later is a good tip. In fact, it’s one of the strategies we suggest in the “how to write faster” post mentioned in tip #5 above. It works well for a lot of people.

Thank you for sharing this post. I am a new blogger and currently writing a blog about air cargo services and with the tips that you have mentioned above, I will surely use those as my guide on my future blog. Thank you

Hi Kevin, Thank you so much for your information about article writing. I have a blog. I hope your tips and tricks will help me a lot.

Great tips! Writing is the core skill of every blogger and everyone needs improvement day by day. After reading this post I am so confident that my next post will give a 5-10 per cent boost to my blog. Thanks for sharing!

I enjoyed reading your article about writing tips Kevin.

I will have to humbly disagree with you on number 5 though. You do not need Plutonium for time travel.

Did you know that there is a substance on Io, one of the moons of Jupiter that can be used to open a wormhole for time travel?

Thank you for writing an interesting article on writing tips. R.G. Ramsey

Thanks for providing these amazing tips. I am going straight to Henneke’s post to beat Writer’s Block.

I love permission to be funny and challenge yourself to write in a weird space.

They’re refreshing points and give me permission to be myself and not stick to the mundane “don’t distract your reader with humor” and “have your workspace, write there every day” or you’ll fail mindset.

Funny things happen when you go to weird places, so I like permission to write about them!

Thanks, Kevin.

Hi Kevin, It’s a wonderful piece of content. Although I am not a writer, I am trying to practice writing every day. And I will definitely follow your instructions.

I know SEO and I have a blog also. I just want to know should I higher a writer and concentrate only on blogging strategies or I should write myself only?

Thanks Dipanjan Biswas

Hi Kevin, Thanks for this very extensive list of advice, tips and insights. Keep it up.

Regards, Amna Hafeez.

I am doing really hard to writing blogs. As I read this blog I found I am doing many mistakes. These are really unique tips for writing a good blog. Thanks for sharing

Regards, Kishor Sasemahal

Lots of great tips. My favorite is to BE UNIQUE! Everyone else is already taken.

Hey Kevin, Great article, as much from the format as the content. I’ll reference that later. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed a couple of the tips you shared in the podcast over on Biz Mavens.

I’ve heard many times that, as a beginning writer you need to find your own voice. I’ve heard many times to write like you talk. But the most interesting tip, for me at least, is the concept of Easter Eggs.

Whether in video games or Marvel movies (I’ve always been a Marvel guy), I love finding Easter eggs that refer back to the original comic books or other movies in the MCEU.

Or in video games when the developer has some obscure reference to another game they’ve developed.

That’s fun for me as a fan and therefore a great way for me to add my interests & personality to posts without trying too hard to be “funny”.

In addition to adding my own personality to the post, Easter eggs are great way to ensure I don’t sound like Jack Nicholson, Christian Slater or William Devane. 😀

Now for the structure of this post. I’m saving this post as a reference because of the structure as much as the content. Here’s why I think its ingenious: 1. Its a list post – possibly the most popular type of post far and above all others. 2. By including the additional SmartBlogger resources in the footer of each list item, you increase audience engagement and make Google very happy. Improving your ranking for the niche. Even though SmartBlogger no longer really needs that. 3. A few of the additional resources link to external blog/sites. This establishes SmartBlogger as an authority and leverages the other sites popularity and introduces SmartBlogger to their audience. Again, SmartBlogger is so huge, you really don’t need the other sites audience.

But its cool to see that SmartBlogger still uses those same techniques even as a behemoth in the blogging niche.

Thank you for wonderful tips. Really appreciate all the mentioned points. Very useful for any blogger , writers, or content strategist.

You have told in a brilliant way about how to become a successful writer. Awesome information. Thanks for sharing this post.

This list shows writing is not for everyone… 🙂 But someone like me can continue trying and learning … Thanks for sharing..

Thanks for the tips! Enjoyed reading it, I also find it useful 🙂

Hi Kevin, Thanks for creating this helpful article! Enjoyed reading it, I also find it useful 🙂

Thanks Kevin for sharing this informative article. I am working on my writing and this will definitely help me that. Will work on this.

i write a lot and use a tool Grammarly to improve the grammar and also for proofreading to know if i wrote something that doesn’t make any sense.

Amazing article.

My biggest struggle with publishing my writing is imposter syndrome. Seth Godin’s work has helped me a lot with that.

I will apply these tips to my own writing. I think these will help me gain some confidence in my writing style.

Thanks a lot!

Hi Kevin Thank you for brilliantly providing everything I was suppose to learn in my grade school English/Language Arts classes in one awesome convenient post. I unquestionably need to review all of these 🙂 SharlaAnn

After reading this I can write a better article. Thanks

Wonderful post indeed.

One of the best ways to improve your writing skills is to write on a daily basis, you will see some improvement if you.

Thanks for this piece of information.

It was a wonderful time while going through your article and I’ve got what I was looking for

I’m so glad you chose to share this article. It’s given me a ton of great information that I need for myself, but it was just too hard trying to find everything on Google. For beginners, this is a well-defined and quite instructive site. Thank you for sharing this information in such a straightforward yet beautiful manner.

Wish you all the best for your future endeavours. Once again, thank you for your valuable tips and ideas helping freshers like us. I will surely share this beautiful piece of article with my peers and people who actually need guidance.

Over the last few years, I’ve experienced an upgrade in my writing skill. I think I’m still around the maiden version but hell… it feels better. I’ve learnt to cut out passive voices, avoid weak words and sentences, and ultimately… I’ve found my voice (still mastering the flow). Writing with clarity makes it so much fun and meaningful. Thanks Kevin. Personally, this is a push and an eyeopener for me.

This article is very informative. It boosted my confidence because I am a beginner in blog writing.

The tips you shared is awesome and helpful for every writer.

But I have a little problem. Whenever I start to write than my mind is stuck in between what should I write and what not.

So, please share something related to my problem. It will help me increase my writing skill.

And, thank you for this amazing piece of content.

Hi Kevin. I often have problems in crafting that perfect title for my article; should I stick to SEO or write a thought-provoking headline?

Thanks for posting such an amazing blog and the introduced content is exceptionally virtuous. will surely share with my friends.

I really didn’t see myself years ago being full-time into this today. while I’ve never had the intent on being a writer in terms of earning a living, now I see value in this today.

It’s a good thing to know that today, anyone can use a self hosted WordPPress blog and consistent writing to earn healthy streams of passive income.

I want to start a blog where I can share my thoughts with my readers, but I am not a good writer, I have a lot of ideas in my mind but I fail to transfer them to a writted articles.

Thanks, Kevin for posting such a nice blog, I am working on my writing skills and this will definitely help me with that.

Finding your unique voice is itself a challenge. But only those who have a passion for reading and writing can overcome this challenge.

I am a blogger not only because I want to make money but because I have had the habit of reading more and writing more since childhood.

The more I read, the more I understand, and the more I can write.

Thanks for sharing these writing tips in detail.

Really very helpful tips and information to write a good article. I especially like ” Write Like Superman” thanks

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17 Writing Tips You Can Use Today [From Experts!]

Posted on Mar 6, 2023

by Bella Rose Pope

Writing tips have aided every writer out there—from Ernest Hemingway to Stephen King.

And now you’re here for a reason…

You want to learn how to write better. Because let’s be honest…we all feel like our writing could use some improvement.

What you didn’t know is that you’ll learn a whole lot more than that by reading this post— and you’ll find out exactly what if you stick with us.

Whether you just want to write for fun or write a book to publish it successfully , we’re here to help.

Writing is a skill you can never be the “best” at. You will always be able to grow and expand on your writing skills. Once you’ve reached what you believe is your very best, there is still mountains more you can improve upon.

That’s part of the magic of becoming a writer .

But it can be hard to know where you actually need the improvement. Which areas are your weakest and which do you excel in?

Here are top writing tips for beginners:

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It’s one thing to improve your grammar with tools and technology or similar self-editing , it’s another to work on bettering the actual writing.

If you’re like me (and almost all writers out there), you likely struggle with insecurity in your writing. Us writers have a tendency to focus on the bad without knowing how to make it better, and this can often cost us our writing motivation .

If you’re ready to learn tips like the famous “ show don’t tell ” and more, keep reading, or check out the video below!

Writing Tips to Help You Become an Author

If you’re looking for a way to get your book done quickly and with quality, you’re in the right place.

How to Improve Writing with Tips for Writing a Book

In order to improve your writing skills , you have to commit to writing as much as you can, using different writing exercises, and reading often. You have to form a writing habit in order to do this.

But there is good news about this.

Your writing skills are not stagnant. They change and grow as you do.

Think of it as running. The more you run and train, the better you become. It can be really hard to write a book at first but as you learn new techniques, how to use literary devices , and new methods for making it easier, you become a stronger, better runner.

Writing is exactly the same.

The way you improve your writing skills is by making a commitment to you, your work in progress, and all the people who can benefit from your book.

[ Pssst! Want to see some of our Students’ published books? Check out the SPS Library here! ]

How do You Become a Good Beginner Writer?

Being a good beginner writer is about learning the craft of writing and learning specific techniques that make writing good in the first place.

In fact, becoming a good beginner writer is all about reading as much as you can and writing as much as you can. This is what will help you recognize those literary elements you can then replicate and make your own when writing and editing .

Just like I mentioned above, the more you can write, the better you will get, and this makes publishing your book and showing it to the world much easier.

But it’s also about consuming content about becoming a better writer, like podcasts, blog posts , and videos around the craft of writing.

These are our favorite writing tips resources:

What are some writing tips for beginners?

Being a newbie writer is not easy. These are some of the top writing tips we suggest in order to improve your writing skills as a beginner.

Writing Tip 1 – Write what you want to read

If you yourself wouldn’t pick up the book or story you’re writing and read it with joy, then you shouldn’t’ be writing it.

“But what if I think other people will like it even if I don’t?”

This is a very common argument against this writing tip but it’s not sound. And the reason for that is because you’ll lack the passion.

When you create a story that you love yourself, it comes through in the writing. It’ll read as if the words and your protagonist and characters as a whole pop off the page instead of lying flat.

It will also be much easier to write and you’ll want to write it more than if you didn’t enjoy the story or topic as much.

So for this writing tip, ask yourself these questions:

If you can’t answer these questions with a confident “yes,” skip the book idea and write one you actually want to.

Writing Tip 2 – Write with intention

All writing has a purpose – and it needs a purpose if you want your writing to get better and read as something enjoyable.

When you have a reason for writ i ng  what you’re writing, it becomes so much easier and it feels like you’re fulfilling a purpose rather than just writing a book.

If all you’re doing is writing a book to make money, then your heart (and therefore your passion) is in the wrong place. This makes it very clear to readers through your writing.

Below is a writing tips exercise to help you achieve writing with intention.

Writing Exercise

Writing Tip 3 – Use psychology to write better

Yes, there is research involved no matter what kind of book you’re writing.

“But how can psychology actually help my writing improve?”

In order to craft your book in a way that speaks to readers how you intend it to , you have to understand how the human mind works.

This is how using psychology as a writing tip helps you get better:

The Write Practice has a fantastic resource for how to use psychology to become a better writer .

Once you know how people interpret different events, messages, and themes, you can weave them into your book so it has more impact when they’re finished reading.

And for the fiction writers out there, psychology helps you create real and lifelike characters that leave readers itching to turn that page and read more about them and their journey.

Writing Tips Action Step:

In order to accurately research for your book, think about what you want your readers to take away from each chapter, and then the book as a whole.

Then research how real people interpret those specific messages.

For example:

If you want readers to feel inspired during a certain part of your book, research “psychology of inspiration” and read how one can build up to feel inspired and even how it affects their outlook in order to better craft the next chapters.

Writing Tip 4 – Write as often as you can

Even if all you’re writing is a paragraph, it’s better than not writing at all.

And if you can’t add on to your book for whatever reason (maybe a lack of an outline ?), then write something else.

Here are a few ways you can utilize this writing tip by writing something else:

The point is to write as often as you can because the more you write, the better you will get. It will help you pinpoint weaknesses in your writing and you’ll notice improvements as you write.

Writing more often also allows you to flex your imagination, which is indeed much like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets and therefore, you’ll be able to write with more creativity.

Writing Tip 5 – Eliminate distractions

In this age of technology and helpful writing software , there are endless amounts of distractions.

We almost always have our phones within reach, a computer right at our fingertips (literally, if you’re writing), and a TV nearby with access to Netflix, Hulu, and other attention-sucking programs.

If you want to write better, you have to eliminate distractions that keep you from writing .

Here are our writing tips to get rid of distractions:

As mentioned above, the more you write, the better you get. But you can’t write if you’re constantly checking your phone, email, or watching TV.

Writing Tip Exercise

Writing Tip 6 – Research storytelling and story structure

This is largely for the fiction writers out there, but all writers can benefit from this writing tip of improving your storytelling.

Storytelling and writing are not the same things.

Writing is the way in which you describe what’s happening within the story. The story itself is a whole other piece of the puzzle – and is arguably the most important piece.

When you have a story idea worth writing, there’s a few things to remember.

Here are our top writing tips for learning the craft of storytelling:

Read books, listen to podcasts, or watch videos about the art of crafting a story.

Another great way to learn the ins and outs of storytelling is to watch great comedians. The reason they can make you laugh is how they craft what they’re saying.

Notice the pauses, when they speed through what they’re saying, and how they deliver that final line.

These are all techniques you can use on a larger scale when writing your book.

Writing Tip 7 – Always get feedback

This will always be the hardest, but most important part of improving your writing. Of all the writing tips to take and execute, this is the best one.

It’s very difficult to gauge your own writing – because you wrote it.

This is much like trying to tickle yourself. It just doesn’t work because you’re the person doing it and is much more effective when someone else does it.

That’s why the beta reading process is so vital. It’s when you let others read your book in order to gain feedback from people in your intended audience.

Tips For Writing

That’s what it’s like for your writing. You need an outside set of eyes on your work.

Jenna Moreci has a great resource on the beta reading process you can check out.

Here are some specific questions to ask others for this tip to improve writing:

Writing Tip 8 –  Focus on new ways to phrase common visuals

One of the best ways you can strengthen your creativity is by consciously thinking about how you can describe common things in new, interesting ways.

You want to make people see that common item or situation or visual in a brand new light.

The way you can do this is to pause when you’re describing something in your writing and think to yourself, “how else can I explain this to create a stronger emotional impact?”

Here’s an example of this writing tip if you’re still a little confused:

“The sun set behind the trees and the world fell quiet.”

Is this a bad way to describe a sunset and night beginning? No. However, you can easily get more creative about how to illustrate this to readers through words.

“Night yanked the horizon over the sun, silencing the world with its absence.”

This is saying relatively the same thing, but in a way that stops and makes someone appreciate the way in which it was crafted.

Writing Tip 9 – Practice writing in your head

This might sound a bit confusing, so let me elaborate.

When you look at the world, how do you see it? Probably the same way everyone else does.

Here’s an example of how you can practice writing – but only in your own head. This can help you learn how to craft your prose to read in a beautiful, elegant fashion while also being unique and interesting to readers.

Right now, I’m looking out my window into the backyard. It has snow, the trees are bare, and the sky is a muted gray at the horizon, fading to a very faint blue as you look higher up.

This is a very typical visual for winter (especially in Wisconsin).

Now, in order to practice writing without writing, all you have to do is start describing what you see in prose that you would write in your own head.

“Stillness hung in the air thicker than Christmas morning eggnog, the ground covered in a thin sheet of white speckled with brown where the snow failed to make its mark. Bare branches reached toward the absent sun, reluctantly accepting the gray of winter in its place.”

This example is more prose than reality, but this is how you can sharpen those skill by just thinking in this way.

The more you practice this when you’re on the subway, making dinner, or even watching your family and friends interact, the easier it will be to write those situations in your book.

Think like a writer in order to become a better one.

Writing Tip 10 – Use strong language

This writing tip can completely transform your writing for the better.

It’s the single best way to make your writing more captivating without really adding anything new. You just simply have to replace weak language with stronger, more descriptive writing.

This can take some time to get used to but the more you do it, the easier it will get.

So how do you recognize weak language?

Here are some mistakes to look for in your writing to utilizing this writing tip:

Writing Exercises

We even make it simpler for you with our strong verbs list. It has over 200 strong verbs and includes the common weak verbs you can replace.

Get it, plus 19+ other resources, in our Advanced Publishing Kit !

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Writing Tip 11 – Just write to write

Forget about your goals. Forget about how anyone else will interpret what you’ve wrote and just write .

Do it for you. Write what you like and what makes you happy.

Don’t think about the future or publishing or where you’re going from here. Just grab that outline, sit down, and write because it’s fun .

Believe it or not, this frees up a lot of mental space and allows you to write without thinking too much, which often helps you write better.

One of the best writing tips I ever received was to always have a side project going on, something you have no intention of ever publishing. This is where your real writing happens.

It’s a place for you to experiment, discover your writing voice , and learn what you truly love to write while still working on your main project and accomplishing those goals.

Writing Tips from Famous Authors

What better way to improve your writing than to practice writing tips from those who have mastered the craft?

Here are our top writing tips from professional writers like Stephen King, JK Rowling, and even Margaret Atwood.

1 – “Just do it.”

Writing Tips Margaret Atwood

Much like we mentioned above, Margaret Atwood is a huge advocate of diving right in and just writing , despite your fears, insecurities, or lack of direction.

“I think the main thing is: Just do it. Plunge in! Being Canadian, I go swimming in icy cold lakes, and there is always that dithering moment. ‘Am I really going to do this? Won’t it hurt?’

And at some point you just have to flop in there and scream. Once you’re in, keep going. You may have to crumple and toss, but we all do that. Courage! I think that is what’s most required.”

As someone who has made waves with a number of her novels, including the masterpiece that landed her an entire TV series, The Handmaid’s Tale , she is someone you want to take advice from—especially now that Margaret Atwood’s Masterclass is available.

2 – “You’ve got to work for it.”

Jk Rowling Writing Tips

Much to every writer’s dismay, books don’t actually write themselves. If there was a special machine we could plug into our brain that would spit out a perfect copy of the story inside our minds, we would all opt for that instead of sitting down and plucking away at the keyboard.

But that’s not a reality (at least not yet).

Someone who knows the value of hard work when it comes to writing is J.K. Rowling. Perhaps you’ve heard of her?

“You’ve got to work. It’s about structure. It’s about discipline. It’s all these deadly things that your school teacher told you you needed…

You need it.”

As hard as it can be, Rowling’s advice is as sound as any. Work for your book. Work hard so others can benefit from the worth you’re holding onto.

3 – “Write for yourself first.”

Stephen King Writing Tips

Stephen King has an entire memoir-ish that doubles as writing tips simply because writing has been nearly his entire life.

One of the best lessons King says he ever learned was from a newspaper editor he worked for while he was in high school (which he discusses in his memoir/writing book On Writing ) and he has maintained that voice in his head throughout each work he writes.

“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.

Your stuff starts out being just for you, but then it goes out.”

On Writing by Stephen King continues to be a source of inspiration and help for writers everywhere. King has a way of pulling you in and giving you the BS-free advice all writers want – and, in most cases, desperately need.

4 – “Quantity will make up for quality.”

Writing Tips Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is one of the most quoted authors out there. He shares his methods for writing and how to actually succeed in this industry.

His best advice, in my opinion, comes from his book Zen in the Art of Writing , where he says you have to schedule the time to write – and write daily because quantity will make up for quality.

In fact, quantity is what leads you to quality.

“Michelangelo’s, da Vinci’s, Tintoretto’s billion sketches, the quantitative, prepared them for the qualitative, single sketches further down the line, single portraits, single landscapes of incredible control and beauty.”

In essence, the more you practice writing, the better you’ll become and that makes all the difference when it comes to separating yourself form other writers.

5 – “Tell the truth.”

Maya Angelou Writing Tips

Miss Angelou is an inspiration to writers everywhere. She’s a personal favorite of mine and her quotes and advice for both writing and life has always spoken to me on a different level than others.

One of the best writing tips I’ve read of her is the fact that you have to write the truth.

“I look at some of the great novelists, and I think the reason they are great is that they’re telling the truth.

The fact is they’re using made-up names, made-up people, made-up places, and made-up times, but they’re telling the truth about the human being—what we are capable of, what makes us lose, laugh, weep, fall down, and gnash our teeth and wring our hands and kill each other and love each other.”

When you have a truth worth sharing, writing becomes easier, more meaningful, and therefore more impactful for those reading it.

This ties into our writing tip above about writing what you want to read. Focus on telling your truth.

6 – “You can’t edit a blank page.”

Jodi Picoult Writing Tips

Are you sensing a theme within these writing tips yet?

Even Jodi Picoult agrees that you can’t become a better writer if you never write.

“You can always edit a bad page.

You can’t edit a blank page.”

The best of all writing tips is this one. You have to actually write if you want to get better because great writing doesn’t happen on the first try. It happens on the second, fifth, and even tenth.

You first have to write the words in order to make them better.

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Check out this Self-Publishing School review by!

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Bella Rose Pope

Most popular blog posts, what is self-publishing school.

We help you save time, money, and headaches through the book, writing, marketing, and publishing process by giving you the proven, step-by-step process and accountability to publish successfully. All while allowing you to maintain control of your book–and its royalties. Learn to publish a book to grow your impact, income, or business!

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1) Have a Strong Beginning

First impressions matter. This holds true in writing as well. You have one chance to hook your reader—that’s why having a strong beginning is critical for better writing. Don’t ramble. Let your readers know what you’re writing about right away. If you don’t, you risk your readers moving on to something else.

2) Be True to Yourself

The best writing is produced when you’re writing for yourself. In other words, be honest and don’t write solely to impress others. Writing is its most effective when you write honestly about what you think and what you believe. Write earnestly, and your readers will appreciate it.

3) Know Your Audience

You can be true to yourself and write honestly, but knowing how to write better means knowing your audience. For example, if you’re writing an email to your professor requesting an extension for a deadline, you might want to avoid slang and any informal phrases. Before you start writing, it’s a good idea to ask yourself, “who is my intended audience and what is the purpose in writing this?”

4) Use Direct Language

When it comes to effective writing, conciseness is key. Your readers might not follow along if you use unnecessary and empty words . Instead, be direct. If you can use fewer words to convey a message, then do so. The rule of thumb is that the shorter the sentence, the better. However, keep in mind that varying sentence length is important.

5) Show, Don’t Tell

There’s one exception to the rule of using fewer words, and that’s when it comes to showing, not telling. “Show, don’t tell” is a timeless piece of advice that has been passed down by the best writers when sharing their writing tips. What this means is to use descriptive words so that your readers can see, think, or feel what you’re writing for themselves. Doing this makes your writing immersive and memorable.

Learning how to write well doesn’t happen overnight, but LanguageTool’s online editor makes the process easier by correcting spelling and grammar mistakes, providing synonyms, and suggesting stylistic improvements.

Avoid: I was feeling very cold.

Correct: The icy winds made my teeth shatter. My lips cracked in the dryness, and I could see my every breath. The goosebumps that covered my body did their best to keep me warm, but there was no reprieve from the frigid temperature.

Keep in mind that this tip works for fiction and non-fiction writing. For example, if you’re writing an email to your boss requesting a raise, you shouldn’t just say “I’m a good employee.” Be descriptive, and show that you’re a good employee.

6) Read More

There’s no way around it: reading more will help strengthen your writing. If you want to write better novels, you should read more texts written by renowned authors like George Orwell, Alice Walker, and Mark Twain. When you read works by authors like these, you’ll start to pick up what makes their writing so effective. The same goes if you’re trying to write better scientific articles, poems, or essays. Read more and be inspired.

If you want to know how to write better, read more!

7) Have A Strong Ending

There are two parts of your text that your readers will remember the most: the beginning and the end. Often, writers will hurry when they get to the conclusion, but this is a mistake. Different tactics can be used to write a powerful ending, depending on the type of text. But the general advice is to summarize your main point and invoke emotion. Your final words should make the reader think, “wow, this was worth the read.”

Practice Makes Perfect

Professional dancers don’t just hope they become better dancers. They practice. Artists don’t just wish to become better artists. They practice. Athletes don’t just ask to become better athletes. They practice. Writing is no different. If you want to become a better writer—whether it be for professional, academic, or personal reasons—you must take the time to practice. And if you’re having a bout with writer’s block, there are ways to overcome that, too. Next time you sit down to write, try these tips and see how they significantly enhance your writing.


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33 Writing Tips: Expert Advice for Nonfiction Authors

writing with tips

As a general rule, I don’t write writing advice lists, and I dislike posts with “writing tips.” The problem is that young writers and Authors study those lists instead of the fundamentals. If you want to actually write and publish a book, there’s no substitute for executing the simple fundamentals of good writing .

But—that being said—there’s always a place for learning new tips and tricks that you can add on top of the fundamentals and help you become a better writer.

I’ve collected the best 33 writing tips I use. Some of these are things I came up with in my career writing 4 New York Times bestsellers (that sold over 4 million copies). Most of the lessons didn’t originate with me. They’re quotes and learnings I got from other great writers and Authors—some famous, some not—that have helped me in my career.

I’m passing these to you in hope they help you as much as they helped me.

Writing Tip #1: Clarity is the mark of genius.

“Creativity that blurs clarity is pretentious. Creativity that sharpens clarity is genius.” —Roy H. Williams

I put this first because it’s the most important tip you can take from this list. If you do nothing more than write clearly, you’re going to be in the top 10% of all writers.

Don’t try to sound impressive, just try to be clear.

Don’t obsess over your writing style , just try to be clear.

Don’t try to be anything other than clear, and you’ll be good.

The downside to this tip is that if you don’t have anything to say, then being clear will make that obvious.

“An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a complex way. A genius is a man who says a complex thing in a simple way.” —Charles Bukowski

Writing Tip #2: End each day mid-sentence.

This is a simple tip, and I can’t remember where I learned it, but it has worked for many, many writers: stop each day in the middle of a sentence.

This is for people who have trouble picking back up each day. If you stop in the middle of a sentence, then you have a clear place to start and an easy way to create momentum.

Writing Tip #3: Give yourself permission to write a mediocre first draft.

Write a bad first draft as fast as you can.

At Scribe, we call this part of the writing process a “ vomit draft .” The point is to not edit or even read anything that you are writing as you do your first draft. Of course you will go back to it later and edit, but not on the first pass. The ONLY goal of the first pass is to get it done.

This is because one of the biggest obstacles between the desire to write and an actual finished piece is overcoming your own self-doubt. Doing a mediocre first draft is a great way to get momentum and start moving.

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” —William Faulkner

Writing Tip #4: Write what’s obvious to you but invisible to others.

“If something is easy for you, but hard for other people—that’s your book topic.” —Tucker Max

I know I quoted myself. It’s terrible, but I couldn’t find anyone else who said it better.

When something is obvious to you, but is hard for other people, that is a great place to explore and write. This is because you’ve figured out how to do this in a way that others have not—and that is the exact knowledge that others want and need.

We all have knowledge and perspectives that others do not, and that is precisely what writing is for—sharing that knowledge and wisdom.

“The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.” —Edwin Schlossberg

Writing Tip #5: Make 250 words your daily word count minimum.

“Little strokes fell great oaks.” —Ben Franklin

Why 250 words? It’s approximately the number of words per page in a printed book. So if you’re writing about 250 words a day, that’s about a page a day.

Yes, this is a very low goal. But a low goal is good. A low goal is not intimidating, so it will help you get started. It will also make you feel good when you surpass it, and entice you to keep writing.

This is a classic sales technique—lowering the quota to inspire action—that works wonderfully with writing.

The best part is that it adds up quickly: By writing just 250 words a day, you can get a 120-page (30,000-word) first draft done in about four months.

That is fast, and you’ll do it with what feels like very little effort and not a lot of time. As you can see, it’s all about consistency .

Writing Tip #6: Expect writing to be hard.

I wish I had a fun quote here about this, but writing is hard work. If it were easy, everyone would be good at it.

The key here is to go in knowing this . Expect it to be hard, tiring, confusing, overwhelming, and painful. I know this sounds obvious, but most people have a fantasy in their heads about writing that misses the crappy parts.

Embrace the crappy parts. That’s the only way to actually get it done.

Writing Tip #7: Habit is the foundation of writing.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” —Jim Ryun

This follows from the “writing is hard” tip. The ONLY way to make it easier is to build a writing habit.

There are great methods to use to make it a habit (this post describes one way that I know for a fact works ). If you’re serious about writing, then it has to become a habit in your life. Something you do just about every day (at least when you are working on a project or book).

If you treat writing like a special thing that happens only when you are inspired, then it won’t happen. If you treat writing like a job or skill that you must focus on and schedule, then it will. So start writing.

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” —John C. Noble

Writing Tip #8: Doesn’t matter that it’s been said; say it again.

“There’s always room for high-quality thoughts/opinions. Venn diagram of people with knowledge and those who can communicate is tiny.” —Andrew Chen

Being totally original in writing is not only (virtually) impossible, it’s also not a great strategy. To be totally original you have to be so far away from the mainstream as to be irrelevant.

To add value to the world through writing, you are far better off sharing what you know in a way that people get. Great example:

There are millions of weight loss books. Everyone wants to lose weight.

What’s the disconnect?

It’s not information. It’s the way the information is being presented.

Every field has a contradiction like that. Find it and solve it.

Writing Tip #9: Most “writing” is actually editing.

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” —Mark Twain

This is obvious to experienced writers, but for some reason, newer writers find this shocking. If you do your first draft properly, it will come out fast and be bad writing. Then you start editing, and that’s when the serious writing starts.

Writing Tip #10: Say the thing you are afraid to say.

“Whether or not you write well, write bravely.” —Bill Stout

This is one that every writer struggles with, and I can tell you from experience, your writing will be successful in direct proportion to how well you do this.

The more you say the thing you are afraid to say, the better your writing will be.

The more you run from it, the worse it will be.

This is because, at our core, we are all searching for truth in a world that does not speak much of it. If you get up and speak just a little truth, people will love you for saying and doing the thing they wanted to say and do, but did not.

“Making a judgment, taking a stand and then acting against an injustice or acting to support excellence is the stuff of the everyman hero. If you are an aspiring artist and you wish to avoid ‘judgments,’ you’ll find that you have nothing to say.” —Steven Pressfield

Writing Tip #11: Read your writing out loud.

This is not the only way to edit, but it’s the best.

When I was writing my first #1 bestseller, I had teams of proofreaders working through the book.

First I proofread it, then I had the help of editor friends, and finally the publishing company had their people do their copyedits. I did not think that a single mistake would sneak by, and happily locked in the manuscript .

A few months later I recorded my audiobook , and as I read through the manuscript out loud, I was horrified.

There were 100 tiny little word choice mistakes and changes I only heard once I said them out loud.

It drove me nuts.

Don’t make the mistake I made. Read your manuscript out loud, hear the mistakes, and change as you go .

If the words roll off your tongue, they’ll also flow smoothly in readers’ heads. Learn from my mistake—read your manuscript out loud and make your changes before you start the publishing process.

If it’s something you would say out loud, then it reads clearly on the page. If it’s something you would never say to another person, it won’t read as clearly.

Writing Tip #12: Avoid the “Mom edit.”

Be very careful with asking friends and family to give you feedback. I’ve seen a lot of manuscripts ruined by friends and family trying to be nice.

The “mom edit” is almost always the worst. Here’s a piece of advice—don’t do it.

What happens is they feel like they are supposed to give feedback, so they just mention things that occur to them. While they are well-intentioned, most of their advice is not only wrong, but it’s also counterproductive and toxic—a dynamic that can send authors into spirals.

The bottom line? Unless your friends and family are writers, or are in the audience of your book, or you are okay with ignoring them, don’t let them give you feedback .

Writing Tip #13: Beat writer’s block by asking what you’re afraid of.

Staring at a blank page? I have a simple trick I use to beat writer’s block . When I am stuck, I ask myself the question:

What am I afraid of?

Hint: it’s pretty much always some fear you don’t want to face ( this is a list of common author fears ).

Here’s the thing though—this won’t work if you aren’t honest with yourself. And of course, you have to be self-aware enough to know when you’re not being honest.

This works for me (most of the time), because I’ve spent many years in different forms of therapy, and I have gotten pretty decent at seeing my own bullshit (again, most of the time, not always).

If you’re not like that—and most people are not—this strategy won’t work. You’ll just spin up elaborate rationalizations to convince yourself that there is a REAL reason and it’s not some fear you aren’t facing.

But if you do this, if you can actually understand the fear that is driving your block, then you can solve it. I walk you through exactly how to beat your book writing fears in this piece .

Writing Tip #14: Spend time on your book title.

Your book title is the most important marketing decision you’ll make. Period.

Just like companies that spend millions on naming new products, and media companies that spend time testing different titles for posts, you should spend substantial time and energy finding the right book title.

This is a very important decision, and one you need to think about and get right to ensure your book has the best possible chance of success.

The title is the first thing the reader sees or hears about your book—even before the cover in most cases—and getting it right is the single most important book marketing decision you’ll make (even though most people don’t think about it as marketing). The title forms the basis of the reader’s judgment about your book.

Let’s be clear: A good title won’t make your book do well. But a bad title will almost certainly prevent it from doing well.

Writing Tip #15: No one cares about your book, they only care what your book gets them.

“This is the value for me of writing books that children read. Children aren’t interested in your appalling self-consciousness. They want to know what happens next. They force you to tell a story.” —Philip Pullman

So many people want to write because they, unconsciously, see it as a way to express emotions or do therapy that they otherwise don’t or won’t do.

If you are writing for that reason, that’s cool—but understand that book is called a diary. You don’t need to publish that.

If you are writing something you want to publish, then you are writing for the reader. Even if the book is about you.

I am the perfect example—I wrote 3 #1 New York Times bestselling books about my life…and every single one is focused on entertaining the reader, not me. I know, it sounds very counterintuitive, but it’s the truth:

No one cares about your book—they only care what your book gets them.

Writing Tip #16: Cut everything unnecessary.

“Never use a long word where a short one will do.” —George Orwell

The question, “ What can I cut? ” is the most important one to ask in writing.

The more you cut without losing meaning, the better.

A short good argument will always beat a longer good argument. Always.

There is NEVER a reason to write a single word more than necessary.

Note: Do not mistake clarity with brevity. Both are important, but they are different, and that’s why they are different tips.

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” —Thomas Jefferson

Writing Tip #17: Grammar rules are made-up bullshit.

“Remember, Grammar Nazis: It’s YOU’RE going to die alone.” —Damien Fahey

This is one of those facts that most writers never stop to think about. There is no such thing as a hard and fast grammar “rule.” There are multiple different books that claim to be the one truth, but none of them are.

You can do anything you want—as long as it works for the reader.

Writing Tip #18: When necessary, learn the proper rules.

I know I said that all grammar rules are bullshit. They are. But the fact is, there are times and places that breaking the rules will make you look bad in a way that doesn’t help you.

Make sure you know all the big rules so that you can know when it makes sense to break them or to abide by them. Know all of these things (or just reference the links when you need them):

What are the parts of a book? What are the rules for a book proposal? How do you write the Foreword? How do you write an Acknowledgments? What is positioning and why does it matter? How to write your Author Bio How to write a book description that sells How long should your book be? How to do a great book cover What are all the different types of editing?

There are endless other rules. You don’t need to know this upfront, just know that there are rules, and you can break them, you just need to know them ahead of time to know which ones to break and when.

Writing Tip #19: Good editing hurts your ego.

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” —Stephen King

This is the most painful truth of writing: good editing crushes your ego. You will fall in love with something that doesn’t work, and the only solution is to cut it. What you do then determines the quality of your writing.

Until you have cut something that you loved but no one else does, you are not writing.

“In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.” —Antoine de Saint Exupery

Writing Tip #20: Great writing is great storytelling.

“If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.” —W. Somerset Maugham

This is a very important tip that so many writers fail to understand—no one cares about your fancy words or perfect sentences. That’s like a chef who is obsessed with spices but doesn’t spend time on the main dish.

Your reader cares about the story.

That doesn’t mean your writing can be bad. But writing is just a vehicle to tell a story, not an end in itself.

Don’t be the writer who forgets the point: teach your reader something valuable through story.

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.” —Steve Jobs

Writing Tip #21: If you get stuck, describe to a friend and record yourself.

If you are stuck writing, then talk out loud to a friend. Tell them exactly what it is you want to say, and all of the sudden it will flow seamlessly out of your mouth.

This is so dead simple, and I’ve been doing this for more than a decade to get past almost any writing obstacle I have encountered.

Note: I use Rev or Temi. They are both apps on my phone, and work great.

Writing Tip #22: Writing cannot be taught; only learned.

“Writing cannot be taught, though it can be learned.” —Joseph Epstein

Take all the writing courses you can , and read all the articles you want. They are great and a part of learning to write.

But the point of this tip is that you’ll never be taught to write. It won’t come from the outside. It is inherently a creative activity , and thus you must actually write and learn yourself how to do it.

Getting guidance is great. But you must still learn it yourself.

Writing Tip #23: Nothing happens until you publish.

“Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.” —Neil Patel

Another thing that is obvious to professional writers but seems to escape amateurs. Until you publish your writing, nothing happens. It’s just a diary.

And by publish, I mean put it anywhere on the internet or out to the world. Not just a book. Sharing is the most important step of writing.

Writing Tip #24: Write what you are trying to figure out.

“If you’re saying it, it’s about you.” —The Last Psychiatrist

I do like the “write what you know” cliche, but I don’t think it’s entirely accurate all the time. It’s also very valid to write what you are trying to figure out.

Because it will not only help you figure it out, but it also will help others who are behind you on the path.

The reality is that there is no finish line, so you might as well write and publish now. You can always do more later.

Writing Tip #25: Keep selling your reader after they’ve bought the book.

Just because the reader bought your book, your job is not over. You have to keep them engaged.

This is why most book introductions are so awful. Authors think the purpose of the introduction is to explain everything they will talk about in the book.

That is boring and wrong.

The purpose of a good introduction is to engage the reader and get them to read the book . Just because someone is reading an introduction does not mean they are going to finish the book. The thing that scares people off of books is not the price—it’s the commitment of time.

People don’t care about $10. They care about spending their time on something that is interesting and engaging to them.

That is the job of the introduction: prove to the reader this book is worth reading. A well done introduction grabs the reader and compels them to keep reading. It pulls them through and makes them excited to start the content, because the introduction has answered the most important question the reader has:

“Why should I read this book?”

Writing Tip #26: Never focus on tools; only on story.

Don’t spend one iota of time obsessing over your writing tools. That is all bullshit, a distraction to get yourself away from the hard job of writing.

Pick any software you like that is easy , and then go forward.

Writing Tip #27: Don’t try to be a “writer.” Just write.

For this lesson, I like to use a metaphor about restaurants:

Yes, the best restaurants in the world do have the experience and the atmosphere down. That stuff matters.

But more important than any of that—they do the fundamentals perfectly. They get simple, fresh ingredients and prepare them well. That’s it. If you do only that, you’ll provide massive value to a ton of people.

But the wannabe fancy chefs don’t do that. They look at the best restaurants and only see the accouterment. They copy the atmosphere, the experience, and focus on all the pretentious bullshit.

Then they fuck up the salad and overcook the steak.

Most writers are overcooking the steak because they are so concerned with identifying as an amazing writer that they overlook the fundamentals. Instead, they try to be clever. They are focusing on the words and forgetting about the story.

The sooner you go of the idea that you’re a “writer,” the faster you can perfect the fundamentals of writing, and then write things that people want to read.

Writing Tip #28: Hand write copies of your favorite writing to improve your writing.

This is a trick I learned from the best copywriters in the world:

Take some pages from the best writing of any writer you want to sound like. Copy that out, by hand. Literally copy it, word for word, in long hand.

I’ve done this with long-form prose writers, and it works wonders.

This gives you an entirely different way to get into the head of a writer you respect and want to emulate. You learn the feel of the words and how they think.

Then you can turn that into your own style.

Writing Tip #29: Write for the reader who won’t read as carefully as you write.

Remember, your reader is distracted and selfish. They are not going to read with the care you put into writing. Don’t fret about that, just account for it and write so that they can’t misunderstand or get lost.

This is the same reason that pop songs are designed to sound good on ear buds. Buy designing for the hardest environment, you ensure your writing works in all environments. And it usually makes it better.

Writing Tip #30: Great stories create emotion and meaning.

“Experiencing stories that tell the tale of protagonists for whom we can empathize gives us the courage to examine our own lives and change them. So if your story doesn’t change your lead character irrevocably from beginning to end, no one will really care about it. It may entertain them, but it will have little effect on them. It will be forgotten. We want characters in stories that take on the myriad challenges of changing their lives and somehow make it through, with invaluable experience. Stories give us the courage to act when we face confusing circumstances that require decisiveness.” —Shawn Coyne

When you read that, do you think Shawn is talking about fiction?

He’s not. He’s talking about all writing.

Fiction or non-fiction, you are still telling a story and for that story to work, it has to hit the emotional core of people. Help them find meaning, purpose, truth, or whatever it is they are searching for.

This applies to something as simple as an instruction manual.

All writing is about emotion and meaning.

“Life is chaotic and meaningless, and you have to find your meaning. You must find the answer, you can’t just live. That’s the point of story: helping you find your meaning in life.” —Robert McKee

Writing Tip #31: Expect 50% of your ideas to occur after you start.

This is annoyingly true. No matter how much you outline or think or plan, writing itself will generate more ideas.

For example, I outlined this piece to have 15 writing tips…31 later, I am two more from being done.

Writing Tip #32: Use a parking lot to capture ideas.

When I write, I end up accumulating notes for lots of other topics I want to write about later. Instead of those spinning in my head and distracting me, I have a note called a “Parking Lot,” and I put all my ideas for future pieces there.

It both ensures that I don’t lose them and gets them out of my head so I can focus on the piece I am working on.

Writing Tip #33: The only absolute rule in writing is “do what works.”

“You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain.” —Miyamoto Musashi

All of these tips have worked for me ( and for the thousands of writers my company has coached ), but it doesn’t mean that they’ll work for you. Some will, some will not.

Here’s the point: the only absolute rule is that there are no rules, and all you have to do is do what works.

If it works, it’s right.

If it doesn’t, it’s not.

This is because writing isn’t about the words and sentences. It’s not even about the story.

Writing is about the impact the writing has.

What works is what matters, that’s it.

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Writing Tips from 41 Experts

Writing Tips 40 Experts Wish They’d Known as Beginners

How I wish I had known as a teenager what I know now!

At 19 I worked full-time as a sportswriter for a daily newspaper.

I loved my job, but I was ambitious and wanted to see if I could sell a story to the Features editor. I worked hard on one, on my own time, and submitted it with photos.

The editor’s response crushed me.

In red pencil at the top of the first page, he’d scribbled:

“Great pictures. Bad story.”

Humiliated, I forced myself to approach his desk.

“Sir,” I said, “could you tell me what’s wrong with this so I can fix it?”

“Sure, Jenkins,” he said. “It’s sh–.”

I staggered back to my boss, the Sports Editor, and told her what had happened.

“Did you have any misgivings about the piece?” she said.

I mentioned several things I could have done better.

“There you go. Anything you thought you should have done is what you ought to do . ”

I rewrote the piece that night and resubmitted it the next day. The Features editor immediately accepted it.

My mistake? I had submitted a piece of writing that was less than my best, and I knew it. I vowed to never do that again.

The thought of being able to tell my younger self what I know now prompted me to ask 39 of the best authors, writing coaches , and publishing experts I know:

“If you could go back to the beginning of your writing career and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?”

And I added one of my own writing tips to make it 40.

Always be learning.

Take your time.

Develop your spiritual practices.

Dive in and be scared later.

Write for the love of writing itself, not what writing might afford you.

1.  Lisa Cron , author of Wired for Story

writing with tips

I’d tell myself that what grabs readers isn’t beautiful writing, a rip-roaring plot, or surface drama; what grabs readers is what gives those things their meaning and power: the story itself.

And so first you have to create the story, which doesn’t start on page one, but long before it. Because the story is not about an external plot-level change. The story is about an internal change — a change that the protagonist enters the story already needing to make. Thus the protagonist walks onto the first page with a long standing driving desire — an agenda — that she hasn’t been able to achieve because an equally long standing misbelief (about human nature) stands in her way.

And here’s the last thing I wish I’d known: backstory is the most fundamental, present, and meaningful foundation of the story . Or as Faulkner said, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.”

2.  Jane Friedman , writing and publishing coach/blogger

writing with tips

Establish a reading habit that matches roughly what you hope to write and publish. Make it as important as anything else you schedule in your day, and never allow busyness to crowd out the time you devote to consuming other good works.

It’s fine not to finish books or to abandon authors you don’t like, but never stop consuming the genre you want become known in. It raises your writerly IQ and ultimately lays the foundation for better literary citizenship and networking with other authors, editors, and agents . A non-reader is soon outed and left behind in this business.

3. Joe Bunting , founder of The Write Practice

writing with tips

You think you’re pretty talented. You think you’re pretty smart. And you are. But the best way to fail at being a writer is to spend all your time proving you know what you’re doing rather than learning from the people and resources around you.

Stop posturing. Start practicing. And have fun.

4. Dave Chesson , founder of Kindlepreneur

writing with tips

Start your email list as soon as you can. I spent a couple of years not doing an email list and I can’t help but wonder how many thousands of readers I lost the ability to reach out to because I didn’t start it sooner.

There is no greater book marketing kickstart than sending a new book launch email to your already raving fans.

They’ll buy it, and even leave those crucial reviews. So, if you decide you’re going to write more than one book, setting up your email list as soon as possible is key to growing your success with each book you write.

5. Bridget McNulty , co-founder of Now Novel

writing with tips

Getting published is really exciting, but it’s not the point of writing.

The actual writing is what it’s all about — the daily joy in sitting down to a blank page and crafting something beautiful or funny or heartwrenching or even just blah (depending on the day).

While getting a book (and articles, and stories) published is a great ego boost, the real meaning in writing comes from the words flowing out of your fingertips — and the sense of achievement in a finished project.

6. Randy Ingermanson , novelist and creator of The Snowflake Method of plotting

writing with tips

You get good at writing by following these three simple steps:

1) Write a lot. The more you write, the more you’ll tune in to your unique voice and the better you’ll get.

2) Get critiqued occasionally. You should never pay any attention to what your mother says about your writing, or what anyone who loves you says about your writing, because all those people are liars. You should pay attention only to people who know what good writing is and who also know how to critique bad writing. Many who know good writing don’t have any idea how to critique bad writing and will not be able to help you.

Also be aware that many people who know how to critique bad writing would not recognize good writing if it stabbed them in the eye. This is tragic, but deal with it. You are looking for somebody who has both of these skills , and those people are rare.

You need to be told when your writing is bad and why it’s bad, because when you start writing, your work will be awful and you will imagine it’s brilliant. You also need to be told when your writing is brilliant, because by the time your writing is brilliant, you will have been told so many times that your writing is bad that you’ll imagine you are the worst writer who ever lived.

It’s just a fact that all bad writers think they are amazing and all great writers think they are terrible. And that’s why you need to be critiqued occasionally. Don’t do this every day.  It hurts too much. A little critique goes a long way.

3) Study the craft of writing in books, lectures, or wherever else you can learn it. You most especially need to do this after getting critiqued.

You can’t figure it out on your own. Find a book that explains in clear words how to do right what you are doing wrong. When you finish the book, you will again believe in yourself enough to go back to step 1 and write a bunch more.

And have fun!

Need help fine-tuning your writing? Click here to download my FREE self-editing checklist.

7. K.M. Weiland , novelist and writing coach

K.M. Weiland

I would want my younger self to realize that as wonderful as publication is, it isn’t the point of the writing process.

It’s just a stop along the road. Writing is more about the journey than the destination. As award-winning author Anne Lamott points out, “Being published isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Writing is.” So don’t let your non-published status get you down. Just enjoy where you are right now.

8. Bryan Collins , writing coach

writing with tips

I’d say start publishing your work online and showing it to people even if it’s not ready or perfect.

I spent years writing short stories and trying to get my sentences just right. I rarely showed them to anyone and I didn’t get the feedback I needed to improve as a writer . Instead, I stuffed my drafts in a drawer.

It was only after I started writing online that I discovered I’m better at — and prefer — writing nonfiction . If I’d learnt that lesson ten years ago, I would have saved myself a lot of time.

Still, sometimes you have to make mistakes to fall forward.

9. Rachelle Gardner , literary agent

writing with tips

There’s no rush to get published.

The more time you spend writing, reading, and learning to be a better writer, the better things will go for you.

Don’t try to hurry it along.

10. Ann Handley , author of Everybody Writes

writing with tips

I’d tell myself that the best writing serves the reader — not the writer.

Our job as writers is to make more sense of the world, to paraphrase Anne Lamott and E.B. White and a million other writers.

So even when you’re writing about your own life and your own experiences from your own point of view, you’re nonetheless exposing something real and true and universal.

So make each sentence (and every word in that sentence) earn its keep: Is this sentence indulgent? Or does it help the reader? Does it explain, elucidate, or elevate the truth?

Get out of your head and into your reader’s.

11. Joanna Penn , novelist and writing coach

Joanna Penn

Schedule time to write, show up for that meeting with yourself, and put words onto the page.

It doesn’t matter if those words aren’t very good — they probably won’t be, but that’s OK because you can make them better when you edit them later.

But you can’t edit a blank page, so get your butt into the chair and write!

Need help with time management? Click here to download my FREE guide How to Maximize Your Writing Time .

12. Gabriela Pereira , author and founder of DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira

I would say: “Dream big, execute small.”

These words of wisdom are not my own but they have become a mantra for me.

Creative success requires both a big vision and small, deliberate steps.

Audacious goals aren’t reached without persistent action.

13. Joel Friedlander , founder of The Book Designer

writing with tips

Getting into the habit of sitting down and writing every day is essential.

A writer is someone who writes, and the only path to improving your craft and finding both satisfaction and success in your writing is to keep doing it.

Try to write at the same time each day, and don’t worry too much about whether what your writing is good or not — just keep writing.

14. Lisa Tener , book development coach

writing with tips

They are the greatest support for your writing and your creativity.

With them, you will write with greater ease, break through blocks more easily, and have the stamina to write consistently and from your heart.

15. Carol Tice , founder of Make a Living Writing

writing with tips

Simply take action and don’t overthink where this might end up.

Think of something scarier than writing your piece, and it’ll be a breeze by comparison.

Instead of feeling scared to take action, think of everything you do as a writer like it’s a science experiment. “I’ll write this and send it off and see what happens, mwahaha.” Then, learn from that and do better.

16. C.S. Lakin , author and writing coach

C.S. Lakin

I would say to myself: “You are way too cocky.

You think you know how to write a novel because you’ve read thousands of them. You need to stop trying to publish your terrible manuscript and spend time learning the craft.

There is actually a thing called structure , and you don’t know it.

Get every good book there is on writing craft, attend workshops and retreats, and, for God’s sake, be humble! Take advice. Be teachable.”

17. Tara Lazar , children’s author

Tara Lazar

Stop being in such a rush. Slow down and work on your craft.

I wanted the agent and the deal to happen immediately. Yesterday.

Read. Write. Learn.

It will happen for you if you take the time to master your craft.

18. James Scott Bell , novelist and writing coach

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Don’t be so impatient!

It takes time to develop your craft.

You spent your 20s believing what so many told you, that you can’t learn to write. But then you tried, and you discovered you CAN learn.

Keep learning. Keep writing.

Want to write a book but don't know where to start? Click here to download my FREE guide: How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps .

19. Debbie Ohi , children’s author

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Don’t use your introversion as an excuse.

Yes, you may prefer to hide out in your creative cave, dreading learning to network and talk to people you don’t know. If you get out and starting practicing now , then your path will be that much smoother.

Start by joining the writers groups and getting to know others in the community.

It may be terrifying at first but it will get easier, and you’ll be surprised at how much fun you’ll have, the friends you’ll make.

20. Jennie Nash , founder of Author Accelerator

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I would tell my younger self to listen to the wise elders who told me that I could make a career in the writing world.

I spent so long doubting myself, and making excuses, and waiting for someone to roll out a red carpet, and circling around the actual writing by doing jobs that were “writing adjacent.” All that delay and doubt cost me.

I recently launched a book coaching company, and we inspire writers to believe they can actually do it, and help them take the steps toward making their dreams a reality.

It feels like I’ve come full circle.

21. Chris Fabry , novelist and radio host, author of Under a Cloudless Sky

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I would actually go back to my childhood and encourage myself to pay more attention to details.

Listen and observe more closely.

You think sitting at your grandmother’s kitchen table and listening to your uncles tell stories is fun.

These are seeds being sown into your soul. Soak up everything. You will use all you’re hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling.

When you’re an author you will draw from these holy moments. All great storytelling begins in childhood.

[ Chris’s blog on how to make it as a writer.]

22. Les Edgerton , novelist and writing coach

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In Jim Harrison’s words:

“Read the whole of western literature for the past 400 years.

If time allows, read the whole of eastern literature for the same time period.

For, if one cannot tell what passed for good in the past, one cannot tell what passes for good now.”

23. DiAnn Mills , novelist and writing coach

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I would tell myself that my writing career isn’t about me.

True success can never be about the writer.

Fulfilling the calling is about reaching readers with an excellent story that entertains, inspires, and encourages.

Writing is about putting reader needs first, which means constantly educating myself in the craft, social media, and the publishing industry.

24. Angela Hunt , author and writing coach

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The experts don’t always know best.

You can build a readership of people who like to read in different genres.

You have to stop writing sometimes to have a life that will fuel your writing. Other avocations can scratch a different creative itch and fuel your writing as well.

Fast writing might be sloppy writing, but it ends with a result that can be cleaned up and rewritten as many times as necessary. Go at your own pace, but go!

Writing is hard.

Anyone can string words together, but imbuing those words with the power to touch a heart and change a life — that takes work, talent, and skill. And perseverance. Most of all, perseverance.

25. Steve Laube , literary agent

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There is no such thing as an instant book.

A book can be published quickly, but that is the exception, not the rule.

26. Philip Yancey , author

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“Do not attempt this act alone.”

Yes, writing is a solitary act, performed in isolation. But the editing process needs different sets of eyes to help clarify the writer’s vision and meaning.

The grouchiest curmudgeons make the best editors; praise feels good, but only criticism helps me improve.

27. Gloria Kempton , author and writing coach

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My advice to my new writing self would be the mythologist, Joseph Campbell’s, words, Follow your bliss : “Gloria, rather than following publishing trends or dictates of the Christian publishing industry, stay close to your personal truth as it comes to you when you sit down to write. Listen, not to the many publishing ’experts’ about how to craft your message, and how to sneak that message into everything you write.

Instead, explore the questions that rise within your soul that will lead you to a more meaningful writing path, one of integrity and passion for the truth that is uniquely yours as a child of God.

When you sit down to write, assume you know nothing. Become curious. Investigate. Inquire. Your mission is not to tell readers who they are and what they should believe; your mission is to ask the important questions and give readers the opportunity to explore those for themselves.”

28. Allen Arnold , author, speaker, former publisher

writing with tips

I would tell my younger self that no great art was ever created without great heart.

In the creative process, the heart of the storyteller takes priority over everything else including formulas, word count, social media, and productivity.

So, first live well; then write well.

Allow God to awaken your own hearts before you ask your art to stir the hearts of others. That will infuse your stories with an eternal spark that transcends you and transforms others.

29. Saundra Dalton-Smith , author, speaker, physician

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Focus on establishing a relationship with potential readers before you consider writing a book.

Blog , share on YouTube, participate in social media, or even have an email newsletter list.

Start building your tribe years before writing the first book proposal .

Your unique story will draw your tribe to you. The more your readers feel they are part of your story the more likely they are to share with others.

30. Becca Puglisi , author of The Emotion Thesaurus

Becca Puglisi

Don’t be afraid to say Yes .

The journey to becoming a writer can be daunting. There’s so much to do and learn, and it’s easy to look at other opportunities as distractions, particularly if you’re not totally comfortable doing them. Step out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself.

New challenges will grow you as a author and take you farther than you imagined possible. Saying Yes might be the first step in mastering a difficult area of the craft, expanding your writing options, meeting other authors who will be integral to your growth, becoming an international speaker, or selling way more books than you ever thought possible.

So when an opportunity presents itself that might seem scary or even impossible, don’t dismiss it outright. Instead, consider what it might offer. Will it teach you a worthwhile skill, give you a chance to try something new, or require you to do something that makes you nervous? If so, it might be a good idea after all.

31. William Noble , author and writing coach, attorney

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Don’t assume you must follow a predetermined writer’s path, that you will be a novelist or a poet or a playwright or a journalist, and you will concentrate on this form of writing only.

Try all forms of writing, don’t pre-type yourself, produce fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, playscripts, essays, profiles, humor, memoir, and biography.

Eventually, the shape of your talent will emerge from how you have tested yourself.

32. Steven James , author and speaker

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I would confirm to my younger self that story always trumps structure.

Numerous books tell how to plot and structure a story ; however, these can end up derailing the story.

It’s tempting to utilize them instead of following the organic process of story shaping, but it’s vital that you let the story inform the direction of your writing. Fear will always drive you back to an outline .

Part of the artistic process is learning to channel that fear into creativity and not confine yourself because of it.

33. Michele Cushatt , author, speaker, emcee

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The writers who endure are those who can’t not write, the ones for whom contracts and publication are secondary rewards.

Rather than aiming at recognition, they chase understanding. They lean into the struggle, learn to marvel at the untangling of complexities and the transcendence of unforgettable stories.

Writing holds the power to transform you and the way you see the world in a way few other human experiences can. This is the real reward, the one that lasts long after the lights go out.

34. Marion Roach Smith , memoir writing coach

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The clear, hard, cold fact is that without discipline all the inspiration and rituals, lucky pencils, good views out the window, and all those other things you think you have to have before you write, won’t bring you anything of value. They simply will not sustain you the way discipline will.

I’d tell myself that with humor and grace, however, and not a bit sternly.

No young writer should be spoken to with the least amount of stern admonition, but rather with enormous encouragement and support.

Need help getting more words on the page when you write? Click here to download my FREE guide How to Maximize Your Writing Time .

35. Patricia Raybon , author, writer, teacher

Patricia Raybon

Write daily. But not just for productivity. Write to discover yourself, getting reintroduced to the human being you’re blessed to be — that person indwelled with something of value to offer the world.

Don’t publish daily. Rather, publish regularly — fine-tuning what you want to say to the world and how to say it.

Bluster, brawling and bravado? No. Kindness, motivation and encouragement. Yes .

Even as I write this reflection for author friend Jerry Jenkins, I’m reminded why daily writing matters. It’s a bonus tool — helping unearth your brand, purpose, message, values, and audience. Therefore, write. In journals. In letters. On the grocery list taped to your refrigerator. Write something down. Today. You’ll grow as a writer. Even better? You’ll grow as a person. Your readers and your career will thank you.

36. Brandilyn Collins , novelist and writing teacher

Brandilyn Collins

Brandilyn, you’re embarking on a very difficult journey.

You’ll have some highs and lots of lows. The writing business/industry will be all over the map, and no matter what you sell, you’re likely to always want more.

Remember — this is not about you. Your writing for the Christian market — writing novels that portray God’s grace and power — is for Him.

God will do with these books as He chooses. God will use the words you write to change people’s lives for eternity. And that’s something no price tag could ever cover.

Follow His will for your writing. Continue to work hard on your craft. Work hard on marketing. Give God your best. Then leave the results to Him.

37. Julie Duffy , founder of Story a Day

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Don’t wait to write until you’re older/wiser/invited to the party.

Don’t wait until you have something “important” to say. You are living now, and you’ll never be able to recapture the feeling of being 15, 22, 36…not really. The things that matter to you now, won’t matter in the same way when you’re older, and the things that matter to you when you’re older won’t necessarily be more important. You might know more, but that won’t make you more interesting or important. Write now.

Don’t wait, because when you do have something important to say, you won’t want your writing to be rusty. Your writing will change and evolve, and when you get stuck you will seek out the mentors and teachers you need to move you to the next stage.

Don’t wait, because the best ideas come when you’re writing. You will never, never run out of ideas, as long as you keep writing.

Don’t wait for anyone to tell you to write. Whether or not anyone ever pays you to write, or asks you to contribute, or gives you permission to sneak off and steal an hour or two to tell stories on paper, writing is a part of you. You are more fully yourself when you accept and embrace that. You’re easier to live with when you’re writing, so claim the time you need, and don’t wait. Make it a priority to do the writing, rather than to worry about whether you’ll ever make a career of it. Don’t put the cart before the horse, my girl!

Oh, and you’re going to love this thing called the Internet.

38. Randy Alcorn , inspirational author

writing with tips

Write only those books you are absolutely convinced God wants you to. Not just books that are good ideas, but ideas that you’re personally passionate about and fit your heart, convictions, wiring, and style, not someone else’s.

It’s great to listen to publishers and others, hear their ideas, and modify yours as long as you can retain a sense of ownership so it really remains your book. Never write a book you can’t pour yourself into 100%. Even 90% isn’t enough, because when you hit the rough spots, your heart needs to be totally in it.

39. Jessica Strawser , author and editor-at-large,  Writer’s Digest

writing with tips

Having since learned the power of tapping into networks of fellow writers — through genre-based organizations, conferences, Facebook groups, in-person groups, any way you can — my advice would be to find and grow your tribe as early and as well as you’re able.

Their support will buoy you at every stage, and through giving as good as you get, you’ll stay connected to the joy of the craft even when you’re feeling the heat beyond the page.

40. Jerry Jenkins , novelist and biographer, owner, Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild

writing with tips

Before submitting anything, be sure you’re happy with every word.

Become an aggressive, even ferocious self-editor.

Click here for my guide on this subject. And here for information on my Writers Guild.

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Posted on Sep 26, 2019

20 Writing Tips to Improve Your Craft

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” Writer Edgar Bulwer-Lytton made this keen observation nearly 200 years ago, but it remains just as true today. Writing is one of the most powerful forms in existence, and a simple story can change countless lives — which is why so many of us choose to be writers in the first place.

But sometimes it can be difficult to find the right words, to tell the story the way you want, or to start writing in the first place. That’s why we’ve compiled these 20 essential writing tips for writers like you: artists who want to hone their craft to perfection, so they can tell their stories effectively to the world.

Some of these tips are narrative-related, while others are more about the mentality and setting you need in order to write. But all have one crucial thing in common: if you take them to heart, they’ll help you improve your craft — and maybe even pen the book of your dreams .

If you prefer your tips in watchable form, check out this video on great writing tips that no one else will tell you.

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1. Even pantsers need to plan

Let’s begin with an age-old question: are you a plotter or a pantser?

If you’ve never heard these terms before, allow us to explain. Pantsers are writers who “fly by the seat of their pants,” i.e. start writing without preparing too much and simply trust that everything will work out. At the other end of the spectrum are plotters , who plan and outline extensively before they begin to write.

Which is the better way forward? Well, it’s different for everyone — what works for you may not necessarily work for another writer you know.

However, experience has taught us that a little bit of planning goes a long way. That’s why we always advise some form of preparation, even if it’s just a few nuggets of your plot, before you dive into writing. So create an outline today , if you haven't already!

2. Keep your outline in mind

Once you’ve prepared that outline, it’s important to actually use it. This may seem obvious, but it's seemingly one of the hardest-to-remember writing tips out there!

Many writers find themselves led astray by subplots and secondary characters, wandering into rambling chapters that don’t really go anywhere. Then when they try to get back to the main plot, they find they’re already too far gone.

Keeping your outline in mind at all times will help you avoid these disastrous detours. Even if you stray a little , you should be able to look at your outline and articulate exactly how you’ll get back to what you planned.

This is especially crucial late in the writing process, when it can be hard to remember your original vision — so if you have doubts about your ability to remember your outline, definitely write it down.

3. Introduce conflict early

Of all the core elements in your story, conflict is perhaps the most important to emphasize. Conflict lies at the heart of every good narrative, so make sure readers know what your conflict is within the first few chapters!

The best way to do this is through an early inciting incident , wherein the main character has a revelation and/or becomes involved in something big. For example, in The Hunger Games , the inciting incident is Katniss volunteering for the Games — which kicks off her personal and political conflict with the Capitol.

Finally, remember that there are many different types of conflict . So if you have no idea what your conflict, it’s probably just unconventional. For instance, your conflict might be one that unfolds within your narrator (character vs. self), or against some larger force (like character vs. technology). Once you do figure it out, try to introduce it early!

4. Control the pacing

Nothing ruins a good book like poor pacing. So make sure you control the pacing in your story, lest readers lose interest and put down your book in frustration!

In order to combat slow pacing , you’ll need to increase the tempo by:

A) Cutting down lengthy sentences and descriptions, and B) Increasing action and dialogue.

The first strategy works for one simple reason: it gets rid of filler and fluff. In extreme cases, you may have to cut a great deal of exposition in order to get to the beating heart of your story. (See writing tip #18 to help you with this.)

As for the latter, it might seem like adding more content is counterintuitive to a quicker pace. But because action and dialogue move the story forward in a concrete manner, you can always rely on them to improve slow pacing.

5. Fine-tune your dialogue

Speaking of dialogue , it's pretty critical to most stories, both in terms of plot and drawing in readers. Indeed, a conversation between characters is usually much more impactful than a narrator relaying similar information.

But dialogue loses its impact if the conversation goes on for too long — so for better, sharper dialogue, be concise . Say you’re writing a story in which two characters have an argument. You might be tempted to go on for paragraphs to convey emotion, tension, and meaning, but all this can fit into just a few sentences. Like so:

“Nice of you to show up. What were you doing, if not getting groceries?” “Thanks for the warm reception. I had a meeting. Kind of an important one.”

For more dialogue-specific writing tips, check out this post — or the video below!

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6. Show, don’t tell

In a similar vein, while you may have already heard this advice , it bears repeating: show, don’t tell as often as possible. For those who aren’t really sure what that means, it’s easiest for us to, well, show you! Here’s a passage from Sally Rooney’s Normal People that exemplifies this rule:

He wakes up just after eight. It’s bright outside the window and the carriage is warming up, a heavy warmth of breath and sweat. Minor train stations with unreadable names flash past… Connell rubs his left eye with his knuckles and sits up. Elaine is reading the one novel she has brought with her on the journey, a novel with a glossy cover and the words "Now a Major Motion Picture" along the top.

As you can see, it’s pretty hard to completely eliminate telling from your prose — in fact, the first sentence in this passage could qualify as “telling.” But the rest is “showing,” as it paints an evocative picture of the scene: the bright, warm carriage in the train that's rushing past other stations, the girl reading the glossy novel in the opposite seat.

If you can use all five senses to convey the scene, all the better. Tell us not just what the central character sees, but also what they hear, smell, taste, and feel in order to truly immerse the reader in the scene.

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Show, Don't Tell

Master the golden rule of writing in 10 five-minute lessons.

7. But don’t reveal TOO much

While you want your scene-by-scene descriptions to be as “showy” as possible, don’t reveal too much to readers about your plot and characters. This is the idea behind Hemingway's  “Iceberg Theory,” which posits that you should only provide readers with “the tip of the iceberg” — the most essential part of the story.

Many writers create elaborate histories for their characters, or have long-reaching plans for them beyond their current works. But readers only need to know the “here and now,” so to speak. Giving them too much information will overwhelm them, and likely cause them to put your book down in favor of something simpler.

So while you might include a bit of backstory or foreshadowing every so often, it’s best to keep most of this info to yourself. This also works on another level, in that you can reveal tantalizing drips of information as the story progresses, which will pique readers’ interest rather than lose it. (Two writing tips for the price of one!)

8. Consider your themes

On a related note, the underwater part of the “Hemingway iceberg” not only consists of backstory, but also important themes. This is another aspect to contemplate during the writing process: what are you trying to say about society and/or the human condition? And how can you convey those themes in a subtle yet effective way?

Common literary themes include love, loss, and the importance of doing the right thing. Your themes will depend on your genre and subject material, but they may also relate closely to your personal beliefs and experiences. Try to embrace this, as writing what you know is a great way to infuse your story with genuine emotion.

9. Be careful with POV

Your narrator is your reader’s gateway into the story, so be careful with point of view. Don’t make your narrator’s voice too specific, as they need to speak in an accessible and relatable way for readers — and a non-stereotypical way if they happen to speak in a certain dialect. (For help with this, you might consider getting a sensitivity reader .)

Also remember that, while omniscient narration is the most flexible way to tell your story, it also requires the most discipline as an author. An omniscient narrator can easily move too rapidly among storylines, causing mental whiplash for readers.

To avoid this , remember our tip about having your outline in mind at all times! That way, even if you have an omniscient narrator, they shouldn’t get too far off track.

10. Write as often as you can

Now we’re getting into the more process-based writing tips. Write as much as possible is one of those tips you’re surely tired of hearing, but the reason it’s so common is because it works!

The only way you’re ever going to finish writing a book is by sitting down and writing it , so work on your story as often as you can. Write whenever and wherever you have a bit of downtime — on the bus, in a long line at the grocery store, waiting for your laundry, etc. It might feel strange to write on your phone rather than on a laptop at your desk, but you’ll get accustomed if you do it often enough.

If you can't figure out what to write, we have some awesome writing prompts , writing exercises , and even writing scholarships (if you're a student) to help you out! You can also check out these great opening lines , our guide to getting started with creative writing or watch the video below to inspire you.

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11. Ask yourself questions

One way to ensure you’re doing your best, most creative writing is to question yourself constantly. It’s easy to get complacent with your writing, even if you’re technically meeting your word count goals. But if you’re always challenging yourself, you’ll see every bit of potential in your story and fulfill it as you progress.

A few good questions to ask yourself might be:

12. Write now, edit later

That said, don’t challenge yourself so much you become too paralyzed to write. When in doubt, just skip over it, or write a crappy version of it for now. Write now, edit later is the approach of countless authors, and if it works for them, it can work for you too!

We won’t really touch on editing here, since this is a list of writing tips, not editing tips. But if you’re interested in the “later” part, you can check out this guide on how to edit a book . And remember: you don't have to go it alone — the Internet is chock full of writing groups willing to give you constructive criticism , not to mention great editing tools to get the job done.

13. Read your work out loud

Many of the best writers' and editors' writing tips include reading aloud what you write in order to check it for inconsistencies and awkward phrasing. This tactic particularly helps weed out long, unwieldy sentences, and it's a godsend when you're working out how to write dialogue that sounds true to your characters..

For bonus points, you might even stage a reading with a group of friends (or fellow writers) where each person reads the dialogue of a different character. This will give your writing more “distance” and help you see its flaws more easily. If you do stage a reading, remember to take notes, so you can remember what to fix afterward!

14. Make it short and sweet

As Polonius said, brevity is the soul of wit, so keep your writing as short and sweet as you can. This will both entice readers and help you avoid purple prose , which tends to be a dealbreaker for readers and agents alike.

Of course, if you’re writing literary fiction, you do want your writing to sound intelligent. How can you do this without going on for paragraphs at a time? The answer is by making strong word choices, especially when it comes to verbs . Don’t dilute your story with adverb-y sentences — get down to business and tell us what the characters are doing.

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15. Get rid of distractions

Yes, this is probably one of the hardest writing tips to follow — especially for those of us who enjoy working from noisy coffee shops and taking frequent Netflix breaks . But the more you eliminate distractions, the better your writing will become. Here are some ideas on how to enter deep focus mode:

16. Work through crises of confidence

In every writer’s life, there comes a point where they second-guess their entire endeavor. This will no doubt happen to you, too — maybe you’ll notice a major plot hole halfway through, a theme you have no idea how to incorporate, or you'll simply hit a creative wall .

Fear not: every writer who’s ever completed a book has gotten through this. But how can you work through such writerly crises without bashing your head against the wall?

If you ask us, the best solution is to return to your early notes and original outline. Look back to see if there’s anything there that can help you — you may have forgotten about some critical component, or it may help you see things in a new light.

And if that doesn’t work, you might just need some time away from this particular project. Take a break for a day or two, then come back to it with fresh eyes. But whatever you do, don’t give up! Remember, every writer’s been through this same thing. Think of it as your initiation, and refuse to let it break you.

17. Listen to feedback

Now for another one of those writing tips that we all struggle with. Throughout the process of writing, and definitely after you’re finished, you should share your work with other people: your friends, family, writers’ groups (both in person and on the Internet ), and your editor(s).

Accepting and actioning critical feedback is one of the most difficult parts of being a writer. Yet it’s also one of the most important skills to have. Because the feedback you receive from friends and beta readers is the only window you have into other people’s views — until you publish and it's too late.

So try not to view criticism as harsh, but as helpful. It might just save you from literary infamy later! On that note…

18. Kill your darlings

Sometimes you’ll pen a passage that’s so beautiful, so nuanced, so masterfully constructed that you want to frame it — but it doesn’t really contribute anything to the larger work. It’s a distraction, and you know in your heart that your book would be better off without it.

What to do now? You probably know the answer, even if you don’t want to admit it: you have to kill your darlings. This most often refers to removing an irrelevant or otherwise distracting passage, but it may also be your title , an element of your narration, or even an entire character.

In any case, if it doesn’t add to the story, consider dropping it. Of all our writing tips, this one is perhaps the most important for writers of short stories and flash fiction , since you don’t have any room to waste! Remember, you can always save it to re-use later.

19. Just keep writing

How do prolific, successful authors manage to turn out so many books? Basically, by keeping calm and carrying on. Stephen King writes 2,000 words every single day, even on holidays. Jane Austen wrote each day just after breakfast without fail. Kafka wrote in the wee hours of the morning, barely sleeping as a result.

Now, Jane Austen never had a smartphone distracting her, so that was kind of an unfair advantage. But you do still need to at least  attempt  a similar lifestyle, and keep writing with as much consistency and focus as possible!

This is one of the best writing tips we can give any author, fiction or non-fiction, short-form or long. Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and keep your head down until you hit that final blessed page.

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20. Keep publishing in mind

Last but certainly not least on this list of writing tips, we’ll cover the potential of publishing your book once it’s finally finished. Though it's the final step in the process, thinking about it as you write can really motivate you! Not to mention it's good to have some idea of your plan when you cross that finish line.

For example, if you go the traditional publishing route , you should consider how you might pitch your book to agents. What makes your story unique, and why would they want to represent it? If you start writing with the aim to publish, you can consciously highlight these elements in the story.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking about self-publishing , the adventure truly does begin once you’ve finished the manuscript ! After a round or two of editing and getting a book cover, you should be set to put your book up on Amazon and start selling.

There are pros and cons to both these sides. Luckily, if you’ve gotten to this point, the hard part is over; you’ve managed to write the book of your dreams, and now what you do with it is up to you!

And if you haven't quite gotten there yet, know that it's never too late. Writing is a lifelong challenge, but it's also one of the most rewarding things you can pursue. So go forth and tell the story you've always wanted to tell — we believe in you. ✍

Did we miss anything? Tell us your best writing tips in the comments below!

3 responses

Kalyan Panja says:

03/08/2019 – 07:19

Thanks for sharing this inspiring article which can help many to decide on the choices they make to write better and engaging articles.

Lost-Identification says:

13/08/2019 – 12:16

Do you have any recommendations for a book to help improve writing? I've been reading books like, "The Anatomy of Story" by John Truby, "Dialogue: The art of verbal action for the page, stage, and screen" by Robert Mckee, and just reading a wide genre of books.

↪️ Phil Slattery replied:

16/10/2019 – 04:32

Read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. It has been a Bible for some great writers since the 1930's. It's updated periodically. It is short, concise, and clear; exactly what writing should be. It helped me immensely. A very concise guide that helped me immensely with punctuation is Webster"s New World Guide to Punctuation. Wonderfully concise and clear work. This won't cover every debatable nuance of punctuation, but it will cover everything you need to write well.

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Writing Forward

The Only Two Writing Tips You’ll Ever Need: Read and Write

by Melissa Donovan | Jan 31, 2023 | Writing Tips | 18 comments

writing tips read and write

Read and write!

I love collecting writing tips . You never know when you’re going to stumble across a golden nugget of wisdom that will make your writing richer and more vibrant. One of the reasons I started this website was so that I could share the many valuable tips that I’ve collected over the years. I figure that if some bit of advice helped my writing, it will probably help others’ writing as well.

But writing tips are funny things. What works for me might not work for you. Maybe you’re naturally inclined to show rather than tell whereas I need someone to say, “show, don’t tell.” Or maybe you only write nonfiction and have no use for tips on creating believable characters or riveting plots. Maybe you only write far-out, abstract poetry and could care less about good grammar.

We writers are a varied bunch with different needs, goals, and standards. But we all have one thing in common: we write.

And because we all write, there are a couple of writing tips that apply to each and every one of us. In fact, I’d argue that there are just two things that every writer absolutely must do in order to succeed.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King

Writers must read.

Writing begins with reading. It is through reading that we learn how to tell stories, how to choose words and craft sentences. The books we read will inform and inspire the books we’ll write, and there’s a lot we can learn from the authors who have gone before us.

If you’re not well-read, it will show in your writing. More than once, I’ve reviewed written work and asked the author, “Do you read much?” Almost always, the answer is exactly what I guessed. If the writing flows effortlessly, the writer reads a lot. If the writing is jagged, confusing, and amateurish, then the writer is not a big reader.

Can you imagine a musician who never listens to music? A film director who doesn’t watch movies? These are the arts. You’re in it because you love it, with fierce passion. You’re going to need that passion if you want to get anywhere, and you’re going to have to be immersed in the art to which you aspire. For writers, that means reading. Lots and lots of reading.

And if you read voraciously, you’ll reap the benefits:

There are many more writerly perks that come from reading. Can you think of any to add?

Writers Write

It goes without saying, yet it has to be said again and again: If you want to be a writer, you must write. But how much must you write?

According to neurologist Daniel Levitin, to become a true master at anything, one must put in 10,000 hours:

“In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years… No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery. “ – Daniel Levitin

Allow me to repeat the time it takes: 10,000 hours — three hours per day (or 20 hours per week) for ten years. That’s to become a master writer. Maybe you just want to be a published writer. In either case, you’re going to have to do a whole lot of writing. Take a few minutes today to think about how many hours you’ve spent writing (or reading, or both). A few hundred? A few thousand? Maybe you’re halfway there. Maybe you’ve passed the finish line and just need to start putting your work out there.

There’s no point sitting around daydreaming about becoming a writer, thinking someday I’ll write that novel. Someday is here. Someday was yesterday. It’s today. And it’s tomorrow. Someday is right now. So start writing — today and every day.

Learn from the Masters

Stephen King is an accomplished writer. He has sold over 350 million copies of his novels and short stories. Many of his works have been adapted for film and television, including Carrie , Cujo , The Green Mile , and “ The Body ,” (which was made into the popular film Stand By Me ) [aff links] . Mr. King has won numerous awards and received much critical acclaim. The sheer volume of his output is astounding. His success is vast, perhaps unparalleled. In fact, he’s one of the most successful writers of all time — perhaps the most successful.

Stephen King is exactly the kind of writer from whom the rest of us need to learn. Not just because he’s published (and published a lot), but also because his fans adore him, Hollywood loves him (writers make big bucks when they sell film rights), and of course, there are all those awards and all that acclaim. But most importantly, Stephen King succeeded in doing what the rest of us writers strive to do — he makes a living as a writer.

Guess what writing tips Stephen King offers the rest of us? (Hint: watch the video below to find out).

Other Writing Tips

Like I said, I collect writing tips. I have a whole bunch of them clanking around inside my head. Some have been vital; others I could have done without. I will keep collecting these tips and sharing them with you, but none of them will be as powerful as read and write .

So keep taking notes. Look for new ways to get inspired, fresh approaches to language and story. Jot down all your favorite writing tips and tricks in your journal. Use the ones that feel right and make your writing better.

But if you don’t do anything else, keep reading and writing.

Do you read every day? How often do you write? What other writing tips have been useful to you? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

10 Core Practices for Better Writing



I try to read anything everything that interest me.I read books,too.But, I try to build my vocabulary,and stimulate my mind from reading. Also I do sometimes have my creative juices flowing to write.The problem is, when I think about writing something,I’m not near a pen and paper to write anything down. Now,My main focus is trying to get a unfinished manuscript finished even thought it’s been sitting dormant for two years,now. I thought if I would write a short story book,and put it out there,just to see where I’m at. How often do I read ?Just about every day,and a book usually take me about a week or two to finish depending on if it’s a good book or not.And as far as writing is concern I read more than I write,I don’t know if procrastination or something else with my writing.

Melissa Donovan

One of the most common pieces of advice for writers is this: carry a notebook with you at all times. You can also use your smart phone or a tablet to write when you’re on the go. That way you won’t lose ideas, and if you’re struck with inspiration, you’ll have writing tools handy. I keep a small notebook in my purse (and other locations, like my nightstand). I think a smart phone is one of the best tools for writers. I have a Kindle app and several text apps plus a voice recording app on mine and I’ve made good use of all of them. I probably don’t read enough right now. I have too many active writing projects and they are taking time away from my reading, but things will slow down soon and I’ll be able to get back to my massive to-read pile.

Fiona Ingram

Help another author out in your reading by reviewing books and putting those reviews on book sites. I have learned a lot by reviewing other writers’ works and seeing what I should or should not do. It’s great experience.

Yes, one of the greatest things you can do for an author whose work you’ve enjoyed is to leave a positive review on Amazon or Goodreads!

Shauna Viele

Ah, there’s the conflict: how to reconcile my 12-hour dayshift job that pays the bills, the housework on days off, appointments, and needs of offspring with the writing life. I love to read, but then that takes up what spare time I have for my writing. Writing itself is a full-time job, and I don’t function very well on 2 hours sleep. (Yes, that has happened when I’ve been working on projects.) It definitely helps to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I just purchased Stephen King’s book “On Writing” but I have 2 other books in line first that I need to finish. Maybe. I may also go back to them and read his first. And then there’s those scrapbook pages I need to finish… I think the main problem is, I need to establish DISCIPLINE in my life! Don’t think even Mr. King got published without that first.

A twelve-hour day shift is pretty long! I can see how it would be hard to get to reading and writing with a schedule like that. You mentioned scrapbooking…I scrapbooked for a while, but I eventually decided that I didn’t have time to scrapbook, play guitar, draw, read, and write. I ended up doing things in phases. I would scrapbook for a few months (while my music and writing suffered from lack of practice), and then I would play guitar for a few months (while everything else suffered)…on and on it went.

I finally realized I had too many hobbies, and I couldn’t give any of them the attention they needed to elevate them into my profession or livelihood. I made a decision to pursue writing and pretty much dropped everything else, at least for now. I might revisit my old hobbies between big writing projects. Earlier this year, I made a scrapbook for my mom (a printed one via Shutterfly) and when I have time for a short, creative break, I do a little drawing. But I definitely give reading and writing top priority. If I don’t have time for those activities, then I don’t have time for the others.

I’m not suggesting you give up scrapbooking — I’m just saying that if you’re really crunched for time, maybe prioritizing would help. On the other hand, if these are all hobbies and you’re not trying to turn any of them into a career, then I say just do what you want when you want.

Paul Atreides

I read quite a bit and it’s an eclectic bunch of books. I’ve discovered I even enjoy YA; what a surprise that happened to be! An average novel will take me two or three days, squeezing it in anytime I can throughout my day.

I also write every day. I discovered that writing doesn’t necessarily have to be working on a novel, short story, or play. Writing an email or a blog post helps to enhance my skills as much as creative writing. My monthly column ends up being a well-spring of an education on research, proofreading, editing, and tightening (in particular) to meet the maximum word count before submitting to my publisher.

My favorite writing quote is from Maralys Wills: Damn the rejections, keep writing and keep submitting.

You never know when you might strike the string of words that resonates with an agent or publisher.

I think writing emails is worthwhile, especially if we’re giving the writing due diligence, but I don’t think it’s quite the same as doing our creative writing. I write almost every day too, mostly blogging and copywriting, but I don’t think it’s doing anything for my fiction or poetry writing skills, so I need to carve out some time to work on story and poems each day. Submitting is good!

Johnathan Ausgeber

I’m not sure this is the forum to say this, but at the present time, I only write poetry, not prose.

It would be great for me if there were more writing tips about poetry.

There’s a whole section on poetry here at Writing Forward. Actually, there are a few places here you can explore:

Poetry Writing Poetry Writing Poetry Exercises Poetry Exercises Poetry Prompts Poetry Prompts

Lucinda E Clarke

I read every day – have done for the last 70+ years. I always have a book with me. I get through about 3-4 a week in every spare moment. I can only write about 2 a year though.

That’s a lot of reading and writing!

Pete Springer

As someone who is still relatively new to blogging/writing, I so appreciate your posts because they are articulate, and I always learn a thing or two.

Thanks! I’m glad you find the content here helpful.


Reading a lot is sound advice. I try to do that, but it’s hard for me to branch out of my favorite genres, like historical fiction. Forcing myself to read something I normally wouldn’t is also a good way to stretch myself.

I agree. One way I’ve found to get some less-enticing reading into my schedule is with audio books. Also, reading in smaller chunks can be a good way to go. Good luck!

Raymond Walker

Luckily, I am a reader anyway. Most who suffer from Insomnia get through prodigious numbers of books. I did notice some like Juliann who tend to read in preferred genres. I once was the same and someone suggested to me, every fifth book try something different. Sometimes you struggle through that book hoping for it to finish so you can get back to something you enjoy but sometimes you will find that you love the book and have found a new Genre to read (and perhaps to write in). I once read Sci-fi and fantasy exclusively. Now, historical fiction, the classics (mainly Greek and roman literature) detective novels, horror, romance. It is amazing what you will like if you only try. Read and write. Sound advice.

I’ve been lucky because I like a lot of genres in fiction. I think what I really love is simply a great story. It’s non-fiction where I have a harder time staying interested, although some non-fiction works are certainly riveting. It’s occurred to me that historical is similar to sci-fi and fantasy in that it takes us to a completely different world. Happy reading!

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100 Tips to Help You Become a Better Author

Are you looking for ways to improve your writing game? Perhaps you’d like to develop stronger storytelling skills or you need advice on how to push your author marketing to the next level. You’ve come to the right place. On this list, we’re sharing 100 top tips to help you become a fine writer in general and a better author specifically.

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1. Top Tips for Being More Productive as a Writer

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