10 Writing Tips from the Masters

As the world becomes increasingly digital, writing becomes more important. This is especially true for non-writers. If you work in an office, the majority of your communications are made with text by email or IM. Whether you like it or not, your ability to exchange ideas, collaborate with others, and ultimately succeed, hinges on the ability to write effectively.

Here are 10 timeless tips to help you improve style and substance, straight from the pens of humanity’s finest authors.

1. Cut the boring parts

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

Unless you’re writing for personal reasons alone, you need to consider the attention of your readers. There’s no point is publishing content that isn’t useful, interesting, or both.

2. Eliminate unnecessary words

Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

I used to feel that using words like “really”, “actually”, or “extremely” made writing more forceful. It doesn’t. They only get in the way. Cut them and never look back.

3. Write with passion

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

It’s not hard to realize that unless you’re excited about your writing no one else will be.

4. Paint a picture

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

Simply stating something is fine, but when you need to capture attention, using similes, metaphors, and vivid imagery to paint a picture creates a powerful emotional response.

5. Keep it simple

Vigorous writing is concise. ~William Strunk Jr.

Maybe it was all those late nights, struggling to fill out mandatory 10 page papers, but many people seem to think that worthwhile writing is long and drawn out. It’s more difficult (and effective) to express yourself in the simplest possible manner.

6. Do it for love

Write without pay until somebody offers to pay. ~Mark Twain

When you’re just starting out it’s hard to decide where to begin. So don’t. Just start writing. A blog is a good place to start. The most valuable benefit is the feedback.

7. Learn to thrive on criticism

You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance. ~Ray Bradbury

Writing means putting yourself at the mercy of anonymous hecklers and shameless sycophants. Learn to make the most of the insults and distrust the praise.

8. Write all the time

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed. ~Ray BradburyThe way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything. ~John Irving

9. Write what you know … or what you want to know

If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul. ~Johann Wolfgang von GoetheLearn as much by writing as by reading. ~Lord Acton

Successful writing is all about trust and authority. It makes sense to write about your area of expertise. If you don’t have an expertise, reading and writing is the best way to develop one and put it on display.

10. Be unique and unpredictable

I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite. ~G.K. ChestertonConsistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. ~Oscar WildeZest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating by them. Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer’s make-up, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto. ~Ray Bradbury

Following what works will only get you so far. Experiment with new styles, even if it means taking criticism. Without moving forward, you’ll be left behind.

Related posts

100 Ways to Cope With Stress

Get up 15 minutes earlier – Prepare for the morning the night before – Avoid tight fitting clothes  – Avoid relying on chemical aids  – Set appointments ahead – Don’t rely on your memory … write it down – Practice preventive maintenance – Make duplicate keys – Say “no” more often – Set priorities in your life – Avoid negative people – Use time wisely – Simplify meal times – Always make copies of important papers – Anticipate your needs – Repair anything that doesn’t work properly – Ask for help with the jobs you dislike – Break large tasks into bite size portions – Look at problems as challenges – Look at challenges differently – Unclutter your life – Smile – Be prepared for rain – Tickle a baby – Pet a friendly dog/cat – Don’t know all the answers – Look for a silver lining – Say something nice to someone – Teach a kid to fly a kite – Walk in the rain – Schedule play time into every day – Take a bubble bath  – Be aware of the decisions you make  – Believe in yourself  – Stop saying negative things to yourself  – Visualize yourself winning  – Develop your sense of humor – Stop thinking tomorrow will be a better today – Have goals for yourself – Dance a jig – Say “hello” to a stranger – Ask a friend for a hug – Look up at the stars – Practice breathing slowly – Learn to whistle a tune – Read a poem – Listen to a symphony – Watch a ballet – Read a story curled up in bed – Do a brand new thing – Stop a bad habit – Buy yourself a flower  – Take time to small the flowers  – Find support from others  – Ask someone to be your “vent-partner” – Do it today – Work at being cheerful and optimistic  – Put safety first  – Do everything in moderation  – Pay attention to your appearance  – Strive for Excellence NOT perfection  – Stretch your limits a little each day – Look at a work of art – Hum a jingle – Maintain your weight – Plant a tree – Feed the birds – Practice grace under pressure – Stand up and stretch – Always have a plan “B” – Learn a new doodle – Memorize a joke – Be responsible for your feelings – Learn to meet your own needs – Become a better listener – Know your   limitations and let others know them, too – Tell someone to have a good day in pig Latin – Throw a paper airplane – Exercise every day – Learn the words to a new song – Get to work early – Clean out one closet – Play patty cake with a toddler – Go on a picnic – Take a different route to work – Leave work early (with permission) – Put air freshener in your car – Watch a movie and eat popcorn – Write a note to a far away friend – Go to a ball game and scream – Cook a meal and eat it by candlelight  – Recognize the importance of unconditional love – Remember that stress is an attitude – Keep a journal – Practice a monster smile – Remember you always have options – Have a support network of people, places and things  – Quit trying to fix other people – Get enough sleep – Talk less and listen more – Freely praise other people – PS: Relax, take each day at a time…you have the rest of your life to live!

Related posts

Love Is An Action Word

Sometimes, when we are in relationships, it is easy to become complacent and “let things be.” We start to really let our guards down (which is great!) but that can also mean becoming a bit lazy within the relationship. Maybe we don’t text each other during the day as much. Maybe we don’t ask if they want us to pick them up dinner on the way home from work or school. Maybe we throw our clothes all over the bedroom and shrug when they can’t find the bed.

Whatever our reasons are for getting too comfortable, it is important to be aware of the fact that showing each other respect and love is a daily ritual, one that never gets old. Here are some easy ways to show the one you care about that you actually care about them.

Compliment Your Lover

Sounds simple, right? But how often do you actually do this? It is much easier to make fun of their bed head or laugh at their expense than it is to give the one we care about the most some praise and positive reinforcement. The next time you see your partner do something nice, or look nice or say something sweet, recognize it and let them know that you are lucky to be with someone as awesome as they are. A little positivity can brighten up someone’s day exponentially!

Leave Them a Love Note

No, I don’t mean a text message or any other form of electronic communication. I mean a real note. Put it inside their wallet, in their purse, on the bathroom mirror or somewhere else where they are sure to see it. There is nothing as sweet or as wonderful as a handwritten love note.

Make Space

Yes, we are all very busy. Too busy, sometimes, to take note that maybe our partner is feeling a little neglected. It is easy to take someone you care about for granted, especially if the relationship is easy-going. But, when we clear a day or even a few hours just for them, just to show them that they are a priority and that they do matter…wow…can you imagine the positive impact you will have on your love? Amazing!

Make Love More Often

Sounds like a no-brainer, but when was the last time you actually made love? Not “had sex” but truly had an intimate experience with one another? I am not even talking about intercourse (although there is nothing wrong with that!) I am talking about two souls connecting on a physical, spiritual and emotional level. Maybe having a deep discussing while in bed together, or kissing and caressing all night long isn’t something you normally do, but why not give it a try? Reconnecting on a deeper level will increase your intimacy.

Be a Better Listener

It is easy to passively listen to your partner speak, but have you tried to be more active? Active listeners are more engaged with their partner and will make their significant other feel as though they are being heard. When one is being heard, there is a respect and trust that forms, which will only deepen your bond.

Related posts