I’m receiving a number of comments and messages from readers looking for help becoming writers. Some of them lead me to believe you haven’t been keeping up with the Writing Process section here on the blah-g. Check this out first in case any of your questions have already been answered in depth: Blah Blah Blah Writing Process
And a few of you have asked me for some tips and tricks. Tips and tricks for writing, huh? I wish, sisters. I’ve said this before, but there aren’t any tricks. You have to write every day. It’s that simple. Read books in the genre you are writing so you can see how other people do it. Stephen King says if you don’t have time to read, then you don’t have the time–or tools–to write. So do it. Read and write as much as possible. Keep a notebook with you and write down amazing details you stumble on during the day. It’s these details that will bring your writing to life. And read about writing. Books on the actual craft are very helpful and inspiring. Be sure to check out my Tumblr I devote entirely to writerly things (okay, okay, there are some pups and Internet memes thrown in there, too) that I update every Tuesday and Thursday. It’s full of great writing tips for character development, story structure, inspirational words, and anything else you need to spark your creativity while honing your craft.
Most of all don’t try to sound like anyone else. It’s your voice we want to hear because no one sees the world like you do. Neil Gaiman has my back on this one, albeit his version is a little more harsh:
Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.
― Neil Gaiman
Which reminds me, developing a thick skin is step 1 in becoming a writer. Harper Lee agrees:
I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee
Now hit it.