I’m taking part in the weekend blitz for Daisy James’, ‘Sunshine After the Rain’ today and am sharing with you a guest post from Daisy, all about how to grow as a writer which I think could be super helpful to all aspiring or new writers out there – like me!
Growing as a Writer
First of all, a huge thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. It’s great to be here.
No matter what stage you are at with your writing – whether you write for pleasure, or in the hope of achieving your publishing dream, or are busy writing your third bestseller – there’s always something new to learn. Here are my suggestions for making the most of your journey as a writer:
1. Join a creative writing group.
Writing is a lonely exploit; sat in front of a keyboard bashing away at your manuscript with only the cat for company. There’s also the risk that when you do decide to escape into the real world, those friends who still recognise you glaze over when you start talking at length about your latest project. That’s where writing groups come into their own. They provide a ready pool of supportive friends who instinctively know how you feel and are happy to talk about books and writing until the tea and biscuits run dry. Just one word of advice though – choose your group wisely and don’t be afraid to move on if you feel uncomfortable.
2. Enrol on a course.
Creative writing courses are available in most towns and cities, even in village halls, and are aimed at a variety of levels from beginners to advanced and all stages in between. Guided study can be of immense value when trying a new skill, such as poetry or travel writing, or simply to refresh your knowledge of grammar and increase the depth of your characterisation. A formal course can also offer the same social benefits as a writing group by enhancing your circle of like-minded, creative friends.
3. Try writing in a different place.
We all have a favourite place to write, whether it’s the local coffee shop, the library, our home office or the kitchen table. Why not shake it up a bit and write at the local museum or art gallery, or better still, wrap up warm and sit in the woods or at the seafront or a bench in the park. Perhaps a garden centre will get the creatives juices flowing.
4.Try using a different medium.
If you usually type your stories straight onto a word processor, why not grab that gorgeous stationery your friend bought you for your birthday and sit down with a gel pen or coloured pencil and scribble something by hand? Or vice versa, if you prefer to write in longhand, have a go at bashing out a few pages of prose directly onto the screen. Which did you find easier? Which produced the more creative piece?
5. Try a different time of the day.
Some of us feel more creative in the mornings, whilst others tend to work into the early hours. Try switching your writing timetable by waking an hour earlier and writing until your usual wake-up time, or scribbling long past your bedtime. What changed?
6. Take some exercise.
Not only is sitting at the computer for any length of time bad for us, it also risks saddling us with writer’s bottom. Standing desks are now available to combat this, but taking a walk or a cycle ride or a swim in the local pool will not only enhance our health but could help with the dreaded procrastination monster. Better to be outside in the fresh air doing something positive than staring at a blank screen, praying for inspiration.
7. Stand up and be heard.
One of the hardest things for many writers is to stand in front of an audience and regale them with a sparklingly witty speech about their life as an author followed by a reading from their latest work. Audiences vary, from receptive and interested to fidgety and confrontational. Like everything that’s unfamiliar, the first time is the worst, but once your debut is over, the next presentation will be easier and maybe even enjoyable. In my experience, the three most important tips for such engagements are preparation, preparation, preparation; if there’s an awkward pause in the proceedings, you only have to glance at the crib cards in your hands to resume your inspired address.
8. Read, read and read some more.
Whenever I ask other, more experienced authors than myself for their top tips, more often than not it’s this one. How can we grow as writers if we don’t read? And anyway, what better way is there to fill the hours we’re not submerged in worlds of our own creation?
So, next time you feel in a writing rut, take heart. Try something different and you could stumble across that flash of genius that will solve your awkward plot hole problem.
What are your top tips for improving your writing skills?
Frazzled workaholic Evie Johnson has finally had enough! When she’s blamed for a publicity disaster at the art gallery she loves, she decides to flee the bright lights of London for the sun-drenched shores of Corfu and turn her life upside-down.
Under the shade of the olive trees, she picks up her dusty paintbrushes and begins to chase the dreams she had put aside for so long. But she never expected to bump into drop-dead-gorgeous Sam Bradbury – and certainly not whilst wrapped only in a towel!
A summer fling is the last thing Evie wanted but a few stolen kisses under the stars might just begin to change her mind…
Author links: Facebook | Twitter
Author bio: Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. Her husband and young son were willing samplers of her baking creations which were triple-tested for her debut novel, The Runaway Bridesmaid. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.
Want to buy some books? Of course you do. We’re running a giveaway to win a £10 book voucher for a local high street book store and you can enter HERE (UK only, sorry!)