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How To Write More Effectively

If you believe that a writer is born as a writer, you might want to think again. When I read my work from a few years ago, I can easily spot a bunch of mistakes. I have learnt how to avoid them only with time. Becoming an efficient writer takes more than just the will of becoming a writer.

Based on observations and my experiences, here are some tips that will help you to write more effectively.

1. Read Every Damn Day

Pick up a fiction or non-fiction book (based on your interests) and read at least 40-50 pages every day. Every writer must be a reader to survive amongst words. If you skip the reading part, you’re starving yourself as a writer. However, don’t just read sitting in the reader’s seat. Read as a writer and recognize different writing styles. Reading is also an excellent way to boost your vocabulary and get a good hold on grammar.

  • Pick up a literary classic
  • Read a non-fiction book that will improve a skill
  • Subscribe to newsletters
  • Keep a note of writing styles

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King

2. Brush Up On Your Grammar Skills

Grammar is the salt and pepper of writing. Picture this – you might be real close to creating the best dish of your life, but you messed up the basics – you added no salt. You can’t cook delicious food without knowing what goes into it. To sound like a professional writer, it is important to be a grammar geek.

  • Keep a note of sentence structures, diction and punctuation
  • Read grammar books, opinionated articles or take a course online

“Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression. And like all impressions, you are in total control.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

3. Don’t Copy Someone Else’s Style

Being inspired by someone else’s work is absolutely great but don’t ever copy their style. Every writer has a unique voice, and that’s what helps them stand out amongst so many voices. If you’re going to ‘try’ to write like someone else, you will never attain your best work. It will always be someone else’s work.

You might take some time to find your own voice. However, it is there. You just need to be patient to realise it fully.

“The first sign of disintegration — in a writer — is that the writing loses the unique stamp of his/her character, & loses its inner light.”- Ted Hughes

4. Always Have Something To Say

 You might want to write a sentence, a paragraph or probably a full book. But, don’t do it unless you don’t have something to tell your reader. It is a bad idea to write without having a message and will probably put your reader off. Know what you’re going to say and say it in the best way possible. Here’s the secret – A good idea sounds like a great idea if explained well.

“Unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it.” – Charles Bukowski

5. Become Your Own Editor

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford an editor. Hence, it’s a good idea to become your own editor. Take every sentence one by one and see if you can fix something about it. Read your sentences loudly and see if they make any sense. Look for the choice of words, sentence structures, etc. Never ever settle for the first draft. Your first draft is good. But remember, you can always make it better.

  • Read your work 2-3 times purely as a reader and see what you get out of it
  • Be a sentence surgeon and fix it if something seems wrong
  • Never publish your first draft
  • Proofread and revise until you’re fully satisfied

 “The first draft of everything is shit.” -Ernest Hemingway

6. Choice of Words

The choice of words makes a lot of difference. Avoid jargons wherever you can but use them where you should. Based on your audience, play with diction. Avoid using the words that you don’t fully comprehend. Don’t go for cliché terms. Expand your vocabulary and use new words regularly.

  • Be careful with jargons
  • Keep in mind the subtle nuances between similar words
  • Use at least 5 new words every day
  • Avoid words such as – very, actually, so, really, etc

 “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov

7. Say No to Long and Loose Sentences

 Write this somewhere or memorize it or just get a tattoo. No sentence should be longer than 18-20 words. Remember – every long sentence can be divided into two short sentences. The problem with a long sentence is that it loses its meaning. The reader can’t find a connection between the subject and the predicate. Use a comma splice ONLY when it is needed. It is advised to use conjunctions. One sentence should only do one thing at a time.

  • Avoid comma splices until they’re truly needed
  • Use conjunctions to break independent clauses
  • One sentence should do only thing at a time
  • Check for clarity

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King, 

8. Delete Unnecessary Words

Unnecessary words are the words that don’t do any good to a sentence. They don’t have a significant purpose. These extra words will make your writing come across as immature. If you want to explain an idea, use fewer words. It does wonders. For example,

  • She met me on a daily basis
  • During the time of winter
  • He told me that it was bad
  • The whole country rejoiced

Makes it better, isn’t it?

“Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!” — Joyce Carol Oates

9. Never Stop Writing

This goes unsaid. Never stop writing. You might not want to write regularly but make sure there is no ‘stop’. Accept yourself as a writer and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do this. Practice makes everything better. Write. Write because you should.

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
—Enid Bagnold

 

Hope these tips helped you. Feel free to drop a comment if you have any questions!

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You Need This

Never apologize for being what you are. Never say sorry, when it’s not your mistake. Laugh. Laugh without worrying about how your face will look, because you look the most beautiful when you close your eyes and throw your head back. Don’t ask people to validate you. You’re a human. Don’t be scared to taste sorrow, it’s not bad, trust me. But, when you touch happiness, when you taste joy, promise me, you’ll enjoy every bite. Forgive people when they don’t understand you. Let them take their time. Don’t spend too much time on someone who wouldn’t spend an evening with you watching your favourite TV show. Let your secrets be with you, but once in a while, let them free. When you sing, don’t worry about the lyrics. Most of us don’t get them right. Spend on what you want. Grab all your favourite chocolate bars and spend a night enjoying your own company. Cry over things that made you feel bad, but never again, let that happen to you. Move ahead, don’t think of what has happened. Don’t tell someone to stay around. The ones who love you and will stick to you like glue. Dream a lot. Talk about what you want to do. But, don’t just talk. Work hard. Work hard and go grab your dreams. When you fall in love, never worry. Just fall, love. Love without thinking of a god damn thing. The most beautiful things happen, and you never realize. Love is exactly like that. Don’t wait for it to happen. It will happen, maybe, when you’ll totally give up on it. But, it will. I promise. Be happy, live the life you have. Let your worries take a back seat, while you enjoy the sunshine that kisses your cheek every morning, and I am sure one day, you’ll realize that life is not about happy endings, but whatever that happens before the end.

happy

It’s hard to be a writer

It’s hard to be a writer. It requires you to be honest. It requires you to spend some time with yourself, with every word telling you a little more about who you are. It’s hard to be a writer because you cannot fake it for long. There’ll come a point when you’ll know you’re lying.

Words have this powerful force of pulling you back if you’re lying and flowing effortlessly if you’re being honest.

Writing will just happen to you. Writers don’t sit with a bowl full of words and then carefully pick  heavy words that make the plate look fascinating. It’s a process that just happens.

Words come to you like a long lost friend and you’re immersed in a beautiful world that is entirely yours.

You’re a writer only when you’ve lived a moment.

You’re a writer only when you have been a little more alive or dead than the rest. You’re a writer if you’ve the courage to fall in the ocean of your insecurities and imperfections, and spend some time there, trying to save yourself. No, you don’t need the most beautiful words or a rhyme scheme to write something. All it takes is a moment you genuinely have lived. All it takes is a walk with your emotions, naked. All it takes is a heart ready to discover something surprisingly unusual. All it takes is patience to deal with the messy part of your soul. I agree, it’s difficult to be a writer but trust me, there is no better way to know who you are.

Writers

For Gloomy Days

If you are having a bad day or if you just need a reason to smile, here are few lines that will make things easy.

1. Because you’re powerful.

I threw rocks on their standards of beauty
and smiled wide showing my uneven teeth
they told me I didn’t walk how I was supposed to
I still chose to dance on my bare feet

2. Because you deserve it.

you don’t deserve the lonely nights
or sleeping with fears
you don’t deserve the endless fight
or getting up with tears
you deserve the warmth
and the joy of unpredictable hugs
you deserve the flowers of spring
and all the possible goodness on earth

3. Because you can.

taste the rainbow
paint the sky
touch the clouds
believe me
you were born to fly.

4. Because egos can rest.
we sat next to the sea
with our egos kept aside
she gave me her secret
I gave her mine
in no time we realised
how lonely we have been
in no time we realised
we never lived it right
5. Because you need it.

you are blind to your own light
but trust me it’s enough to
show me the way home

fdc81-ego_quote

Hope these lines made you feel better. Count on me when you need a friend, and don’t forget to say hi! Have a good day!

For more, follow my page on Instagram – @untitledwhispers

Feel better.

I often feel the need of spending some time alone. It comes off as this craving to look deeper into myself and to drift away in the clouds of my own pondering. It is sort of an exercise. It takes me to this land where I find myself without masks, without anything to hide how I feel. And, it feels good.
I often look back at what I have done. I touch my scars and they seem okay. I am proud of them.

I think about my mistakes. I roam around with a lot of regrets, and this is usually the time when I think I should let them go. Each one of us is made up of multiple stories. We are constantly writing a new chapter. We are a character that has a lot of depth. But, how often do we understand who we really are? These are some existential questions and I am going to avoid them right now.

However, you need to get a microscopic view of what you are. It heals you if you do it right.
Go meet yourself for a cup of coffee today. Take yourself for a drive and enjoy the wind. Go for a walk and hear what you have to say. Cry, laugh and be okay with whoever you are.

In the end, it all comes down to accepting yourself for who you are. You are, who you are, for a lot of reasons. The reasons don’t matter anymore. What matters is how you look at yourself, what you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror in the morning.

Don’t be so harsh on yourself.

 
You don’t always get served with scoops of sky dusted with shiny stars every day.
You don’t always get to float in the gigantic sky that offers you a cloud to rest your body upon.
You don’t need it either. 
You eventually realise that stars look good only in the sky and not in your plate.
You go on to accept that the sky is too vast for your body that fits perfectly in your bed.
You don’t need magical things in life to realise how beautiful it is. 
You just need to find magic in simple things life offers.
 


(I don’t own any rights to this image. It’s used for representative purposes)

I took a break from writing, and it helped!

Being a writer is sort of a full-time job. You cannot stop yourself from seeing the world through words. You’re always thinking of how to pen your thoughts, how to come up with a piece of fiction or scribble a few lines here and there.

But, let me be honest. It could become tiring, at a certain point of time.

A few weeks ago, I got saturated. I got tired of the endless thinking, the mess my mind was dealing with. It happens when you stress yourself to create good writing every day. Writing what exactly you feel isn’t an easy task. It often makes you uncomfortable, exhausted and it inhibits creative thinking.

A lot of people say that a writer must write every day. If you want to grow as a writer, it requires you to scribble a few words every day.

I don’t fully agree.

Writing shouldn’t be dealt with as a mandatory thing on your to-do-list.

You have to give yourself some breathing space as a writer. Sometimes, solely taking the observer’s seat makes a lot of difference. Don’t mistake a writing break as a consequence of a writer’s block. I’m talking about two different things here. Taking a break from writing is more like a choice you make.

I realised I needed one when I started pushing myself to write something when I didn’t even have something to write. I had started to sound like someone else. My voice disappeared. And, let me tell you; that’s the worst thing that can happen to you as a writer.

My advice to you is that – don’t force yourself. Don’t puke on paper because you’re pushed down by the burden of calling yourself a writer.

Don’t create half-baked pieces. Write when you feel you want to write. Write when you have something to write. The moment you start doing this going against your will, you will lose the fair touch of honesty.

While I was on a break, I indulged myself in reading.

Go ahead. Pick up a book. Read articles. Read non-fiction. Hug literature. Become an observer, re-read some of your old works. If you can completely stop yourself from thinking about writing anything at all, it could be relaxing.

It helps. It is going into training mode again. Back to square one. It is like taking baby steps towards writing all over again! The writing break helped me largely. I can say this because when I got back to writing, my mind was blooming with fresh ideas. It didn’t feel like a messy play of words anymore.

The break unclogged my mind, I felt at peace and could embrace writing like once again like I used to. If you’re a writer, or let me say, if you love writing, you will always come back to it. In fact, when I was on a writing break, I wasn’t detached from writing. I did this to only enhance myself, to only introduce some breathing space for my words to live.

A writing break isn’t unproductive thing. So, don’t let anyone fool you to it. It’s just taking some time off as a writer to become an observer and coming back to writing with a better vision.

Here’s some inspiration – The Untitled One

What are your thoughts on this? Ever went through something like this? Comment below.