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Tips For Writers

Writing Tip #1

When taking a course from Stacy Dymalski, author of Memoir Midwife, she tells her student that there comes a time when you have done all the necessary preparation, research and such and it's time to just 'sit your butt down in the chair and write'.

There is definitely merit in this saying and nothing really happens until you write it down.

Writing Tip #2

There are many ways to begin, but you need to start. I find that beginning with an outline is very helpful. I begin by jotting down a bulleted list of ideas, then I begin to arrange the list – ordering the ideas into how I see the story working best. Then I add verbiage to the bulleted outline until I have the start of the story. Then it’s a matter of rinse and repeat.

Writing Tip #3

Starting with my outline or bulleted list, I begin arranging these ideas into a more formal outline – pseudo chapters at this point. This step can be a bit of trial and error, but don't be discouraged. To help here I use the outline format or bulleted list, combined with what has been termed 'Affinity Diagraming'.

Don’t let the term confuse or scare you as affinity diagraming is nothing more than grouping (organizing) the large number of your ideas into their relationship or likenesses to one another. I find that when I have many ‘like’ items grouped together it’s easier for me to see chapters of a book unfolding. Additionally, once you see the liked items grouped, you might want to label that group and that labeling might just become the chapter title.

Writing Tip #4

Many people have asked the question of – how do I know I am progressing enough, or how can I measure my progress while I am writing, or even what writing goal should I set for myself. I have spoken with many authors and though each might have their own measures that they gauge their work by, there are a couple of basic things that I have discovered. For the most part most writers fall into two categories – either word counters or page counters. I fall into the later.

A page can be anywhere from 250 – 450 words depending upon page size, picture or graphics, font size, do you skip a line between paragraphs, etc. And I found that many authors consider they have made daily progress if they are producing 1500 + words per day or roughly right 5+ pages. Some set the bar much higher at 5,000 words a day or approximately 15+ pages per day.

Writing Tip #5

Remember the thought that the first chapter sells the current book, and the last chapter sets you up to sell the next book. Always leave them wanting more.