Writing Tips. To Write is To Live
As a writer you have to be better every single day. You have to improve yourself, to master writing skill and to develop your talent. We share with our readers writing tips and recomendations that will help you to avoid mistakes in your writing career.
I found the idea of writing magical because it was communication over time and space that could be read by anybody in the future or a thousand miles away. To me to act of writing meant to inspire those who lacked motivation, motivate those who chased dreams, dream and conjure up new ideas for those who needed creativity, create for those who sought new ideas and information, and inform and entertain those who were interested in sharing their thoughts. I believe we are motivated to write primarily because we share, and sharing is spiritual because we give a piece of our hearts, minds, and souls to another human being thereby establishing a connection that helps us understand our place in the universe. Writing brings passion to our lives because we are able to not only relive joy but also put a smile on our readers’ faces on a cold rainy day. Writing helps us digest our heartaches and get our problems out on paper so that we can look at them from a distance and tell ourselves that the pain will be gone as soon as we dispose of the piece of paper with all those painful memories.
The most important aspect of writing is personal honesty; honesty not in the non-fictional sense, but honesty in the sense that we are true to ourselves when we put those words down. It is common that we write for others to read our work, but we may never know who actually picks up and reads it. We should never attempt to write something we think others will be fond of in the very literal sense. Our work is a matter of perception and not perfection; therefore we should always aim to perceive our work as a reflection of what we see as perfection. Another important aspect of writing is persevere creativity. Creativity does not always come in the form of revelations as a result of an apple falling from above. Some consider creativity an innate quality that only a blessed few possess, whereas I believe nothing is created out of the blue, out of pure luck. Every idea is a seed already planted in our subconscious mind – we must simply learn to cultivate it and access it even when the creative process does not come naturally. Persevere creativity is thus as much a matter of practice and hard work, as it is a matter of a natural revelation. The last important factor I consider important in writing is universal criticism. We must still be critical of our work because we are responsible for its creation. This means if we do write for others, we should ensure that there is a certain standard of communication functioning as a fundament to our message, given that our aim is to deliver the message to our readers.
In conclusion, writing is a complex, creative, and systematic activity that ought to be cultivated by most. Writing not only heals wounds, but it channels new ideas and enlightens us too. Regardless of whether we write for our eyes only or for others, we can write our own history that perhaps someone, someday, somewhere in another space and time will find and hopefully think of as a source of inspiration, motivation, creativity, information, entertainment, or a dream to share.
How to Clear Your Mind of Distractions to Write
When I sat down to write this article, I was really angry. Not about writing, of course, but about something that had been said to me just before I sat down. However, the writing needed to happen – how was I going to clear my mind of the distraction so I could focus on what needed to be done?
I know this dilemma is not unique to me. All writers face distractions, whether it’s angry conversations, loud children, or a stressful upcoming obligation. These things can make it impossible to focus on your writing, causing you to become even more stressed and distracted. Fortunately, there are some easy tips for clearing your mind of distractions so you can sit down and write. Here are eight that can make a big difference in your writing day.
Keep a Notebook Handy. Not your writing notebook, a separate notebook. Anytime a ‘reminder thought’ peeks in to distract you from your project, write down the reminder in the notebook. This will get it out of your head and allow you to focus on what you’re doing.
Keep a Diary. Everyone goes through hard times, and those times can be especially distracting for a writer. One easy solution is to keep a diary where you record your thoughts, concerns, worries, and possible solutions. When you put your concerns into a diary, they will weigh on your mind much less, allowing you to focus on writing.
Be Organized. Creative types often have a hallmark of being messy. Unfortunately, that can create a lot of distractions for a writer. Find ways to organize your office, your papers, and your daily life so that you can move smoothly through your day. This will help you avoid losing or forgetting things that later distract you from your writing.
Release Negativity. This is what I had to do before I could write this article. I was so upset that I called a friend to vent about what had happened. This was a carefully chosen friend, one that I knew would encourage me and help me move forward. Then, I mindfully chose to let go of my anger, because I knew it would only poison my attitude and ultimately my life. This allowed me to move forward with my writing.
Avoid Interruptions. As a writer, you must protect your creative time. Many people do not understand that writing is hard work, and will encroach on your time as though you were not busy. Learn to set boundaries and require that people respect them. Have certain times you cannot be disturbed, balanced by time you are social and available.
Just Breathe. Many times, the solution to a mind cluttered with distractions is to slow down and just breathe. Focus only on how your breath feels as it goes in and out. A little meditation may help also. This will clear the mind of distracting thoughts and give you a fresh pallet to start writing with.
Take a Break. Sometimes you’ve been pushing against that creative wall for way too long, and you need a break. Take some time to go for a walk, a bike ride, or just to talk to a friend. The mind is funny thing, and many times it will come up with a solution for your story while you are doing something completely unrelated. Take a break and give your mind a chance to rest. You’ll love the results!
Just Do It! This is one of the biggest hurdles for any writer. Sometimes you just have to sit down and WRITE! We use all kinds of delays and distractions to avoid working on difficult or unpleasant projects, when the truth is if we just started it wouldn’t be so bad. Once you have some writing momentum, you may even find yourself glad you just did it!
Writing can be really tough, especially when your mind is filled with distractions. With these eight easy tips, you’ll be able to clear your mind of distractions and actually get to your writing at hand. Enjoy your craft – write!
Tips for Participating in a Writing Contest:
Still, there is no such thing as too late when someone lays out detailed guidelines for you. You just take it and put into practice. The article is based on my experience from hosting contests and from participating in them. Please note these are not tips how to win a writing contest. They can only guide you in a right direction, help you avoid mistakes and make sure that you get the most out of this experience. And you do the rest!
Always adhere to rules and guidelines
It might be obvious, yet for many people it is not. Guidelines and rules are there for a reason. Read them, follow them, and make sure you don’t miss anything.
If it is a fiction contest, don’t submit your poems.
If there is a length limit, count your words. If we say in the rules we need stories of 101 words and less it means we want of 101 words and less. You can be assured I have tools that count words for me. Make sure you have tools, too.
If the rules state a particular theme, you can’t just ignore it.
If the deadline is today you can’t wait till tomorrow. Even one hour past deadline makes your entry ineligible.
If you are asked to send the submission in the body of the email, don’t send attachments.
The list can go on and on. Every contest has different guidelines and rules. You can’t assume they are all the same. Show respect to organizers, follow their rules.
A great number of entries we received this time are not proofread. At some point I wondered if the writer takes the contest seriously. It is important that your entry has no mistakes. Grammar, style, punctuation, spelling‑it all has to be perfect. I, for one, would not look twice at the entry that has obvious grammar flaws or even typing mistakes. In a way, it can be considered as showing disrespect‑to judges, to readers, to yourself as a writer. I can tolerate punctuation mistakes. I make them myself. A lot. Especially because punctuation is so much different in Russian and English. But I can assure you in any other contest your single misplaced comma might not be tolerated.
So, proofread, proofread, and… proofread. Ask someone to read it if you don’t trust yourself.
Pay attention to tenses
It should have been mentioned in the ‘proofread’ part but I felt a strong need to emphasize it. Don’t mix the past tense with the present tense. Somehow many people do. For me, this is the first indication that you do not really take writing seriously.
Don’t send your story/poem the moment you finished it
Just… don’t! Why? Refer to the ‘proofread’ part. Sometimes we get so much excited when we get something done. We feel our story is the best we have ever written. It is not. Well, maybe it is, or rather it has a potential to be but only after you proofread it, read it all over again, rewrite it, proofread again. Don’t be afraid to cut. If the phrase does not contribute to the story it shouldn’t be in it. Really. Just get rid of it. After your story is polished, send it.
Yes, it does. This is the first thing that grabs my attention if at all. Stories without a title are like orphans. There is so much you can say in the title – things that you can’t say in the story itself, hints that aren’t too obvious but smart nonetheless. The title matters even more if the story has a word limit. Make your title a part of your story/poem.
Imagine there are dozens if not hundreds or thousands participants. At least half of them have followed the guidelines. Half of those have carefully proofread and edited their submissions. It still leaves us with a great number of entries to compete against. You have to stand out. So be original. Show the judges something new, something they didn’t see coming. Make your story different. If I read it before I don’t want to read it again. If I can figure out how it ends then it’s probably not worth my time. It’s not worth your time, either.
Provide a strong opening
You only have one attempt to get a reader interested. Make your opening count. If it grabs my attention I will take time to read your story. Otherwise you can lose me in the very beginning no matter how great your plot or how beautiful your language is.
Write what you know, and Show, don’t tell
These are two best pieces of advice one can get. Just don’t misunderstand them.
When I say, ‘Write what you know,” I want you to express emotions you understand. Don’t write about jealousy if you have never felt it. Your idea of the emotion and the emotion itself are two different things. I understand that sometimes we have to write about things and/or feelings we only have a vague idea of. For example, you can’t possibly know what a parent who lost her child feels unless you were that parent (and I hope it is not/will never be the case.) In this case, read. Read books, stories, life experiences. Find this feeling, find the words. Don’t expect the reader to feel for your character if you don’t feel for it yourself.
Is there any software to write?
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