Over the years, I've managed to come across great books as well as teachers that would teach me valuable lessons in writing. Although I've managed to take poetic license with quite a bit of my work, their wisdom meant a great deal to me & actually has helped me tremendously through the years whenever I've composed any piece of writing. Although there is always something new to be learned in the world of the creative arts, there are some common elements I believe which stand the test of time.
Although I do not consider my column to be a list of guidelines or rules per se, I do believe these ARE splendid recommendations for anyone interested in writing for personal enrichment or even those that may have publication in mind. While my list will not be complete or inclusive of all helpful hints, hopefully you will find what you need here to be successful in your endeavors. Best of luck to you!
1. Know Your Voice-From the moment you were born, you've had this inner creativity which courses through your veins. It's time to sound off & let everyone hear this booming voice of yours. Most importantly, understand your style(s) of writing & what you intend to convey. First, hear the conviction in your voice & then project this energy into your work. If you feel strongly about something, then by all means share it! Believe it or not, someone else out there will be glad you did. Know that you will have an audience if you aren't afraid of your voice.
2. Just Write-I think most people call this free writing & there is certainly nothing wrong with that. You can always go back in & cross every I or dot every T later on. Don't worry about the grammatical errors nor spelling as these are merely cosmetic errors & can easily be remedied at any given time. When you feel the need the express something, jot it down as I can almost guarantee that you'll not have this burst of creative energy later on. Carry around a pad if you must & make notes for yourself on things that interest you or things that you would like to research. Gather your tools & just write.
3. Intended Audience-Keep in mind who you're audience is & what they will be looking for when they read your work. Perhaps make a list of the questions they will have for you & be prepared to have some answers readily available. Although it's virtually impossible to think of every angle you're readers will take when deciphering your piece of literature, you should have at least a basic idea of what discussion questions will arise & how you will address them. Your audience should be fully aware of your intentions & will be quick to judge just how well you executed your project when the work is submitted for public access.
4. Give Specifics-Consider yourself a subject matter expert if you will. Be sure to give your readers enough information about your topic so that they can make solid decisions about the product or service you are reviewing. Think about the discussions you have with friends regarding new products or items which you fancy. You can be passionate about your idea but the idea should still speak for itself. If you give detailed descriptions, people can decide whether or not they are interested in your idea or product based upon the actual information provided.
5. Sweet & Simple-Don't beat a dead horse. Descriptions of anything can be exhausting to your readers. I, personally, hate reading novels that seem to display nothing but text-heavy descriptions which seem to be perfectly irrelevant to the plot development or overall story. Who wants to sit back during their free time only to read three pages on all the colors in someones' wardrobe? Sometimes less is more. Make your point but don't beat a dead horse. Your audience will thank you.
6. Write What You Know-Mark Twain said it best when he advised that we should write about what we know. I can't say it any better myself. You are more likely to describe something well if you are cognizant of how it works in the grand scheme of things. If you are feeling passionate about something, you will convey this passion & want to make it sound appealing to those who may not be familiar. Naturally, I find it extremely challenging & frighteningly difficult when tackling material that goes way beyond the scope of my expertise. If you are able to share factual information with others, you are truly a source that readers can rely on time after time.
7. Don't Be Afraid To Share-Sometimes we can all be our own worst critic. Perhaps our own evaluations are either too harsh or not nearly critical enough when critiquing our rough drafts. Even worse, a critic can often be in love with their own voice & this could jeopardize a potentially excellent piece of writing. We don't want to come across too smug, do we? May I suggest something? Have a friend or close family member read these rough drafts for you & then wait for their earnest opinion. You'd be surprised how much insight they could lend to your projects & how much you will benefit from their wisdom. Although time may be of the essence, it never hurts to let a second or third pair of eyes glance at your work.
8. Universal Appeal-Often, our writings seem to be a bit cold or indifferent towards our subjects which can be a definite turn off to our potential readers. When writing anything, I cannot stress enough to project your personal touch & give your audience that universal appeal. Blogs that revolve around the usual suspects such as family, friendship, & finding oneself through soul searching are usually enlightening & entertaining for the most part. Any timeless ideas or topics conveyed in your writing palette are great tools when it comes to grabbing your reader's undivided attention.
9. Don't Fear Rejection-Contrary to what most believe, rejection is actually quite good. Don't take criticism too personally & be open to all kinds of feedback whenever you receive it. A wise man knows when to speak but he should also know when to listen. Keep in mind the real reason for your blog, column, etc. & don't lose sight of your goals. You are writing because you feel the inevitable need to share your wealth of knowledge. People will respect your vision if you stand your ground & continue to plug away at what you do best.
10. Pictures-Painting a picture with words can be all kinds of fun when you're writing. Have a visual representation of your topic in front of you while you construct your piece of writing. This will help you concentrate & keep your thoughts on track. It's very easy to become sidetracked when you are in the process of jotting things down. I recommend silencing your phone & turning off all forms of noise if at all possible. I can't begin to tell the number of times I'm distracted by the things around me through the course of a single day.
Above all, keep writing! Once you submit your finished product for public access, be well on your way to composing something else. In fact, have a rough outline of your very next subject before you submit the last finished project. In order to be a prolific writer, always have plenty of subjects to write about on hand & you will be successful in all that you do.
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Mar 27, 2010 9:45 PM
|All great advice, Brian! When I teach college writing, I mention a lot of these things-- with some tweaks, of course. For example, numbers 4 and 10 are generally grouped together and called "show, don't tell."|
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Dissecting artwork be it trash cinema or tomorrow's cult classic wannabes & spreading the knowledge on how to distinguish the real from the reels. Exploring unchartered territories throughout history of film-making which have been overlooked & simply deserve a second chance.
If Pan met Apollo down with the sin, I would be amongst the angels who descended to Earth with great mission to seek newfound meaning & to explore great sinema. Brian was born in 1974 ofcourse on the NC/VA border & has been watching movies for as far back as he can remember. One should never forget a great movie nor pass up the chance to spread the word on a bad one.|
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