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!

How To Write Better Stories

How To Develop A Character In Your Story 

How To Get More Views On Your Blog

11 Struggles Only Writers Will Understand 

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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

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.

9 Things You Should Do After Writing A Blog Post

A blog post that reaches no one is as good as nothing. If you’re a fellow blogger, I am sure you understand that being a blogger ain’t easy. We all know how difficult it is to get the best out of us. A lot of us produce brilliant content but unfortunately don’t take the necessary steps to increase the blog reach. It’s a real struggle, I get it. However, all of it going to be worth it.

publishing a blog

source: tumblr + edits

Without taking much of your time, let me get to the point.

So, what to do to before and after publishing?

1. Proof-read

Hold on! I know all of us re-read our blogs before publishing them. But, I am asking you to read it once you post it. Reading it as a reader is looking at your blog post from a different perspective altogether. This will easily help you spot a few mistakes that you couldn’t spot in the draft mode. Do it. It makes your blog post error free and makes you look like a pro.

Worried about punctuation and grammar? Enable Grammarly. Here’s the link –http://www.grammarly.com

 

2. Say hello to SEO

If you think ONLY good content will take your blog post places, you are mistaken. A blog post that has good content but is not SEO optimised is a burger without sauces. Good, but it could be much better. Explore Google keywords and use the keywords people are using. You’ll be surprised to see how much this helps. For more on this, this post will definitely help.

3. Go social (media)

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you’re active. Don’t come across as a spam by just posting blog links. Work on your descriptions. Tell the audience what your blog is about in not more than 15 words and you won’t regret this. If you’re posting a link on Twitter, use 1-2 hashtags. Don’t go beyond 2! Max 3! If you know an account that is likely to retweet your content, go ahead and tag them. I feel Twitterverse is the best place to find new audience.

4. Reddit the Hero

You cannot possibly undermine the power of Reddit. Apart from increasing your blog views, it’s a great platform to engage with new people and find similar content. Post your blog links on Reddit apart from the above-mentioned places and see how much it helps.

5. Shorten your blog link

Honestly, it’s pretty annoying to see the entire URL of a blog post to appear on the feed. Besides, shortening your blog link, it also helps you save characters and allows you to write more. Try Bitly or Tinyurl to shorten your URLs. Bitly also helps you to know how many people clicked on your link, their location and other relevant details.

6. Social influencers

Know someone who writes or digs the content you produce? Ask them to share it on their social spaces. I am not asking you to nag every other friend to share your blog links but having 2-4 people who can do a free promotion is absolutely great. They work like social points and increase blog views considerably.

7. Comment on similar blogs

Apart from being visible to more people, this also helps you know more. It’s a win-win situation and doesn’t hurt anyone. Engaging with fellow bloggers works wonders! Who knows? You might find yourself a new friend. (Comment below if you write something similar. I’ll check your blog soon)

8. End your blog with a question

Don’t ask an existential question for God’s sake. However, begin a discussion. People who read blogs are often almost ready to get talkin’. Ask a question related to the post or anything you would like to know from your readers. This is one of the best ways to engage with your audience and goes a long long way. Don’t forget to reply to comments. Every comment is precious!

9. Is your title ‘meh’ or ‘yay’?

My advice to every blogger out there is – work on the title in the end. Once your blog post is ready to live, then think of a good title. Most of us end up going wrong here. Don’t try to be too creative with your title. You have the entire blog post to yourself to unleash your creativity. Keep your blog titles to the point, crisp, SEO-optimised and not too long. Your titles should not only attract viewers but also tell them what your blog is all about.

Did I miss something? Do you know another way to help a blog post reach a wider audience? Comment below and let’s get talkin’!

Hope this post helped!

 

31 things to keep in mind while writing a short story.

 

  1. Write everything you picture in your head.
  2. Describe each and every detail.
  3. Don’t let someone tell you your story is stupid.
  4. Describe the curtains.
  5. Take a break and eat something.
  6. Give interesting names to your characters.
  7. MORE DEPTH.
  8. Be emotionally involved.
  9. Read it out in your head.
  10. Did I mention the curtains?
  11. Don’t hesitate to make it more real. Real is cool.
  12. Don’t bother about the beginning, middle and blah blah.
  13. Remember there exists a reader.
  14. Active and passive both work.
  15. Your voice is your voice.
  16. More dialogues. Interesting dialogues.
  17. Have you thought of a title?
  18. It’s okay if your characters don’t make sense.
  19. Don’t miss the flow. Just don’t.
  20. Grammar can wait for a bit.
  21. Can you hear someone talking?
  22. Don’t rush towards the end.
  23. Does your story have a message?
  24. Are you thinking of killing someone?
  25. Wait for it to make sense.
  26. Drink water. Walk around.
  27. Fin fin fin.
  28. Revise once done.
  29. Revise again.
  30. Hello, grammar.
  31. Title. End.

tumblr_inline_ng7bpbl4w71rh3k1r

 

How To Develop A Character In Your Story

If you’re into fiction writing, you probably know how important your characters are. Character development is one of the most interesting things about fiction writing. There is generally no thumb rule when it comes to sketching your characters. However, tips never do any harm!

Let’s name our character – Jimmy.

1. Describe physical attributes

Describing physical features is like spoon-feeding imagination to your reader! You’re giving them an idea of how the person actually looks like, so give them as many details as possible. What kind of clothes does Jimmy wear? Describe his hair. Describe his eyes. Describe how he eats, how he sleeps, how he talks, everything! This forms an image about the person. And once you’ve somewhat established how he looks like, your reader will take it ahead.

2. Talk about their past

Jimmy didn’t just appear! Write about his childhood, his first crush, his school and everything relevant in his history. This gives your character some depth and adds more emotions. A reader will then connect to Jimmy and will know him like a childhood friend. This helps them to even map certain attributes of Jimmy to his actions.

‘Ah! Jimmy would totally do this.’
‘I knew Jimmy would say that!’

You get the point?

3. Live the character

Get into Jimmy’s shoes. Be Jimmy. If you cannot see the world through his eyes, your readers will fail too. While you’re writing dialogues, make sure they connect to the above-mentioned points or you will end up confusing your reader. For example, if Jimmy had an emotional connection with his grandparents, he would be considerate while talking to someone elderly. He wouldn’t go like,

“Get out, you oldie.”

Sounds absurd, isn’t it?

He would instead be, “Can I help you with something, Ms. Grues?”
This is just an example, though. You can keep it absurd too.

4. Describe them through actions

Don’t give it out straight all the time! Your character becomes boring them. Describe their qualities through actions, incidents in the past etc. This is a way of giving an idea about the character indirectly. Trust me, this keeps it interesting.

For example:

If Jimmy likes cookies, don’t just write

“Jimmy loved cookies.”

Instead, write something like –

“Jimmy promised to eat just one cookie, but ended up finishing the whole jar!”

5. Keep it real

The most important one!
A lot of people struggle while developing their characters to make them as interesting and exciting as possible. That’s where they go wrong. Jimmy has to be effortlessly real. Think of him as someone you know. How would you describe Jimmy? Think of it like this. If you had to introduce him to a friend to give your friend an exact idea of he is, how would you go about it? You would just go on and on to make your friend familiar with him, right? A character sketch is exactly like that! No rocket science.

Do let me know if these tips helped!

How To Get More Views On Your Blog

Blogging ain’t easy especially when the internet is loaded with millions of articles. But, hold on, fellow blogger! I have some suggestions that will radically improve your blog views and give you a wider reach.

1. Write What People Are Searching For

Basically, unless and until, you don’t write blogs which aren’t relevant to people out there, you aren’t going to get a lot of views. This doesn’t mean that you block your creativity from being the guiding light for your blogs. It simply means you cater your content according to your target audience. Write what people are searching for. Use keywords that will get your blogs up on Google search. Try including most searched words in your blog titles, and see the magic!

2. Hit The Bulls Eye With Your Title

Though you blog content is what is important eventually, to get people to click on your link – your title should be powerful too! It’s basically the door to your house. People wouldn’t bother to know what’s inside the house unless the door isn’t eye-catching. Make sure your title indicates what your blog is all about. Don’t keep it too long either! Play around with words and hit the bulls eye!

3. The Power of Social Media

Social media is the best way to get most of your audience. Simply posting the link to your blog on Twitter or Facebook can get you enough views. Make sure you leave a small description that makes your audience click on your link. Don’t post it a lot of times, people might take it as spam! Try connecting with people who are looking for the kind of content you are offering. Retweets and shares go a long way!

4. Submit Your Blog Link on Leading Blog Sites

The blogger community is huge and is always looking for fresh content. Feel free to post your blog link on these sites! This will also connect you to new blogger friends and will help you stay active. Remember, unless and until your blog doesn’t seem interesting, this won’t work either.

5. Use The Right Tags

Blogging does give you the option to use labels/tags in your blogs to improve your blog reach. The right kind of tags will not only increase your blog views but will also help you sort your blogs under categories. Be specific with your tags and don’t use terms that are too generic.

6. Write Your Best

Last but definitely not the least, content is what helps your blog do better. Write a blog on relevant topics like current affairs, fiction, DIYs, lifestyle etc. Write something that will help someone or make someone revisit your blog. Writing good content will just make your job ten times easier. Content is the king, and you cannot disagree!

If these tips helped you, don’t forget to leave a comment!