1. Sit down, and write.
2. Don’t judge, just write.
3. Be you, whatever that looks like today, and write.
Those were the three most important keys that liberated me as a writer. In a span of 3 weeks, while watching Ted Talks and chatting with other writers, I heard different versions of that advice.
You have to understand that English is my second language. My spelling and grammar is terrible. I have the perfect excuse not to write.
Neither did I not go to school for writting.
(I told you about my bad grammar!)
I was not brought up around writers. I always enjoyed doing it but no one told me it could be my future.
And never did I imagine I could find such freedom through it.
Yet here I am. My favorite things to do are being with my family in Puerto Rico, eating good food with my wife, traveling to different nations, preaching to my friends (and enemies), watching Netflix and wrestling with my two boys.
But writing is the glue that brings them all together. It’s the joy that connects my other joys. And in a way, writing has empowered me to focus.
The book that gave me the best practical tips was Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark. It is literally 50 short chapters full of goodness, inspiration and fun.
I recommend you check it out.
And while you’re here, here’s a simple/great list from the guys at Writing Forward:
- Do it. Write.
- Read as much and as often as you can. Remember, every writer is a reader first.
- Keep a journal or notebook handy at all times so you can jot down all of your brilliant ideas. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure it’s loaded with a note-taking app. A voice-recording app also comes in handy for recording notes and ideas.
- Make sure you have a dictionary and thesaurus available whenever you are writing.
- Be observant. The people and activities that surround you will provide you with great inspiration for characters, plots, and themes.
- Invest in a few valuable resources starting with The Chicago Manual of Style and The Elements of Style.
- Grammar: learn the rules and then learn how to break them effectively.
- Stop procrastinating. Turn off the TV, disconnect from the Internet, tune out the rest of the world, sit down, and write.
- Read works by highly successful authors to learn what earns a loyal readership.
- Read works by the canonical authors so you understand what constitutes a respectable literary achievement.
- Join a writers’ group so you can gain support from the writing community and enjoy camaraderie in your craft.
- Create a space in your home especially for writing.
- Proofread everything at least three times before submitting your work for publication.
- Write every single day.
- Start a blog. Use it to talk about your own writing process, share your ideas and experiences, or publish your work to a reading audience.
- Subscribe to writing blogs on the Internet. Read them, participate, learn, share, and enjoy!
- Use writing exercises to improve your skills, strengthen your talent, and explore different genres, styles, and techniques.
- Let go of your inner editor. When you sit down to write a draft, refrain from proofreading until that draft is complete.
- Allow yourself to write poorly, to write a weak, uninteresting story or a boring, grammatically incorrect poem. You’ll never succeed if you don’t allow yourself a few failures along the way.
- Make it your business to understand grammar and language. Do you know a noun from a verb, a predicate from a preposition? Do you understand tense and verb agreement? You should.
- You are a writer so own it and say it out loud: “I am a writer.” Whether it’s a hobby or your profession, if you write, then you have the right to this title.
So what are you waiting for? Write, write, write, and then write some more. Forget everything else and just write.