Tuesday Tips: Tips For Writers, From Writers

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Tuesday Tips for Writers
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Who better to give advice to writers than best-selling writers themselves? Here are some of little but useful snippets that we managed to glean from both secular and Christian writers. And if you have your own words of wisdom, why not share it with us in the comments section?

Don’t have high expectations – Seth Godin (Purple Cow, Tribes)

“Lower your expectations. The happiest authors are the ones that don’t expect much.” (Source)

Write one page a day – John Grisham (The Firm, Pelican Brief)

In an interview with Charlie Rose, he shares that he had a full-time job before he became one of the most successful writers of today. What he did was treat writing as a hobby first, writing one page a day in his spare time. He always tells aspiring writers that if they don’t write one page a day, nothing is going to happen. (Source)

Make your reader feel your adjectives – C.S Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity)

“In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers “Please will you do my job for me.'”

Don’t make it difficult for your readers – George Orwell (Animal Farm, 1984)

“Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”

Overcome your shyness – Philip Yancey (What’s So Amazing About Grace, Disappointment with God)

In a chapter of his book Soul Survivor, Philip Yancey says that writers should not think about the fear of being thought arrogant by your readers. Be confident in telling your stories to other people, especially if you have a unique perspective on things that can help other people grow in their faith. (Source)

Be passionate – Max Lucado (Fearless, Traveling Light)

Choose a subject that is so worthwhile that you yourself will be passionate about it.  And because you’re passionate about it, you will write without ceasing until it’s finished. (Source)

Read a lot – Stephen King (Carrie, It)

Whether it is to pick up new ideas or to know which pitfalls to avoid, it is important that you read a lot. Even if it means cutting back on other activities like watching TV or going on social networks, you need to read in order to become a better writer. (Source)

Don’t be afraid to “market test” in advance – John Maxwell (Developing the Leader Within You)

Before publishing his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, he shared the manuscript on his blog for a limited period and received over 100,000 hits. Because of the reader feedback, he made nearly 100 changes in the manuscript and was able to use 70 additional reader-supplied anecdotes. The lesson here is to not be afraid of your readers’ feedback. This can in fact fuel you to become a better writer. (Source)

Just publish – Jon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like)

When it comes to blogs, don’t wait until you think you’ve created the “perfect” blog or blog entry. “Perfect is a myth. It’s a poisonous myth. Don’t give in to it. Just publish.” (Source)

Allow time and experience for your ideas to mature – William Girao (How to Live the Way God Wants, It is Better to Be Single)

“Let your ideas first pass the test of time and experience. What may seem to you as a precious idea and a necessary corrective today for our society may be irrelevant ten years from now.” (To read his article about Why We Write, click here)

  1. Ardy Roberto says:

    Great tips! Thanks a lot! Was told by John Maxwell personally a simple tip: “Writers write!” Instead of a page a day, I set aside one day of the week for writing. I’d rather write 5-10 pages in a week than one page a day. I like getting into the zone. I can’t stop with just one page. Buhay na Hindi Bitin was written in one sitting–about 5 straight hours, I think. And then revisions and rewriting came later. Same with Pera na Hindi Bitin — about 3 days of writing for about 3-4 hours a sitting. Then the rewriting came in hourly bite sizes.

  2. benjie says:

    this is nice! i’ll be moving into another country and i need to improve on my English skills to easily find a job.

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