Ten Writing Tips ( Day 8 )

Pen and paper, illustration for post on Ten Writing Tips.
A Clean Sheet

Day 8 of my 500 Words Challenge

” Make a List”

I’m reading my email from Jeff Goins and I do a double take. A list? That’s all he wants today? And me on a roll with all that creative writing? I’m joking, of course. It is such a relief to wind down the dial a bit for today. Gives my brain a chance to paddle along the ocean edge. The big waves are fun, but you can’t keep that pace up constantly, you just might get rolled over.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share these ten writing tips with you. Stuff that I’ve learned during my six-month dive into writing, mostly from others, but some from sheer persistence. If these help someone else, all the better.


Ten Writing tips

  1. Write for Yourself. When I was struggling with confidence at the beginning, an established author on Medium shared this advice with me. Forget about Facebook likes, Twitter retweets or claps on Medium. Try to ignore putdowns from friends or family, not everyone will understand your passion. Just focus on the story you are trying to set free.
  2. Be Honest. There’s not much point otherwise, is there? Just write from the heart. That way you will develop your own, unique voice and your story will sound authentic.
  3. Write what you Know. It’s always easier to write about familiar things, especially ones you are passionate about, and it will probably help the story flow more easily. But if your passion lies elsewhere, that’s okay too. It just means a lot more research.
  4. Keep a Notebook. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given. And size matters here! I find the smaller, hardback journals the best. They seem more enticing than a big, bleak A4 pad. But, at the end of the day, it’s whatever works best for you.
  5. Set up a schedule. Jeff suggests getting up earlier and to start writing first thing in the morning. I’ve tried it, but I’m still on the fence on this one. It’s important to have some kind of daily writing schedule though, if only to develop better focus and discipline. Just a different time might suit your lifestyle better?
  6. Find a workflow that suits you. It could be writing everything longhand, or just using your PC. Or perhaps working from notes?  I  usually write out notes/ ideas first in order to get in the right mindset. Next, I write the first draft on the computer, often ignoring the notes. The last step is editing, very important. It took a while to find which system worked best for me.
  7. Set realistic goals. Goals can be great for focusing the mind, they can help sort out all the different ideas whirling around in your head. But, like every rule, they are there to be broken. I had to abandon my January Goals when I took on the 500 Words Challenge, but I think it was worth it.
  8. Read, read, read. There’s nothing better for improving your writing skills than reading. If you want to write short stories, read them. The same applies to other genres like poetry. But most of all, read for pleasure. There are many books out there on writing development, but I’m not really that familiar with them. ( yet ).
  9. Write what you would Enjoy Reading. This was a tip I found in “On Writing” by Eudora Welty, the only skills book I own. This advice made me think a lot more about what and how I was writing. Would I read this? It was an eye-opener for me.
  10. Keep a Balance. It can be difficult to keep the balance right between writing and everyday life. This is advice I need to work  at because I tend to throw myself hard into any new venture. Maybe worth  thinking about as a goal for next time?


Ten Writing Tips, Day 8 of 500 Words  31 Day Challenge by Jeff Goins

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash




  • Allison

    Bernie, are you familiar with Anne Lamott? She is one of favorite authors who writes about writing — she’s so funny but also very poignant. And I’m finding #10 my biggest struggle right now because I have so much passion and energy for writing that I just want to do it all day long….but children and teaching and all the mundane ordinaries of life call.

    • admin

      Thanks so much for dropping by, Allison! No, I’m not familiar with Annd Lamott, but she sounds like someone whose work I should be reading…Thank you for the tip.
      Balancing writing with real life issues can be challenging. I didn’t do much of it when my children were younger, only poems really. Sometimes I wish I had tried harder!

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