Heya, TWNers! So I know the last couple of weeks we haven’t been the best with being consistent, but there’s a very good reason for that. I and the girls at TWN have been working on something pretty exciting! It’s the biggest event TWN has ever hosted, and we’re doing it at the end of this month for Preptober as many writers are preparing for National Novel Writing Month in November. But, whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo or not, it still will offer beneficial writing advice. So what IS this super big event? Teen Writers’ Nook is hosting our first ever…
Teen Writers’ Rally!
What exactly is that? Well, I have no idea. It’s something we made up. But basically beginning October 24, you will be getting writing tips, tricks, and encouragement every day for two weeks. But wait. It gets even cooler. Not only will you be getting posts from TWN, you will also be getting guest posts and interviews with several incredible authors/popular bloggers, including Melanie Cellier, Jenna Terese, Hannah Currie, Grace A. Johnson, and so. many. more! And it’s all happening right here on your favorite writing blog. (And if we’re not your favorite… *glares* ) More details and the full lineup of authors are to come very soon, but until then, mark your calendars for October 24th!!! We hope to see you then!!!
Now, let’s jump into today’s post! Do you want to make growth with your writing but you’re unsure how? You try so many different techniques, yet nothing seems to work. Or maybe you’re overwhelmed by all the different types of advice and resources available on what you should or shouldn’t do and now writing is more work than fun. Join me today as I offer three key ways to see growth in your writing!
#1. Read Everything
No doubt, you’ve probably heard this advice before. What better way to improve your writing than from learning by those who have gone before. It is so important for writers to be reading because that is how we can study great stories. Learn from those stories you love and break them down. Studying what the author did that worked and what didn’t work. What techniques did the author use that made you love this character? How did the author hook you into the story early on? Why did this scene make you cry or that scene make you laugh? While you’re probably familiar with this advice, I’m going to take it one step further.
It’s not just about reading, but it’s about what you’re reading. For instance you want to:
Read Great Books:
If you’re going to be using books as your ultimate study guide on how to write an amazing novel, you need to make sure you’re learning from great books. Try favorite classics, award-winning books, bestsellers, popular ones in your genre, but also keep in mind that there are “hidden gems” in the publishing world, so the amazing books in your genre might not even be the well-known ones! Don’t be afraid to try something new.
Read Terrible Books:
This might seem like a complete contradiction of what I just said, but hear me out. I’m not saying to intentionally seek out terrible books, but don’t be so focused on finding great books, you’re scared to try something that might be terrible. I’ve read amazing books and ones that didn’t quite do it for me, but I wouldn’t say those “terrible” books offered no help at all. On the contrary, they showed me what not to do in writing. So if you find yourself in the middle of a book that isn’t all that amazing, still study it and see what the author did or might not have done that could have been changed to improve the story!
Read Books In Your Genre:
There are few more important things than to make sure you’re reading books similar to what you write. Certain genres have a certain set of rules. For instance, you’re not likely to find a contemporary romance read with a sad ending or a fantasy novel that didn’t have some form of worldbuilding. By reading books in your genre, you’ll learn a lot about the dos and don’ts of writing in this genre, and it will help you improve your craft. Plus, it might give you some inspiration for your own work-in-progress.
Read Books Outside of Your Genre:
We’re back to the contradictions, but I cannot stress how important this is. Think about your favorite book. Most likely, you’re going to notice that this book might be categorized into one genre, but it also has sub-genres. Reading books outside of your genre will help you come up with ideas and learn some of the tricks in writing these sub-genres. For example, let’s use a book I just recently read that was incredible: A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano. While this is an adult Christian historical fiction novel, it has a lot of subplots. First off, this book is set in the 1800s and has a ballerina as the main character. While these are not specific genres, reading books set in that time period or with a ballerina main character can definitely still help in the writing process (though you wouldn’t use it as your main source for information). Next, you’ll notice this book has a romance and mystery subplot. And it wasn’t just an author’s very terrible attempt at another genre, like I’ve seen before. Politano clearly knew what she was doing, as each subplot was as well-written as the main plot with the main genre. These are two other genres the author could be reading that could help strengthen the book overall. This is why it’s so important to be reading books in your genre AND outside of your genre. Your book is more than just a quick classification. Every book has layers to it, and most likely you’ll realize that yours does as well!
#2. Write, Write, & Write
The BEST way to get better at writing… is by actually writing.
I know this may sound obvious, but think about it. Often, writers find themselves so busy learning all they can about the craft, taking in every little new piece of knowledge, that they forget to do the seemingly obvious.
To actually write.
But without taking the time to sit down and start stories, you’ll never be able to improve. An artist can’t learn to paint without paining. A musician must take hours to practice his/her instrumment. And a writer should take time to write. Just like with reading, write anything and everything. You don’t have to stick with only your genre or stories you think can be published or following the “publishing trends.” You don’t even have to just write novels. Write what you want to read. Have fun. It’s your time to explore and learn what you love. For instance, if I had stuck writing the one genre I thought I wanted to publish in—if I hadn’t spent time trying out other styles and genres—I never would’ve changed my genre (several times) until I found the one I truly loved—historical fiction. So take risks. Write, write, & write! You won’t become a brilliant writer on your first try. Trust me, if it was that easy, we’d have more authors in the world. But if you continue to show up, if you continue to take time for practicing your craft, and if you never, ever stop writing, just wait. You’ll be seeing crazy amounts of growth in no time!
#3. Get Valuable Feedback
My last and final tip if you’re trying to see growth in your writing is to get valuable feedback. You can learn all the rules in the world, but there is something truly beneficial about having a trusted writer friend, mentor, even an editor to look over your work and help you see your writing strengths and weaknesses.
You may not be ready to get feedback on your writing yet, and that is okay. If you’re still trying to learn the craft and discover your style, don’t rush to get to this step until you are ready for it. Receiving honest, valuable feedback is not easy, especially the first time. However, once you are ready for this next step in your writing, I cannot stress how important it is. As a writer, you are not very likely to see areas you can improve that an outside reader will be able to spot. Even from having a round of beta readers on a novel, you might very well be surprised with how much growth you find in your own writing. Are you considering getting beta readers on your novel soon but not sure what to do or where to find them? Well, keep an eye out on TWN because I have post about that very topic coming up soon, though it will probably be after the writer’s rally.
So you want to see growth in your writing? Read everything you can. Never stop writing. And look for ways you can get feedback on your work. In no time, you’ll be writing like one of the pros!
Chat with me below in the comments. Do you have any thing you do to help grow your writing? What’s the genre and subgenres of your WIP? Have you ever considered getting feedback on your writing? Are you excited for the writer’s rally? If so, what’s one thing you hope to see?
Tune in this Tuesday to be one of the first to see the cover for an upcoming anthology that yours truly may or may not have designed. And join me next Friday for a post where I invite you to help prep for National Novel Writing Month with me!
Until the next post,
Keep on being awesome and never stop writing,