Writing

The Ultimate Guide To Writing A Novel

Whether it’s your first time or your tenth, here are some things to keep in mind as you write that novel.

This isn’t an ultimate guide by any means. Just some bad advice from an aspiring writer.

  • Take it word by word. Don’t worry about the 10,000th word or the 100,000th word. Think about the next one.
  • Edit later. Writing is hard enough as it is. Stop making the creative process harder for yourself. Besides, you can always fix your mistakes later.
  • Use good tools. If you prefer pen and paper, pick something that writes well. If you prefer typing, choose the word processor you like best. You don’t have to break the bank, but your tool needs to do its job.
  • Write the scene you want. Feel free to jump around from the beginning to the ending to the middle.
  • Enjoy yourself. Play your favourite songs. Have a drink nearby. Grab a snack or ten.
  • Live a little. Actually, live a lot. Go outside. Experience the world so you’re able to tell rich stories. You can’t shut yourself inside all day and night.
  • Have good posture. Your future self will thank you.
  • Keep your mind open. Don’t shoot down your ideas right away. Sometimes the craziest idea turns out better than you could ever imagine.
  • Challenge yourself. You’re capable of accomplishing far more than you give yourself credit for.
Blogging

10 Blogging Tips For Beginner Bloggers

  1. Do listen. Don’t follow. You can learn a lot by listening to other people. But that doesn’t mean you should be a blind follower.
  2. Trust the process. No one is an overnight success. Besides, there’s no definite end to your journey as a blogger.
  3. Be real. Lying is exhausting. At any given time, you should feel free to express your opinions.
  4. Never stop experimenting. Step outside of your comfort zone. Why would you want to do the same thing day in and day out?
  5. Have fun. If you aren’t, what’s the point? Blog about what you love.
  6. Always take care of yourself. Your health and happiness come first.
  7. Give back. As much as you can. You’re not on an island by yourself. Reach out to other bloggers. You don’t have to do this alone. We’re all in the same boat.
  8. Stay patient. Sooner or later, all your labour will pay off.
  9. Focus on the positives. Small wins are worth celebrating. When you’re struggling, remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
  10. Just blog. Blogging is what you make it.
Writing

How To Write Every Day

Because I know all about writing every day…

Invest in expensive stationery. So you’re excited to use new pens. Then again, maybe it’s better to invest in nice but not too nice writing utensils. That way you won’t go broke replacing them. At the very least, write with something that isn’t frustrating to use.

Invest in locks. You can lock all the doors and windows. Anything to stop family members from barging in and invading your personal space. Just lock yourself away. Don’t be accessible to anybody until you emerge from you den.

Invest in noise cancelling headphones. For all those times you can’t control your environment. Perfect if you work at a coffee shop or write on the train but still prefer some silence. Listening to a baby’s cries piercing your eardrums is not conducive to productivity.

Invest in mugs. There’s nothing more annoying than having to get up and refill when you’re in the middle of a scene.

Invest in drinks. Choose whatever you prefer. Water. Coffee. Tears. Avoid beverages you despise to make your writing experience more enjoyable.

Invest in snacks. Snacking and writing go hand in hand. Besides, working while hungry isn’t a good idea in theory or in practice.

Invest in PJs. Are you going to do most of your writing in a suit or skirt? At the minimum, comfortable clothes are a must.

Invest in a bed. Ideally, buy a big one that practically calls your name at night.

Invest in books. When you’re not writing, you’re reading. Stories inspire stories.

Invest in yourself. You could take a class in writing or attend a conference on editing. Be the best writer you can be.

Invest in your future. Take care of yourself today so you can do better tomorrow. Eat. Exercise. Sleep. Live like a normal human being. You’re not some superhuman who can skip out on basic survival needs.

Writing every day is easy, said no one ever.

Writing

How To Write Under Time Pressure

Writing is hard enough as it is without the added pressure of having a limited amount of time.

Budgeting time takes on a greater significance when you only have a few hours to write too many essays.

I’ve extracted tips from my tired brain about writing under pressure:

  • Write fast but not too fast. This goes for both handwriting and typing.
  • Production not perfection. Don’t strive to be perfect. Do strive to be done.
  • Be concise, clear. Try to know what you’re writing about to avoid beating around the bush.
  • Prepare accordingly. There’s nothing like a simulation of the real thing. Studying and reviewing is good. Replicating the test conditions as closely as possible is great.
  • Don’t forget to breathe. Like the protagonist in many YA novels, let out that breath you didn’t know you were holding.
  • Try not to overthink. Most teachers aren’t trying to trick you.
  • Just write something. Part marks are better than no marks at all. Get an idea down. It may lead to other ideas.
  • Make connections. Concepts often interconnect. Draw out similarities and differences. Compare or contrast. Brainstorm with a mind map. Outline in a way that work for you.
  • Write until you have nothing else to say. Stick with what you know when possible. Talking about what you don’t know makes your life harder.
  • Use the time given. There’s no reason to stop writing thirty minutes into a three hour exam.
  • Take care of any business beforehand. That way, you’re in a good place physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.
  • Eat and drink beforehand. A hydrated body beats a hungry one.
  • Move on. Especially when you’re stumped. Tackle the next question. You can always come back to a problem later.
  • Play to your strengths. Downplay your weaknesses.
  • Answer what’s asked. Ideally, you do this right off the bat.

If nothing else, remember writing under time pressure is a skill you can cultivate.

School · Writing

Tips For Academic Writing

Blog posts are the only things I know how to write, but even that is questionable. It depends who you ask.

So whenever I have to write for academia, you can imagine the ensuing panic. And if you can’t, I’ll try to describe it.

Never mind, I can’t.

Safe to say I’m no expert when it comes to writing research papers or literary essays. But somehow I’ve gotten by.

How? I have no idea.

Do I have any business giving advice on writing? Nope. Will that stop me? Never.

Follow instructions. Follow rules. Follow whatever your professor says.

I hate following with a passion. But I’ll do whatever it takes to pass. Academic writing will never be as kind to you as creative writing is.

If you’re ever unsure about a fact, double check.

When you’re unsure of the meaning of a word, look it up. It’s always better to err on the side of caution. Always.

When in doubt, cut it out.

Try to delete anything you don’t need. It’s hard to detect sometimes, especially if you’re editing your own writing. But you’ll thank yourself later. Besides, everyone is better off without unnecessary adverbs. Seriously, your lovely teacher will totally understand that your really amazingly awesome point is very important.

Know your weaknesses.

Also, try to learn the words you fall back on as a crutch. You know what words I’m talking about. In elementary, my teachers pointed out my love for the word “then.” Then this happened. Then I did that. Then you get the idea. Now for some reason, I have a mildly unhealthy attraction to the word “that”. It’s more obvious in my essay writing when I’m not careful. Using the same words again and again becomes redundant. If you use them too much, the word loses power. After all, not every sentence needs to begin with “then” followed by “that.”

Even if you follow nothing else I’ve said, hopefully you’re able to do this:

Write about something you care about, something you’re passionate for.

It doesn’t have to be a topic you know like the back of your hand either. That’s why research exists. I realize students don’t always get a say in the matter. Still, finding an interesting subject that makes you want to write is half the battle.

Writing

10 Tips For Surviving Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s upon us. That time of the year where the most ambitious of writers try to write a lot of words in a short amount of time.

Here’s to your survival during Camp NaNoWriMo. May you come out of July with a terrible first draft.

  1. Do not research. You could have researched before. You can always do so after. It doesn’t matter. Your priority during Camp should be writing as many words as you can. Not researching how to bury a body. 
  2. Do save your work everywhere. Make multiple copies and drafts of your novel, so you can sleep easier at night.
  3. Do not procrastinate. Easier said than done. It helps a lot. Writing 1,667 words in 24 hours is much easier than writing 50,000 words in 1 day. 
  4. Do sit in your chair and pound keys. Try to stay seated until you hit a goal you’ve set for yourself.
  5. Do not read everything in sight. You can pick up that awesome book once you’ve hit your word count for each day.
  6. Do tell people you’re busy writing a bestseller. They’ll hold you accountable. They might even ask to read it.
  7. Do not edit. Don’t do it.
  8. Do reward yourself handsomely. Exercise. Sleep well. Eat good food. But treat myself. 
  9. Do not waste your precious writing time. It’s precious. Cherish it. 
  10. Do have fun. Make writing fun again.

See you in August. Feel free to wave your manuscript in the air and scream your victory at the top of a mountain.

Writing

Tips For Writing The First Draft

First drafts suck. But they have to exist in order to be bad. Still, a terrible first draft is better than a non-existent one any day of the week.

Here are my tips for tackling them.

  • Come up with a plan.
  • Know your purpose.
  • Prioritize your writing time.
  • Write first.
  • Edit later.
  • Silence your inner editor.
  • Make and meet deadlines.
  • Set goals, especially small ones.
  • Take enough breaks.
  • Have incentives.
  • Treat yourself to rewards. 
  • Rest, relax, recharge.
  • Continue to live your life.
  • Surround yourself with support.

Go forth and write that messy first draft. You can always make it better after you finish telling your initial story. 

Editing

9 Editing Tips And Techniques

9-editing-tips-and-techniques