I’ve written two successful books and coached dozens of authors how to write a manuscript and develop a new book. Here are some writing tips I’ve used with clients that you might find helpful:
- Schedule your writing in blocks of time.
- Write about anything to get started. Focus on what interests you the most.
- A strong opening is the key to grab the reader’s attention.
- Start with your experience first. What’s in your frame of reference?
- Don’t lose momentum when you write. If it’s flowing, keep going!
- Write your primary teaching points first and add illustrations later.
- Pretend that you’re having a conversation with one person.
Staying Focused Through the Process:
- Create an outline and refer to it by keeping subpoints in view. Write within your outline to keep the content organized.
- When you get a new idea while working on a different topic, jot down a key phrase that you’ll remember later and move on. Don’t stop to work on multiple topics at the same time.
- Don’t edit or self-censor until later. If you edit, would readers really know the difference?
- Tell people what they need to know…not everything you know!
- Don’t hold yourself to a standard of impressing or mimicking other people…just write. The only opinion that matters is yours, your editor, and your readers.
- Writer’s block usually means you’ve got nothing to say or you’re unsure what to say. Decide what you want to say and writer’s block will disappear.
Developing Your Own Writing Voice:
- The less people you care about offending people, the freer your writing will be.
- The purpose of writing is to provoke people and make them think.
- When you write, be truthful and express a heart-felt concern for your reader.
- Imagine you are sitting an individual having a candid conversation. Write what you would say to that person in your own personality or style.
Pick the two or three tips you find most helpful and implement them this week.
Image courtesy of Thaikrit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Sheri Schofield says
Thank you for this blog, Rob.
When one writes a truthful book that offends the politics of one’s audience, marketing can be difficult. But I think we still have to write the truth. My husband suffered severe retaliation for standing against illegal activities in the military, and he is alive today only because I fought to save him. Though this battle involved the Pentagon, Congress, National Security, the President and ABC News, marketing the book about it has been difficult. Christians do not want to believe it happened in the military – their politics are mixed up with their faith. And the secular press isn’t interested in stories about Christians going through tough times. It is a long, slow process getting started! But I think truth keeps the book moving forward.
Ed Hird says
Very helpful and concise, Rob. Perfectionism and people-pleasing kill creative writing.
Cindi McMenamin says
Thanks for these tips, Rob. I like the way you broke them into Getting Started, Staying Focused, and Developing Your Writing Voice. I never really thought about how our writing voice can be freer if we’re not worried about offending people. Thanks again for the tips.