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How to Write

Writing comes naturally for some people. For others, though, it is more of an effort. Whether you are a natural writer, tearing up the keyboard, bringing your readers to tears, or someone who struggles through a piece, thesaurus in hand, working up a sweat to get a paragraph down, you can benefit from some writing advice. It always helps to learn from other writers, what works for them, what causes them to stall creatively and writing techniques that can improve your craft.

1. Write every day

Now, this works for some people and not for others, causing much debate in the writing world, but it is a good practice if you approach it from this unique angle. You don't necessarily have to write something of substance every day, but try free-writing, brainstorming or just creating outlines of work that you want to do. The purpose of this exercise is to keep your mind geared toward the creative process. You don't have to turn out a masterpiece every day, one day you might write a poem, the next develop an outline and the next write a rough draft of a piece. 

Writing is like exercising. If you exercise regularly, you keep your body flexible and it will gain strength and endurance. You will find that your body performs better and better the more that you exercise. Writing regularly does the same thing for your mind. If you write regularly, your mind will stay flexible and you will get better and better.

2.  Set a schedule

This goes with the practice of writing every day. Set a schedule for yourself. Designate a certain time each day that you will write. This is a time that you will ignore email, refrain from leisure surfing (research is OK) and you might even turn off the phone. This is your time to create so remove all distractions. What you write or how you use your time is up to you. How long you give yourself to write is also up to you, but give yourself enough time to get into the rhythm and organize your thoughts. You may write for 30 minutes a day or 3 hours a day, it is totally up to you. You set the pace and you create the work that comes from your heart.

3.  Try freewriting

This is a fun exercise that can lead to some great ideas. It is particularly useful if you have writer's block. Sit down with a pen and paper (it works better if you actually write instead of type) and just write down any phrases or words that come to mind. You can write each individual word or phrase on its own index card and then organize the cards into certain categories. File them away for writing prompts later when you are going through a "dry spell" or you can use them to help remember details for certain subjects.

4.  Use your thesaurus, but not too much

Individuals residing in transparent domiciles should refrain from hurling geological missiles. What? Wouldn't it be easier to say "people in glass houses should not throw stones" instead?  You can use your thesaurus, but don't overdo it. When you infuse too many complex words your initial meaning tends to slip away. Your reader gets caught up in the words and lose the meaning.

5.  Find your own voice

Sure, it would be great to write like Hemingway or Thoreau or Faulkner, but it is just as good to write your own way. When you put your personal touch on your work and develop your own style, your readers will respond. When you try to copy someone else's style, you come across as someone trying to copy another person's style. Your work winds up lacking a certain strength and impact. Find your own voice and develop your own writing style.

How to Write