Evolving Writing Times
It started some thirty-plus years ago.
A middle school day. Was it a maths class? Biology? Economy?
One thing is certain, I was writing when I should have listened. Writing always has been my thing. Reading and writing.
I was writing before going to bed, on the way to school, and sometimes at recess. With a blue pen, in plain school notebooks. Out of these many many words, not a lot turned into interesting stories. A lot less turned into good stories.
Often, I would hit a need-to-research-this block. A week could go by before I had time to go to the library to look it up.
Since the explosion of modern blogging (author Amanda Zantal-Wiener wrote a great post about the history of blogs, that’s how I sound knowledgeable right here) when in the 2010s, research-wise anyway, our writer’s life got a grand lot easier.
Writing tips-wise, however, that’s another story. No pun intended!
Are Writing Tips Still Worth Try?
Sharing writing tips is a pretty common thing among legendary authors such as Stephen King, Anne Lamott, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Judy Bloom… and among several less-known authors and aspiring authors (like your truly) alike.
In a very modest way, you are sure to find on this blog several posts about this very topic, and some articles about tested writing tips from different authors.
At the end of the day, yes, the only real way to get better at writing, the only real way to finish a story is to: a) stay put and b) write.
Still, today, writing, in more than one way, is quite different than it used to be. Writing novels is different, writing in-depth articles is different, and even writing poetry is different.
After the event of mass media, there came the Internet. Then blogging was created, followed by YouTube and Socials Media. Now, with the democratization of audiobooks and the multiplication of podcasts, some of which books are based from (thinking here about the book written from the fabulous Artcurious podcast, created and hosted by Jennifer Dasal; worth giving it a try, promise!).
All those technological innovations changed the way we think about writing.
It changed the intrinsic worth the vast majority gives to the written word.
Since the writing codes are changing rapidly, even in the writing of novels side of it, writing tips have become good tools to help us sort things out.
Old Fashion Writing Tips
This blog is about sharing my humble adventures writing novels and trying to make you laugh along the way, fellow writers.
I like to share what I’ve learned, hoping it will be somewhat useful.
Writing tips will always be in style since there’s always something to try or to learn.
Some of these old fashion writing tips have been part of my work for a long time. Others, I integrated more recently.
What I’m trying to get at is that not every writing tip fits every writer. It depends on what we write, whom we write for, and where we are in our creators’ journey.
Some you take, some you leave. I just hope it will help some of you, fellow writers, in your writing endeavours!
- Read (and pastiche)
Who was it? Astérix, Elizabeth, The X-Men, Nancy Drew, Bilbo?
Who write it? Agatha Christie, Louisa May Alcott, Judy Bloom, C. S. Lewis
For many authors who have been dreaming of writing novels, there’s a book. One book that sparked their imagination and set them off to dream about making other readers as intensely overrun by happiness.
- Spy (and take notes)
That one followed me since University. Spy, said my creative writing teacher, a great author who was still actively publishing at the time, in English and French.
Spy when taking the bus, or taking a walk, listen to what people say, look at them, and observe how they walk, how they dress, and how they carry themselves.
Take a note of that crazy laughter, the shape of that nose, of the way that stranger was ready to fall asleep on your shoulder before the metro stopped and the stranger got up in a startle before fleeing through the doors.
I follow this advice to this day. I’m not saying every writer’s block can be solved by a spying session in the neighbourhood, but it sometimes helps…
- Write (and again and again)
Another teacher from University, a wonderful playwriter, got to me with this one.
In French, it goes like this: Mille fois sur le métier remettez votre ouvrage.
A thousand times you’ll get back to what you wrote and rewrite, revise, rewrite again.
Of course, we have to put an end to it at some point. This leads to the next writing tip.
- Find beta-alpha readers and critics
We need eyes on our works. For one thing, as much as we like to think we are, our writing, story pace, etc… is far from being on the spot every single time.
- Set realistic goals (and often revise them)
Realistic writing goals AND self-care goals ! No matter how old you are or what your day job is, your taking care of yourself means taking care of your writing dreams (and your loved ones. Bonus !).
- Schedule Time to Write and Stick to It
A classic. So simple.
Then… let’s do it !!!