READ: It’s no accident that the best writers are passionate readers. Find what you love to read. Go to the library. Splurge at the bookstore. If you travel, consider getting a Kindle or a Nook. But find your way to the books that touch you deeply and make you want to write.
FIND YOUR METHOD: And go there! Do you like to start with an image, sound, color or story? Are you attracted to characters and mapping out their features first? Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, it’s good to identify where you are most likely to start writing.
FIND YOUR INSPIRATION: I am often inspired by news pieces (they get me thinking), nature and always, poetry. Tap into your innate sense of flow. A good role of thumb? If you can’t stop thinking about something, write it down.
LOOK TO WHERE THE TENSION IS: Don’t avoid opposing viewpoints or difficult details in your writing. As writing instructor Anne Bernays advises, “write where it hurts.” Such details are a writer’s best friend. They will build up your most powerful writing muscles especially when combined with the next tip.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF SELF DOUBT: Let it work for you instead. Tough questions will take some time to tackle, but it’s worth it. If you dash off a draft in twenty minutes, question yourself. Here is where an editor is particularly useful. The process behind the best pieces of writing almost always requires revision and engages alternative points of view, whether fiction or non-fiction.
TAKE YOUR NOTEBOOK OR I-PAD WITH YOU: Taking notes will help you remember or record the raw material you might need when you switch on your laptop. Did the sunset stop you in your tracks? Did a radio interview make you want to call in and say something? Write down what and why.
LOOK TO YOUR SENSES: Help your readers to smell, taste and touch the experiences you describe. We experience life through our eyes, hands, nose, ears and mouth. There is no end to the words and phrases that can come from this exercise.
IF YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT PUBLISHING YOUR WRITING, WORK WITH A PROFESSIONAL EDITOR.