5 Tips for Excellent Writing
6 Tips for Developmental Editing
6 Tips for Career Success

5 Tips for Excellent Writing: 

  1. Inspiration: to write well, your creative well must always be kept abrim. Some do this by gardening, others by reading, others by walking or running, or cycling. Whatever most inspires you and feeds your spirit, do it daily. Of course, as a writer you must read daily, and ideally excellent writing. But do other things, too, surprising yourself on occasion.
  2. Originality: if you have an original idea – use it, try it, play with it. Don’t let it slip away! Tawdry can be done any old day, but originality on one day feeds a lifetime of fresh ideas. 
  3. Craft: your craft will be different from the next writer’s. Why? Because your writer’s toolkit will be different: You had a different family, a different language unique to that family, a specific exposure to others socially, linguistically, a childhood map of experiences. You read a specific group of books in a specific order and experienced that reading according to your unique experiences, intelligence, sense of humour, empathy, morals, values. Your language and how you choose your words will be influenced by all this, as well as by all of the linguistic errors and prowess you have been exposed to – your craft is influenced by all of this and more in the strengths and weaknesses of the language you use daily, and in your writing. You build craft in writing by strengthening your weaknesses, and building upon your natural strengths. And attempting specific exploits in craft to greater and greater success.  
  4. Purpose: Some writing perhaps does not require any purpose other than to write well. But some writers – and I am among them – are at times motivated to write for a cause, or for protest, or for explanation, or to persuade. Consider purpose when you begin a project. Do you have a purpose? Do you have several purposes? Is it better in this particular case to have no purpose whatsoever than to express joy? Why are you writing this piece – to what purpose[s]? 
  5. Faith. One must have faith in oneself as a writer and give over to inspiration. Have patience and the story will unfold. Persevere. Discover the gold. 

 

6 Tips for Developmental Editing:

  1. Title: If you do not entitle your work with originality, precision, and distinction, it will be read by far fewer people. While you are working on the piece, choose a wild title for pure Hellry, just to feed your creative juices, even if you have found a perfect title already. Keep the perfect title a secret until you are finished [tell only your agent and publisher, smile]. 
  2. Chapters: They may change radically over the course of creation of your project, be switched around in order with development, but deciding upon the themes of the work, in advance, and brainstorming the plan for the book – this is a critical process. Fiction is somewhat different as there can be quite variant decision-making as you progress when utterly fresh ideas emerge and grow from the writing process itself; this can happen with either fiction or non-fiction. With either mode, fiction or creative non-fiction, you should expect this creativity and allow it in the writing phase [editing comes later; the harder, incisive decision-making]. But beginning with a plan, particularly if the book is non-fiction, as thorough planning can open up themes associated with the topic you may not have considered without giving due consideration to possibilities and researching these potential pathways. The concept and layout of your book should be given this due consideration before you begin to write, even if a fiction.
  3. Learn back away from the work when you finish the whole, and return when the eye is cool and appraisal possible. This may take days, weeks, months, even years. It depends on what is invested in the work in the way of the personal. 
  4. Be patient with yourself and with the work. Spend time to research and develop your ideas and knowledge base before you spend your days writing feverishly in perhaps the wrong direction. In point form, develop suggestions for each chapter, themes/actions/events/titles. Sense within yourself where and what themes you are excited to explore. Never try to write about a subject that does not motivate nor excite you.  
  5. Don’t be married to any roadmap. Even with a rough plan, or a detailed one, and an excellent concept, keep your mind OPEN at all times to a new framework should something expand, or turn your framework in a new direction. Back away and consider it. Does it strengthen the whole? Does it mean starting from scratch so it opens the writing roadway in marvelous fresh ways? Is this deeply meaningful? If it feels exciting, try that direction for an entire day or an entire week. You may not change direction, but the material gleaned may prove crucial. 
  6. Find yourself excellent 2nd readers – readers who are skilled and critical readers whose judgment you trust. They are your team. 

 

6 Tips for Career Success:

  1. Focus on your image: what message do you want to send by your image? This does matter. Break it down to the elements. Be you – authentically YOU. But do choose. 
  2. Imagine yourself 10 years from now. How do you want to be introduced at parties, at work, in the neighbourhood? By your friends, by your family? Where, in your trajectory professionally, do you wish to be then? Make that plan, but make it malleable. You might surprise yourself, or perhaps life will. Look at #5 above – don’t be married to a roadmap – but never lose your dreams. For dreams do matter.  
  3. Examine your education – what you have now, and what you plan to attain. What is truly going to make the difference for you in your desired career trajectory? What can you afford? What can you make happen by other means [scholarships? Work as you go?] Credentials matter, but there are the hard facts of cost in time and money. Plan it out. 
  4. Decide that in any given year that you are going to sharpen or learn from scratch 5 new skills [or however many]. Choose at least 3 that are in weaker areas for you, where you feel less confident. Do you hate public speaking or presenting? Challenge yourself. Make it a strength, seek feedback. Develop a habit to continuous learn. 
  5. Continuously network, naturally. Always request honest feedback, on any writing, or any input you give to any project. Give generously your own honest feedback, learning how to give this in such a way as not to insult, but also to not merely praise – unless of course, the work you are commenting upon is simply without fault. 
  6. If your career is writing, write every day. Read every day, ideally excellent writing that is relevant to the project at hand.