Tag Archives: writing tips

Writing tips: how to write good

Just typing that title is enough to make my left eye twitch uncontrollably. It physically pains me to edit this post and not change the title as I’m writing. I’m just going to have to ignore it for now. Forgive me for the click-bait title but I had to – in order to drive the point of this post across.

First off, let me start with a disclaimer.

I am not a professional writer by any means. I’ve had some formal training in my professional career for business writing. When it comes to creative writing, I think most of what I have learned is from reading a lot of books as a teen. Even now, I find my own writing style has been influenced by authors I read when I was a wee young lass.

I’m definitely not a WordPress expert either. I only just today realized we can center align headers. I feel stupid.

I’ve already touched on this subject a bit in a post I wrote earlier this week on how I got into writing. But I thought I would share a few things that I have to remind myself of, as I work on my first novel.

So, here are my tips on how to write well.

Decide what subjects you want to write about

For me, this is a constant struggle as the years go by with this blog. I’ve bounced around and hemmed and hawed over what content to put out. My interests are all over the map and it’s hard to focus on one niche. That’s just not me. It’s not how my brain works.

What interests you? Do you have hobbies? Are you a musician? Or an artist? Or maybe you just want to write about life stresses and connect with others who are going through something similar?

Do you like talking about the news or current events? Or are you more interested in debating politics? Are you a spiritual person? Are you a fitness expert or health advisor? What is your intent when writing?

Are you here just for entertainment?

Sometimes your writing style will influence what you want to write about. And sometimes you find that your writing style changes as you learn more about the craft.

(Insert clever Gladiator quote here about being entertained).

Choosing a writing style

This one came easily to me when I first started this blog. I decided early on back in 2019, that the tone would be relaxed and maybe even a little lazy. As I got more practice with WordPress, I got more confident about writing longer and more formal articles. In fact, you can probably see the difference from my first few months of blogging compared to now.

The four most commonly used writing styles are: persuasive, narrative, expository and descriptive. For bloggers like you and me, you might see more of a relaxed style of writing. These writings are referred to as personal and reflective.

In addition to writing styles, there are different categories that your writing can fall under. For instance, a lawyer or marketing professional might focus on business writing. A computer technician might focus on technical writing (same with engineers, architects, etc). A poet or author usually focuses on creative writing. And – you get the gist.

This post, for example, is an informative post to share ideas and knowledge with you from my own perspective. While I am using more formal language in this post, I prefer for my writings to be more relaxed. I’m here mostly for entertainment after all.

Decide what kind of writer you are by asking yourself these questions:

  • Are you a casual writer or a more serious writer?
  • Do you prefer to write daily diary posts, or do you want to focus on more technical articles?
  • What subjects do you want to write about?
  • Are you more of an author? Do you prefer writing short stories?

Once you decide on your writing style and subjects, the rest should come easily. Don’t stress early on when starting a new blog or writing project. Like any craft, becoming a good writer, takes time and practice.

I didn’t start off early in life being a professional musician. That came with forty years of experience and over ten years of professional classes. And after all of that, I still don’t consider myself to be an expert.

Write what you know

This is the most important piece of advice I can pass onto new authors. Knowledge is key here. My writing is often inspired by my own personal reflections and life experiences. Most of what you see here in this blog are my thoughts on current events or things that helped shape who I am today.

Sometimes I’ll use sites like Reddit for inspiration. If I’m stuck in a rut, or am looking for a trending topic to cover – I will head over to the popular subreddits and read some discussions until an interesting topic pops out at me. In fact, most of my toxic relationship articles were inspired by Reddit discussions.

In addition to writing about my own personal experiences, I will often draw upon what I learned in my twenty years career in office administration. I was able to work in a lot of different areas of the government until I went on disability leave in 2020. I’ve also studied music for most of my life and have a wealth of experiences and stories to pull from there.

I think when it comes to good writing, authors have a way of drawing their readers in because they write something that is relatable. This skill comes with knowing your target audience.

Knowing your target audience

This tip right here is a key principal in marketing for business. I’ve taken a few free online courses in marketing over the years and it really helped to promote various projects I’ve worked on.

Once you have determined your writing styles and have decided what subjects you want to write about – the next logical step is determining your target audience.

For example, if you’re running a mommy-parenting blog, you won’t want to target your blog to someone like me who is single and without kids. Sure, I might read the blog on occasion if I like the author. But I’m more inclined to read articles on books, cooking or health issues- those things that interest me.

Using the right titles to draw in the readers that you want is crucial. Organizing your posts into categories and using the right hashtags is also key in building your audience here on WordPress.

Do try and avoid click-bait titles like I used in this post. Click-bait titles just aggravate the reader. The same goes for hashtags. Even though I mentioned Gladiator somewhere in this post, I’m not going to use it as a hashtag – or am I?

Find your voice and use it well

This tip is a little harder for me to explain. I’m still trying to figure out my voice and I think it really is a life long journey. As you grow older and adapt to life changes, you may find that your interests change. Your perspective or outlook on life in general may change after a difficult period.

Some people may even grow tired or bored of their chosen careers and make a total switch later on in life. That right there, is something worth writing about. To me, I would consider that to be inspirational writing.

Grief, loss, mourning – these things have affected my moods over the years and it was one of the first subjects that I started writing about. In a way, this blog was cathartic for me. It helped me heal. The more I wrote about these subjects, the more I was able to let go the pain I felt.

Writing can be therapeutic. It’s why I love journaling so much. So, even if you don’t know what to say, or what to write – just start writing about how you’re feeling. Talk about your day.

Writing prompts

Did you do anything fun today? Did someone help you out in some way? Did you find something really funny? Or did something make you really sad? Did you create something that you want share with others? Or do you just need to vent about a bad day?

Writing starts with an idea. That’s all you need to find your voice.

I hope this helps you on your writing journey. We all started in the same place – the beginning.

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Let me know in the comments which kind of writer you are!

My response to “you’re such a gifted writer!” and how I became a writer

Reposting this again. I’m working on my book and about 40,000 words in…I forgot how much I enjoy writing fiction.

I’m going to try and write a little bit every day in addition to my more formal articles and blog posts. I’m also getting better at reading and engaging with other bloggers here on WordPress – so, don’t be surprised if you get a follow from me, or a comment.

For about two months, I didn’t get any new followers on here and that was discouraging. I went into my settings to see if I could change anything, and I turned on “indexing” again. Low and behold, I got a few new followers this week, more likes and engagement. Maybe that was the key. I’m also using more tags and sharing more in depth posts too rather than just whiny blog posts. But you know, sometimes you still might see those whiny blog posts because I’m whiny – but only sometimes.

Today, I thought I would respond to some comments I’ve gotten in the last year.

You’ve got such talent – why not use it?

I often hear from friends that, “You’re such a good writer!” Or “How can you write so easily?” Or even from WordPress chat – “Have you ever thought about writing a book? You’ve written so much!” – that compliment made my day!

When I was working, I started taking some professional and business writing courses through my job. I was doing a lot of research in the evenings and weekends too. Then I got sick, and lost funding for education. Now, I take free courses when I can and watch a lot of tutorials online to better my craft.

Writing is a craft. It’s a form of art and expression. I think the hard part of writing is just finding your voice and style. Or a genre that really brings out your passion. I think that’s important. Finding things you are passionate about. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I still have pages of stories that I made up when I was in elementary school, and they still make me laugh.

Pen names

Part of the struggle is my identity. I have no problem using my real name for this blog even if I leave out my last name. But when it comes to fiction, I’d prefer to use a penname. A lot of writers do this. I’ve come up with a new name for books – that’s just a warning for you. It’s a family name and one that I really like. I often use the name “Jen” when online in chat rooms – I always liked the name Jenny and so, I think I’ll stick with that for fictional stories.

I think if I was writing more technical books, I’d use my real name, but my family is really weird when it comes to posting online and sharing private stories. This is more to avoid family drama.

I’ve written “smut” in the past under a completely different username. I might get into that again, but we’ll see. People can be harsh when it comes to reviews!

Books and short stories

This past weekend, I started writing a book about my dreams and nightmares. I got nearly 7,300 words written – with lots of typos. I sent those few chapters to a friend and she loved it. I’ve been itching to get back into fiction writing. I have several short horror stories I’ve written over the past five years but haven’t finished any of them.

I’m starting to go through those stories to see what I can salvage and turn into short novels. I’m working on my first horror novel and I’m pretty pumped. I hope if it’s well received, I can turn it into a series. I’ve always wanted to write a book and what better time to do it now.

Think of it like a teen drama series. A coming of age story about a teen who struggles with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. The inspiration came from my own teenage years. But — inspired by series like The Vampire Diaries. It will have a supernatural flair to it. And hopefully, a monster of the month or book kind of theme.

I LOVE horror movies – always have. Why not combine the two things I love most in this world. Writing, and the supernatural. By age thirteen, I had read almost all of Stephen King’s books, and enjoyed other authors like Dean Knootz, Christopher Pike and John Grisham.

How I come up with ideas and characters

Last night, I couldn’t sleep and went to bed at 2 am. And just like when I was a kid, I kept having visions of these characters in my head and carried out entire scenes and chapters of dialogue. Many people have said that I have a gift for writing and does it come so easily to me.

I honestly don’t know! My brain has always been wired like this and sometimes it just doesn’t shut off. It also interrupts with sleep. As a kid, I used to make up entire worlds and characters that would play out in my head before I fell asleep.

I think part of it was from reading so much as a teen. I always had a book in my hand. Now that I’ve started reading again, the urge to write is just there- gnawing at me. I realized after re-reading Forever by Judy Blume, that she influenced a lot of my style. Only she made writing look easy and she had a lot of great books.

My mother, and my dad’s mother, were both great writers. My grandmother wrote a short book about her journey to Canada. And my mother, wanted to write a book. She was always making notes or lists. I think I got the reading bug from her too as I often borrowed books from “mum’s library”. If you want to read more about that journey, I wrote up a post to honour her yesterday.

My dad was a great speech writer. He always gave heartfelt speeches at family events. He knew how to make an entire room full of people cry – even the men would tear up. I’m glad we got some of those speeches on camera.

Practice daily writing

Last night, I got about four chapters done in the new book and 4,500 words. I’m trying to aim for at least 5,000 words daily. Some days might be more. I also type insanely fast at like 99 words per minute on a good day. If I’m having a bad day or week, I might not write at all.

I will definitely be blogging often as ideas come to me. I find the more that I write, the more ideas easily flow. I try and keep a sticky note or notepad near by at all times for these moments of creativity bursts.

I will often meditate before writing to relax my anxious mind. And I listen to meditative music while writing like brain entrainment or Native American flute music. Nothing with lyrics. Just relaxing meditation music. It really does help.

Set alarms for breaks

The problem with writing for me is that I can write for hours without taking a break. I’ve already been writing for two hours here in this blog today, and this will be my second article of the day. I have about 12 draft posts too for you that I need to finish off.

The ideas just keep coming to me and I have to get them out when it happens. That’s the way most artists are I think. You go through long periods with nothing. Zero ideas. And then you wake up at 3 am and have to start writing.

I’ve started setting the alarm for every couple of hours for a stretch or pee break. I also have set meal times daily and try to stick to a schedule. Sometimes I need a nap during the day from the fatigue or just to lie down. And on warm days, I’ll take a break and go sit on the balcony and enjoy the weather. I also make sure to keep several drinks at the computer like my coffee or tea, water and whatever else I might feel like. This way I can stay hydrated which is important for health.

A healthy writer needs to find balance in all things. Otherwise, what’s the point???

Tips for great writing

  • If you want to write — I suggest … JUST WRITE!
  • Practice a little every day. Aim for 1,000 words daily and grow from there.
  • Keep a note pad by your bed, so that if you get an idea for a character or story, jot it down.
  • Use your dreams as inspiration. After all, I’m writing a whole book based off some nightmares I’ve had. That’s how Stephen King started writing too.
  • Read! A lot! When you aren’t writing, READ. Read anything you can get your hands on for inspiration. Read from a variety of authors, multiple genres until you discover your favorite genre. Then write in that genre!
  • Take an online writing course in creative writing
  • Join a writer’s forum and learn from other writers
  • Use weekly writing prompts to create new stories or open yourself up to other ideas
  • Learn! Learn about new subjects that interest you. Watch documentaries, movies or read about those subjects.

But more importantly, and this might be the best advice I was ever given.

Write about your passions. Write what you already know. Writing will come more easily to you, the more you do it. And that’s why I write here daily in this blog. I don’t care so much about reader fatigue anymore. When I have an idea, I just need to write it down and share my thoughts.

I’m researching some tools for indie writers and authors like myself, stay tuned – I will share that with you soon!

If you’re an author, or writer like me – let’s connect! I want to hear from you.