My Top 10 Writing Tips
You asked for them, so here they are! These are my go-to tips when writing and editing.
1. Write freely first, then go back and edit later.
This is the tip I have the hardest time following. It's tempting to perfect every sentence as you're writing, but you'll lose ideas and momentum along the way. Get your ideas out onto the page first, and then focus on polishing the writing later.
2. To lift a writer's block, just start writing about anything.
It doesn't matter what it is. The weather, your dog, your childhood stuffed animal. I once wrote a piece about a seashell I brought home from the beach. Just start working your writing muscle, and you'll be surprised what might come to you.
3. Read your writing out loud.
This is the best way to check for clarity and flow. Hearing your words spoken out loud can ensure there are no mistakes and that your writing is easy to follow.
4. Use transitions between different ideas and paragraphs.
Think, "How do these ideas flow together?" Make sure your reader can understand the connection between your sentences. And don't be afraid to summarize to make sure your ideas are clear.
5. Determine who your audience is.
Who are you writing for? Yourself, friends, clients, kids, writer's club, moms, women in their 30s, travelers going abroad, New Jersey residents? Being clear about this is so important in determining what to say and how to say it.
6. Have someone else read your writing.
Most times you need an outside perspective to look at your writing. Another person can find things you missed or let you know that something that made perfect sense to you does not to another person. It can be a friend, family member, partner, mentor, or editor (wink, wink). But remember to take their feedback as suggestions–in the end go with what feels right to you!
7. Use writing prompts.
Writing prompts are so great for providing a bit of structure or fueling your creativity. They could also be another way of working through a writer's block. It doesn't have to be regimented–if you're answering a prompt and it leads you in another direction, roll with it!
8. If you're trying to make writing a habit, attach another habit to it.
Every time you are going to write, for example, make yourself some matcha tea or put on a lo-fi beats playlist. Your brain will associate the tea or the certain music with writing time, and you'll be more likely to focus and get into the flow.
9. When proofreading, start at the end and read your sentences in reverse order.
Reading your writing backwards allows you to focus on the sentences individually and will help you find errors you might have skipped over while reading in the flow.
10. Release the need for perfection.
Everyone and everything is perfectly imperfect, so don't stress too much! You may never feel that a writing piece is "done," but it's better to share at some point than nitpick in private forever. And typos and grammar mistakes happen with everyone, even me!
My Favorite Reads
1. The Alchemist–Paulo Coelho
This is my favorite novel of all-time, and I read it for the first time not too long ago! It's a story about a boy who sets off on a journey to find his destined treasure. It's told simply, but the life lessons you can gain from it are profound.
2. The Untethered Soul–Michael Singer
This was the first "self-help" book I've read that completely changed my life. This book is about how you can achieve freedom by recognizing that you are separate from your mind. You are the observer of your thoughts, not your thoughts!
3. Man's Search For Meaning–Viktor E. Frankl
Heart-wrenching but uplifting, in this book Frankl recounts his experience at a concentration camp during World War II. He relates his observations and experiences to his psychological research on the meaning of life.
4. The Path Made Clear–Oprah Winfrey
I love me some Oprah. In this book Oprah talks about how the you can find your purpose, trust in your path, and follow it.
5. Eat Pray Love–Elizabeth Gilbert
This is a classic for me, and I've read it multiple times. It's an inspirational and honest memoir of Gilbert's year living abroad after a painful divorce and depression. I love her insights on spirituality, love, and what makes life worth living.
6. Life of Pi–Yann Martel
This is a novel about the life of a man who becomes stranded on a boat with a tiger in the middle of the ocean. The themes of the story involve spirituality, religion, and faith. A must-read for anyone interested in theology and spirituality!
7. The Book of Joy–Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, & Douglas Carlton Abrams
This book recounts discussions the two spiritual leaders and friends had about joy–how to cultivate it and spread it to those around you through compassion.
8. Discover Your Dharma–Sahara Rose
This book is about finding your life's purpose, or dharma. Rose outlines different archetypes and has a quiz for you to discover your dharma. So enlightening!
9. Think Like a Monk–Jay Shetty
In this book, Shetty, who was once a monk, describes and teaches all the lessons he learned during that part of his life. He talks about how we can improve ourselves by adopting these lessons.
10. Untamed–Glennon Doyle
This memoir is raw, emotional, and so so empowering. I still say Doyle's mantra to myself: "We can do hard things."
What do you think? Any questions about the tips? Tried any of them? Read any of my favorite books? Have a book recommendation? Found a typo? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram @nicolemarronediting. I'd love to hear from you!