Three Key Ways to See Growth In Your Writing
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,
Grace A. Johnson
RALLY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *screams really obnoxiously like it’s a pep rally instead of a quiet, introverted writers’ rally*
ANYWAY. This post was, again, as always, FANTABULOUS!!! (I think they get better every time! :D) And I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE RALLY I AM SO EXCITED IT IS GONNA BE EPIC HOW IN THE HECK AM I GONNA LIVE UP TO HANNAH CURRIE AND MELANIE CELLIER ON HERE OMGOSH I FEEL LIKE A FLIPPIN’ PEASANT!!!!!!!
Super excited to see the cover you may or may not have designed for an upcoming anthology that yours truly may or may not be publishing. 😉
YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT IS RALLY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *grabs bullhorn and shouts because I am totally treating this like it’s a pep rally* Okay but… “quiet, introverted writers’ rally” LOL. *laughs* I love that. But since I’m the extrovert, does that make me like the self-assigned leader of the introverted writers. XDDD
Awwww THANK YOU SO SO SO SO MUCH GRACIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Awww, that means SO much to hear that! THANK YOU!!!!) I CAN’T EITHER IT’S GONNA BE SO EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hahaha, if YOU’RE the peasant, what does that make me, the girl who has never published a novel yet deems herself worthy to give writing advice???? BUT YOU’RE POST IS GONNA BE JUST AS GREAT!!!!!
Yessss!!! Me too!! LOL. Love that! Hehehe now you’ve given me an idea for me cover reveal post…
Grace A. Johnson
YASSSSS!!! BAHAHA!!! Oh, absolutely. We need someone to guide us out of our quiet little hovels and into the real world. XDDD
YOU ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WELCOME!!!!!!!!!! YES!!! Pft, you’re the peasant’s twin sister, that’s what! Which is the greatest honor EVER, just so you know. XD AW I HOPE SOOOO!!! (Speaking of, check Hangouts. I may have sent you part of it for review…)
OOOOOH I CAN’T WAIT!!!
LOL. XD Though not sure if I’m the best one to lead people into the “real world” XDDD
YESSS!!!! The peasant’s twin sister IS the greatest honor ever!!!!! (And I am SOOO excited for your guest post to be live on TWN. It’s gonna be epic!)
Rose Q. Addams
I WILL BE HERE!!
That looks SO cool!
(Also, adding A Midnight Dance to the TBR as we speak)
*GASPS WITH YOU* 😉
YAAAAAAYYY THAT MAKES ME SO THRILLED TO HEAR!!!!!!!!!
Aww THANK YOU ROSE!!!! I hope it’s as awesome as it looks!
(YESSS DO IT, SISTER!!!!! That book was AMAZING! I’m still sobbing happy tears from it. I think you’d really like it.)
These are great tips! When I read the write, write, and write one, I just wanted to go and write!
I’m really excited about the writers’ rally! That’s such a cool idea, and it sounds amazing! The Four Kingdoms series is my favorite, so I’m really excited to hear from Melanie Cellier!!
Aww THANK YOU ELLIE!!!! Hahaha, so it worked then. XD I was totally trying to manipulate y’all’s brains to go write. 🤣 *realizes how creepy that sounds and considers deleting it since online you can’t always tell I’m joking* *shrugs and moves on* Hehehe honestly now I just want to go write. XD Just out of curiosity, did you ever write?
Aww THANK YOU SOOO MUCH, girl!!!!!!!!!! YES!!! I hope it turns out amazing, but seriously THANK YOU!!!!! I’m just grinning from ear-to-ear right now! YES!!! I’m VERY excited to share Melanie Cellier’s interview! It’s gonna be epic! (And The Four Kingomds series is a GREAT read! I’ve only read The Princess Companion so far, but it was AH-MAY-ZHING, and I need to continue the series. Max is my baby.) Thank you for stopping by!
Okay…I’m officially super excited about the rally!!! Eeeek! I’m so excited! (Also, hig great to see you! Between my inconsistent comments and busy schedules it’s been a while.) Ack, so such great tips! This is such a good post! Love it! And I am so excited about Nano this year…hopefully I can actually *ahem* finish my project.. lol…
EEEEEEK THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOO MUCH KAYTI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t say how happy I am to hear that!!! ME TOO!!!!! (Hahaha yes, long time no chat! Yikes, the pain is real. I feel like I’m so inconsistent in the blogosphere now than what I used to be. *sighs* Why must life be so time-consuming?) THANK YOU!!!!!!! Yaaaay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!!! OOOOOOO YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!! You can do this! *sends motivating chocolate* I wish you the best of luck as you finish that project! GO KAYTI GO!!!!
*meep* Teen Writer’s Rally? THAT SOUNDS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE AHHHHHHH I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *happy squealing noises*
Ooo this post was so awesome and helpful, girl!!! I knew about the reading great books and reading books in/outside of a genre, but I had never thought of reading “terrible” books being an advantage! That’s a really smart idea. XD
“The BEST way to get better at writing… is by actually writing.” Wowww Issabelle, what a statement. Lol jk I’m just messing with ya. XDDD You actually had some amazing, valuable insight in that section. <33 And yeah getting feedback is important to do. Oy and what's this? *eyes statement that talks about the upcoming post on getting beta readers* Now that sounds good!! Can't wait for that post!! XDD
(*reads last paragraph and cackles because I know what anthology you're talking about already and is super excited to see the cover* XDD)
YESSSSS!!!!!!! AAAAHHHHH THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH EMMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope it turns out just as incredible! I am VERY excited for it!!!! *squeals*
THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!!! It’s always such a delight to hear it was helpful! YES!! Reading terrible books is only a piece of advice I’ve heard like once, but it’s something I’ve believed for a while now! Though not always, sometimes it can be very useful just to see what NOT to do. (Plus, it usually makes me feel better cuz I’m like my book is nowhere near as terrible as that. XD) Aww THANKS!!!! Hahaha I KNOWWW so deep and powerful, amiright. XD I’m just flowing with wisdom. Aww THANK YOUUU!!!! IT IS!!!! Yesssss!!!! It’s a post I’ve been wanting to do since before TWN went inactive, so I’m hoping to get that post together if not in November, than at least by December! Yaaay THANK YOU!!!!! If you’re looking for beta readers soon, I’m really confident this post will have some fantastic advice!
(hehehehe Oh I wonder what anthology that could be. XDDD YAAAY!!!!! I’m honestly super nervous about this cover reveal, since I designed the cover. *tries to take deep breaths* I hope everyone likes it. 🙂 ) Thank you for stopping by!
I’m so excited for the TWN Rally…that seems like it will be amazing! You’ve got some great people lined up.
Great tips! These have definitely been useful whenever I’ve applied them in the past. I could always stand to improve more though!
EEEEEEKK THANK YOUUUU GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m SOOO excited too! I’m like nearly counting down the days! Woohoo!!! I hope it is!!! Aww THANK YOUUU!!! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 😉 I hope to share the full lineup this Friday.
THANK YOUUUU!!!! Yess!!! They are tried-and-true tips, I think! Yes! I’ve found them very useful too!! Yeah, same here, sister! I feel like, as writers, we can always grow just a bit more or write just a bit stronger. But a lot of that happens with time, I suppose. Thank you so much for stopping by!
AWESOME post!!! And I’m so excited for the Teen Writers’ Rally!!! 😀 😉
THANK YOU SARAINA!!!!!!!!!! EEEEEKKKK I AM SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT!!!!! I’m very excited too! It’s gonna be epic! *pumps fist in the air* Thank you for stopping by!
Eep! A rally sounds so exciting! Can’t wait for October 24th. And thanks so much for these tips 🙂
EEEEK THANK YOU SO MUCH, Lily!!!!!! I hope you enjoy it. 🙂 I’m having a blast putting this idea together and can’t wait to share it with everyone on the 24th!!!!!! Aww you’re very welcome! Thank YOU for reading!!!!
*GASPETH* A…A…A RALLY!?!? WITH SOME OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS!?!?! ON MY FAVORITE BLOG!?!?! RIGHT HEEEEERE!?!?!?!?!? *HIGH-PITCHED SCREAMS* *HYPERVENTILATES* *PASSES OUT* *REVIVES TO SCREAM SOME MORE* OH MY GOODNESS YOU GUYS THIS IS SO EPIC AND HAS TO BE THE EPITOME OF EPICNESS AND I’M SO EXCITED AND HOW WILL I EVER SURVIVE UNTIL THEEEEEEEN!?!?! *takes a deep breath* Y’ALL. ARE. THE. BOMB. I just can’t believe this!!!! *ABSOLUTELY MARKS CALENDAR* Oh man oh man, you guys ROCK. If no one thinks this is the Best Writing Blog on the Block then something is wrong with them just sayin’. XDD
Also, THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUU for the tipssss!!! Those are super duper helpful! And I’ve found that YES MA’AM reading DEFINITELY helps with writing. I tend to write way worse if I haven’t been reading a book consistently at the time. XD
(Aaaaaand back to the rally cuz I just have to say…that countdown box at the bottom is SOOOO cool!!! *happy pants* I think I’m just gonna visit TWN every day to see the number change.) XD
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK VICTORIA YOU SHOULD’VE SEEN MY FACE AS I WAS READING THIS COMMENT. IT HAS MADE ME THE HAPPIEST. I LOOOOVE YOUR REACTIONS TO HEARING ABOUT THE RALLY. IT IS LITERAL GOLD. I HOPE IT’S AS AWESOME AS YOU THINK IT WILL BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know riiiiight! I have been bursting with excitement since I got this idea in August, and it’s like it will never get here! D’awwwww girl you’re the sweetest. THANK YOU!!!!!! EEEEEEK You’re excitement is so contagious! Hahahaha you tell them, Doggie Vicky. XD We’re the Best Writing Blog on the Block. XD
YOU”RE SO WELCOME!!!!!!!!!!! Thank YOU for reading!!!! Yaaaay! I’m glad they were helpful! YES!!! Girl, I 100% second that! My writing is always the best (especially sentence structure wise) when I’ve been doing consistent reading. It’s the best way to grow in your writing because it’s like your favorite authors who have gone before you, are sitting there teaching you how to write amazingly!
(Hahaha. THANK YOUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aaaaaah that is awesome! I love that! When I’m on TWN and I see the countdown, I get both nervous and excited! Excited cuz I can’t wait, and nervous because I’m not ready for it to be happening so soon. There’s like too much I need to get done in the 48 hours left until it begins. XDD)