Top 10 Tips for Writers
1. Write wow content.
2. Writing is your job: Write every day—something. Be productive. Write as long as it takes to develop something worth sharing. Write when you don’t feel inspired. Write when you feel inspired. Just write.
3. While writing is mostly solitary, remember that it shouldn’t isolate you. The real world is the fuel to your writing. Engage with others. Spend time doing fun things, doing helpful things, doing hard things—be active in the world around you. Develop relationships with writers whose work you admire and whose opinions you trust. You need a team. Ask the writing team to take a look at your work when you think it’s ready. Welcome their feedback. Don’t be sensitive about their suggestions. If you have to explain it, it isn’t ready for others to review. Don’t argue with good advice. Ignore bad advice. Thank them. You really need a team whether or not you know it.
4. Learn enough about writing to know the difference between good advice and bad advice. Learn the craft. Go to workshops, conference, and critique groups. Read books about writing. Read books. Read online. Read magazines. Read books similar to what you want to write. Read books in the genre you’re interested in. Learn grammar. Absorb enough to know when you can break the rules without looking like an idiot.
5. It’s all about the audience. It’s not about you. What does your audience want or think they need? Write about that—you can bring your unique experiences, talent, and perspective to meet your audience’s felt need.
6. If you feel like you just have to tell your navel-inspecting story regardless of the audience’s need or desire to hear the story, write it in a journal. Don’t put it in a book. Journals are for you; books are for everyone else.
7. Be a marketing maven. While you may dream about hiding away in a remote snow-covered cabin, pecking away at the glorious keyboard, you need to come back down to reality—you have to understand marketing. You are the best spokesperson for your resources. Develop a marketing plan that you can put into place long before the book is ready to launch. Understand that titles and front and back cover text and images are about marketing. Your website is critical. It’s your number-one marketing tool and your face to the public. Put the time, effort, and money into creating a great website. Blog at least two times a week and respond to comments. Build your email database. Be active in social media—Facebook and Twitter are the top two if you want to get the word out about your book, although Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest have advantages. Figure out Hootsuite, CoSchedule and other technical tools to make the social media and the website more manageable.
8. Delegate the things that you can so that you can dedicate as much time to writing and marketing as possible. Get to know smart techno-geeks to help with computer maladies. If you can hire someone to do something that steals your time, it’s worth it.
9. Learn the power of white space. An accurate book does not need to provide exhaustive information. An understandable story does not need to include minute details. And an astute writer knows when to end. Learn what not to include and when to stop.
10. Give yourself permission to write a bad first draft. Write now, edit later.