I’ve been having fun with the interviews here lately, so I thought it was time for a guest post! My new friends over at the discontinued My Dog Ate My Blog (how great is that title?) were kind enough to offer up a great post on improving your writing. You may ask… surely, none of us need that, right?
True. You are all fantastic writers. I know. I read your blogs ;o) However, every little tidbit helps us learn, eh? So, I give you a wonderful guest post from Jasmine Jacobs!
Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
No matter how hard you try, there is no way to avoid writing. Even if you’re no longer a student, you might be asked to write up a description of your latest project at work. At home, you might have to write a blurb about a car you plan to sell on craigslist. Although all writing may seem like a struggle at times, the most difficult part of it is arguably, creative writing. With creative writing, there is nothing to reference but that which comes out of your own mind and sometimes these files are more than a challenge to access. No matter who you are, at some point you will be called to put your writing skills to the test. If this idea seems daunting, we’d like to rebalance your qi by providing certain ways that will surely have those words spilling out on paper or a word processor in no time.
1. Read more.
Something enjoyable you can do to improve your writing is to read more often (eHow). Most of the best writers are frequent readers too. By reading a book or article, you will get a sense for that author’s own writing style, which you might begin to incorporate into your own. There’s something about the free flow of words, even if they are someone else’s that might loosen up your own words. Reading also strongly enhances your vocabulary, saving time because you won’t have to visit your thesaurus as frequently. If you’re at a loss for antonyms to use for “said,” we strongly encourage you do some reading outside your normal routine.
Although we said that it’s okay to incorporate some pieces of another writer’s style into your own, you don’t want to completely duplicate another’s style. One, because this would be a form of plagiarism, for which you will be held accountable for, and two, because it’s difficult and unnatural to write like someone else.
2. Be yourself.
Another important tip to improve your writing is to simply be yourself (Creative Juices Books). When people read your work, they should be able to know that it came from you. What makes for good writing is when the reader gets a sense that the author has lived fully–that certain descriptions about the events in the work have been witnessed by the author during his or her years on earth. Even if you have a similar background, you have lived a completely different life from other authors, so let that resonate in your work.
3. Write everyday.
Another powerful way to improve your writing skills is to write everyday (Ezine articles). Your creativity, especially how it manifests in your writing, is like a muscle that can only be strengthened with exercise. We’re not asking you to nix precious hours of sleep so that you’re able to produce a chapter a day. You can dramatically improve your writing skills starting with just ten minutes a day spending some quality time with your pen. Once you develop a habit, writing for you, will be like second nature!
4. Get comfortable.
Something all of us have probably dealt with at one point or another is writer’s block. If you’re lucky enough not to know what it is, writer’s block is that cringing feeling that no matter what you do, you can’t possibly continue (or start) your work. The main reason for writer’s block is a lack of confidence, or the fear that you will be harshly judged for producing poor-quality work (Duke Graduate School). You can overcome your anxieties, and subsequently, your writer’s block, by engaging in pre-writing exercises. Go to a comfortable place and brainstorm everything you can possibly do with your work. Doing this will give you a confidence boost similar to that which children receive in training wheels. After all, no one’s going to judge you for your rough sketches, but pre-writing exercises may very well get you over the hump.
J. Jacobs is a guest blogger and a writer on accredited online colleges for Guide to Online Schools.
Thanks so much, Jasmine ;o) Well folks, either hell has frozen over or there are pigs flying out of my butt… beacause I’m nearing the 200 follower mark. I know. I didn’t think it could happen either. So, I’ve decided I’ll be doing a contest! *bites nails* So far, I’m going to be giving away LINGER, by Maggie Stiefvater. I might be giving away another book and maybe some yummy treats. Oh and maybe (okay this is for sure) a BEAUTIFUL CREATURES pin too (I have two, but I’m keeping one!) So. Look for that soon!
Have a great weekend everyone. Do something fun!!
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I’m heading out again!
This time my hubs and I are both visiting my wonderful Crit Partner Jamie’s blog The Variety Pages! Wanna know a little more about my hubs and I? There’s even a pic of us! If so, head on over to Jamie’s fantabulous blog! While you’re there, check out her serial novel Indelibly Inked! Good stuff folks ;o)
I know I’ve been a bit of an absent blogger lately. I’m truly sorry. It’s been a little wackadoodle around these parts. I’m working on getting back to blogging regularly.
I did receive an awesome award while on hiatus. The super-sweet Ashelynn over at World of My Own bestowed upon me the Life is Good Award! It is isn’t it? *grin* Thanks so much, Ashelynn. Check out her blog for a glimpse into her wonderful little world! Welp. In order to accept this blog award, I must answer some questions she asked… so here it goes!
1. What’s your favorite genre to read? Why? Definitely YA Paranormal, really anything YA. I like Mysteries too, like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.
2. If you couldn’t write in the genre you do, what genre would you write in? I’d love to write a coherent Mystery Novel. (my attempt was futile)
3. Pepsi or Cola? Caffeine Free Coke
4. How do you like to spend your Sundays? Lounging around with hubs and doggies, reading.
5. Penguin or Giraffe? Penguin
6. What type of vehicle do you drive? ’05 Ford Escape
7. Would you lick a battery if your life depended on it? Sure.
8. When do you like to write – in the morning, in the afternoon, evening? Definitely late at night, my best thoughts crawl outta my crazy brain after midnight.
9. Which do you like more – Facebook or Twitter? Twitter! I’ve met so many great people through it. Love facebook too, but for connecting with people I already know ;o)
10. If you get hurt (like a scrape on the knee or break your arm), do you ask for a band aid? Yes, I don’t want it gushing onto my clothes. Ew.
This is a bit overdue but I was one of the winners in Shannon’s 500 followers contest! Woo hoo! Thank you Shannon! If you haven’t already (and I doubt that) check out her super entertaining blog Shannon Whitney Messenger, Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe.
Life is good with all of you in it, so feel free to take the “Life is Good” award ;o) Have a great rest of the week!
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I’m guest posting over at Dolly’s fantabulous blog Writer Revealed. She’s totally awesome, and so is her blog!
Wanna know why I write YA Paranormal? Wanna know how I got into writing at all? Check it out ;o)
By the time you read this I’ll be in Kansas City visiting with the fam!
Have a great weekend everyone. I miss you already ;o)
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We have a special surprise today – my friend and critique partner Jamie over at The Variety Pages is providing the post today – so I can be lazy… LOL – no not really, she’s been busy working on her own personal brand, and since she’s researched it quite a bit, and is beginning a weekly series called “Writer, Brand Thyself.” on her blog. I’ve asked her to guest post (my very first one!) She is knowledgeable, a great writer and it’s just a matter of time before her wonderful books will be on the shelves ;o)
Without further adieu – Jamie! *applause, cheers*
Establishing a Personal Brand
The word “platform” is bandied around the writing community as something mysterious and difficult that writers need to establish at some point. A platform is really just a body of work that establishes someone as a professional in a certain field, and for a fiction writer (like myself), that is something I can only accomplish by writing and publishing good books. Non-fiction writers can do this early through blogs, web sites, etc…but there’s really no way I can “prove” that I write good romantic suspense without actually writing and publishing it.
What I can do before publishing though is to start building my personal “brand” – the name recognition that will help market my books when they do start coming out. Social media makes this easier than it’s ever been, and all we have to do is participate. The only real problem with that is finding the time to be involved in networking groups and communities – time that we often don’t have to spare.
I work full-time (40 hrs per week), and though I don’t have kids, I still have dinner to make, household chores to do, a TV addiction, books to read, pounds to lose and my husband and pets to take care of. Add writing time to that (late at night) and my only option for getting it all done is multitasking. When I started thinking about actually selling my novels someday, I knew I had to start getting my name out there, and building up a network of potential readers. I decided to get serious about social media.
I started by re-inventing my blog, then joined Facebook and Twitter. It was hard to keep up with it all, so I started looking for ways to tie everything together and spend less time keeping up. Now I’m adding more networks to my list, and exploring all the ways I can make participating in each community as easily and efficiently as possible. Just recently I’ve added a personal web site (which is one of the least time-intensive ways you can get information out there after it’s set up), and I’ve also started a weekly newsletter – both of which I’m using to both solidify my personal brand and bring all my social networks together. I created both of those using fairly simple online programs (GoDaddy.com and Mail Chimp), and customizing templates to meet my needs. Planning is the key – everything I’ve done I’ve planned ahead to make it as efficient and easy to use as possible.
I know I’m not the only writer out there interested in building a personal brand before my books are on the market, so I’ve decided to create a series on my blog called “Writer, Brand Thyself”. Every Wednesday I’ll be posting about my experiences with social media and how I’m using different networks to make connections and promote my name as a “brand” as efficiently as possible (ie, without cutting into my writing time). I’m going to explore everything from choosing a name and where to start to using RSS feeds to connect networks with current information. If you’re interested, please join me, and hopefully we can all learn to “brand ourselves” together.
Thanks so much for inviting me to guest blog, Erica – what an honor!
Links: http://www.mailchimp.com/, GoDaddy.com
Aww thanks, Jamie! Thank you for stopping by and for sharing what you’ve learned ;o) Check out her blog The Variety Pages folks!
What do you think about your personal brand? Have you created one yet?
That is all – happy Tuesday ;o)
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