10 Tips to Improve Your Writing 9/18/2020

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by Carmen Peone

Keep a notebook handy.  

I keep a notebook and index cards by my bed and a notebook in my purse. I also keep my phone on me when I ride horses and email myself notes, which is good for my horse to have to stop and be patient. 

I have a few inexpensive notebooks laying around just for thisOne was a gift and I use it to log ideas, bits of dialogue, character descriptions, and ideas for new stories. 

Write here and there during the day. 

As a writer, I bet you have days when the words flow from your mind and through your fingers. And also have days when nothing seems to flow. Or even trickle.

Time of day may be the culprit. What is your most productive time? For me, it’s in the morning. What time of day do you find is your highest productivity? Let that time be set aside for when you need your creativity the most.

Write in shorter time slots. 

Do you get stiff after an hour or two of writing? Boy, I sure do. My neck and back can feel like they are on fire. What might work better is to write for thirty minutes and take a break. Not only does this work better for your health, according to the Pomodoro Technique, it does wonders for productivity. 

Plan, plan, and plan some more. 

The reason I say plan and not outline, because not all of us are outliners. I use both the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson and Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell. Both are excellent methods to write from if you are not an outliner. 

Write by hand. 

This slows your mind down and allows you to create a deeper emotional bond with your story. I wrote by first three novels by hand and now I plan each one with paper and pen. From working in the school system, I learned students retain more information by doing so. It sure works for me. 

Give yourself permission to write like crap. 

At least at first. Let your creative mind take over in the beginning. When done, you can comb through the junk and find the gems and polish them. That’s the beauty of editing. Your writing will be better when you relax, write, then edit. 

Know your readers.  

Who is she? What is his age range? Why does she care? For my Young Adult books, I kept one particular student in mind and wrote for them. Doing so, my writing became more intimate. 

Take time to understand what your protagonist wants from the story and what hopes and fears she may share with your readers. 

Write Daily. 

If you want to sharpen your writing skills, write frequently. To get better at anything, practice. 

Writing daily is about teaching yourself how to be a professional and think as a writer. 

Listen to your work. 

Many people read their work out loud. For me, I let a voice in Word read to me and follow along.  

Hearing the words allows you to check for authenticity. I catch a lot of jumbled sentences this way too. I learned from working with Jerry Jenkins to write with common words for a smooth story flow. Readers need not trip over pretentious writing.  

Use a tool like Grammarly or ProWritingAid. 

I use both of these to help catch those pesky grammar mistakes, echoes, and spelling errors.  

What tip has helped you the most?  

About the Author:

Carmen PeoneCarmen Peone has lived in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She owns and trains her horses and competes in local Extreme Challenge and Mountain Trail competitions. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. With the love of history and western woman lifestyle, she brings stories of hope, family, relationships, and faith to her novels.

These books were a labor of love, especially the second edition of the True to Heart Trilogy. Thank you to my cover model, Shayna Palmanteer of the Colville Confederated Tribes, for your willingness to be a part of this adventure. Visit my website for information on the workbooks that go along with my young adult books at https://carmenpeone.com/books/.

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  1. Melody

     /  September 18, 2020

    Good information.

  2. Thank you, Melody! I hope it blesses you.


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