Monday, April 4, 2016

26 Tips for Writers (As Written in 15 Minutes)

Sometimes I forget that Monday exists, so I ignore my need to write posts until I go to bed Sunday night. I have important stuff to do tomorrow, so here’s what I’m going to do: twenty-six tips for writers, fifteen minutes. Edit, publish, go to bed.
Flickr Credit: Dakota
The clock, as you might have guessed, has already started.

Always remember: you are a writer, no matter what. Don’t let the evil voices in your head get you down.

Be prepared. Research not just the content of the novel, but what it means to be in the writing industry, who you want to query, and all the ins-and-outs of this business. Publication doesn’t come served on a plate.

Crying with friends over books is not a choice. It is necessary—whether you cry over other people’s books or your own is up to you.

Don’t argue when you mess up. It’s better to own up and make amends when you offend or hurt somebody.

Even if you don’t want to, keep writing.

Find time to take care of yourself. You are useless to yourself if you are uninspired and unable to stay awake.

Go outside sometimes. I know it sounds terrible but actually it’s important.

Help others! Trading WIPs helps you build up other writers and improves some of your own skills, too!

Invest in yourself. You can’t know everything, but staying up-to-date and educated on subject matter and recent book trends will do you and your WIPs a huge favor.

Just breathe. For serious.

Kill your darlings. Kiss your darlings. Edit everything three billion times. It will get better.

Listen to the voices of the people you’re writing about. Whether they come from another culture, sexual orientation, faith, race, gender, age group, city, or school, they will judge your writing by how well you represent their side of the story. And it means a lot.

Marry rich, because J.K. Rowling is the exception.


Organize. Make sure your plot points, characters, dialogue, and whatever else don’t contradict themselves. You will look like you don’t know what you’re doing.

Practice until your fingers bleed because as my dad often says, “Practice makes better.”

Querying is something to do but only if you have your letter completely perfect. RESEARCH QUERY LETTERS. All the published authors out there swear by this, I think, probably.

Read everything. Read the things you love and figure out why you love them. Sometimes read things you hate and make sure you don’t do that in your writing. Read, read, read.

Swoon over your villain. A protagonist is only ever as good as their antagonist, and it takes your love and care to cultivate villains into beings worth fighting against. Give them the love they deserve.

Thank the people who build you up. It is so important to have a community who supports you, whether that be a writing circle, your family, or online buddies. Make sure they know it means a lot, because you want them around for a good, long time. (BTW: thanks for supporting me here, guys. It’s so gratifying to have amazing readers like you! <3)

Understand that this is hard and it takes a butt-ton of work, but that it is so worth it, so keep going!

Vanquish all of your self-doubt and smush your inner editor into your mental bathroom until you finish the first draft. Just get the dang idea out of you, and then you can start making it better.

Wish. Dream. Make merry. Sparkle. You have something special. Let it show.

X-Ray vision is a creepy superpower. In general, superpowers should have rules and limitations and flaws. Keep that in mind. I criticize superpowers a lot.

You should only ever compare yourself to the person you were yesterday. Otherwise you will be depressed.

Zootopia was a great movie and you should go see it. Just saying. Maybe it will help you write better. I don’t know. But it’s worth it!

HA HA I FINISHED. With a little less than a minute to spare. Consider this a short list of everything that I’ve learned in the four or so years I’ve worked on being a writer.

What advice would you give a fellow writer today?


  1. Great advice, Heather! Hmm...well, my advice would be to stick at your WIP when the novelty wears off. Don't fall into the trap of scrapping a novel just because you've got a different idea and are starting to tire of writing the same thing. I used to do this so much when I was just starting to write...but thankfully now I have a bit more self-discipline.

    1. Oh, yeah. Shiny New Idea Syndrome gets us all sometimes, but we must prevail! It does take a lot of self-discipline, I think, so congrats on overcoming that. :)

  2. Currently with the amount of schoolwork (read: trying to study but occasionally (occasionally?hahahaha) going on youtube) I've barely been able to do any posting/commenting (unless I'm procrastinating, like right now) This is also useful advice, so I'm going to take it. *nods*

    1. Occasionally? hahahahaha me too

      Yeah, posting and school, especially as finals approach, can be a bother. :P

  3. Yesss, I LOVE THIS LIST. And I like that it's alphabetised because that's just awesome. Ahem, and omg I wish to shout the "read read read" at every trying-to-be-published author I ever meet, because it's really important and I get shocked at how many don't really read, especially not in their genre. AGh, it makes no sense to me.
    Also just breathing is very handy. GOOD TO LEARN.
    Also your advice in Z seems very sound and flawless. I shall try to remember to act on that. *nods seriously*

    1. I wrote it alphabetically because then I'd just have the prompts all lined up like that! :) And yes, it is astonishing when people who like to write don't like to read because I get this sense that writers who don't like reading are going to have readers who don't like their writing.

      It is indeed sound and flawless and I impress its gravity upon you now. *gives Cait the overwhelming urge to go see Zootopia now*

  4. First: This advice is fantastic. Especially about reading and villains and thanking the people who encourage you. :)

    Second: I love the alphabetical list. Really cool idea!

    I guess my advice would be to remember why you love your story and writing. Also, it's okay to set a project aside sometimes because it may not be the right time to write it. Oh, and sometimes following a plot bunny isn't always a disaster. :)

    1. :) Thanks!

      It was an easy prompt, lol. XD

      That is a good idea. THOSE ARE ALL GOOD IDEAS. Although sometimes my plot bunnies are just meaningless weird drivel. So. I'll take your word for it.

  5. What a good idea! I was laughing so hard over this one: Go outside sometimes. I know it sounds terrible but actually it’s important. So true, so true.

    1. XD Yes. It seems not good, but it is! Go figure.

  6. Hahaha I laughed so hard over so many. Like going outside. And marrying rich. And swooning over villains. And Zootopia. But also lots of great advice here, like keep writing and keep reading. Going outside is great advice too, I suppose ... ;)

    1. I KNOW. It is like, "Aren't all writers allergic to the outside?" But it turns out sometimes outside has some good stuff out there, too. :) Thanks for reading, Alyssa!

  7. No idea what happened to my comment BUT I'M GIVING IT ANOTHER SHOT.

    So yeah basically you come up with a better post in 15 minutes than I could in 15 years :') These are such great tips. Especially "marry rich." I plan to put that one into action asap. And also not arguing when you mess up - I think that's really important.


      XD Aw, thanks. Quality + time limit is a tricky equation, so I'm glad you liked the answer. And yes. I think we often want to defend ourselves, because it's hard being wrong, but I think it works out better that way.

  8. This is absolutely awesome! But really, are you sure I have to go outside? Is it like, I stick a toe outside and that'll do? For how long? Nooo, I don't think I can do this! *hides in bed* The outside is a lie! Also, your piece of advice for Y is so important to remember. Love it!

    1. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I CANNOT PRESCRIBE THE OUTSIDE. But surely you can go out and get the mail or something. I'm glad you liked it, Imogen! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  9. AH I LOVE THESE. Especially Tips C, J, M, and N. Especially M. Like I hope to get rich off of writing, but before that I need to have money to buy coffee and chocolate and other totally necessary writerly things.


    1. Heheheheh. Yes. I know. And yeah, money is sort of a need in this world. But that's okay!


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