I know a lot of budding writers who ask how they should write a book, story, or poem — they want to be able to write effectively and efficiently, in order to get all of their ideas out there.
While there are some great writing methods out there, the truth is that it does not work for everyone.
Each writer has their very own style of writing, with different methods of how to put their ideas on paper.
When I first started writing my book, I had no idea where to begin.
I had to learn along the way and figure things out as I went, and let me tell you there was many times I just wanted to give up.
But I didn’t let myself. I persisted.
And after everything I learned here are a few tips that could help you too!
These days more and more writers are sprouting up like mushrooms coming up from left and right.
It seems the entire world has caught on to the fact that SEO makes money and as such it has spawned a gigantic and I do mean -gigantic- industry that only keeps growing each day.
Unfortunately the truth is there are quite a lot of writers too…and even though there is high demand, the supply is still too much.
So now it’s important for writers to be able to do everything and everything that their clients asks them to do.
I mean I’ve personally had to make sure that I was indispensable several times in the past and even then, job security still isn’t 100%.
That’s why it’s so important to be able to write about niches too because the truth is more often than not you are going to be asked to write about niches.
Being able to write about niches is more important than you think… And it’s not as easy as you might think either.
I almost went crazy thinking about how I’m going to be writing about golf breaks in France when I know nothing about A) France and B) Golf just the other day.
I managed…but it took me a good while. So here are my quick and dirty tips…
Just think you might find these useful in case that you find yourself tasked with writing about a niche—and you are very much likely to be.
What’s important is you do your research.
I had to read up on the most popular golfing spots in France… and of course the most popular golfers in the world. And I had to acquaint myself with the golf clubs and all the various golf terms and brands.
Sad truth is I’m very likely to forget all about this again…
and then I’m going to have to do all this research when I have to write about golf again—but at least I’ve bookmarked everything (I just hope it won’t be outdated by the time I have to write about this niche again).
If you’re writing about golf, you know it’s not really a good idea to be writing it like you’re teaching a class or talking to children.
Choose an appropriate tone so the article/blog post will be a pleasant read.
Sometimes even I can do nothing but simply hope for the best.
Yeah… I mean, even if I did all my research and wrote everything as good as I could, sometimes the client still might not be happy with it.
So I sincerely just end up hoping for the best. I’m sure that you can do much better, though—just roll with the punches!
Recently I had to basically write up all the content for a brochure for a playground equipment supplier.
All I had to deal with was the text as the graphics and images were the responsibilities of the graphic designer and the photographer respectively.
It’s their job to make sure that the brochure catches attention…and my job to make sure that it keeps that attention.
A brochure has to have content that is clear and concise, yet interesting enough to keep someone reading.
After all it is supposed to provide vital information regarding an event, a company, a service or a product (and so on and so forth) and act as a teaser to get the viewer/reader interested to see and find out more!
Some of us can’t always afford to hire someone to do the writing for the brochure for us. And in those cases it’s alright—there’s no need to panic.
Because creating brochures is really not as difficult as you might think.
I’ll use the brochure I recently had to make as an example to make things easier.
So what do you have to do when creating a brochure?
Before you can get started on writing the content, you first have to see if you can decide the theme and/or concept of the brochure.
This is something that you might have to do yourself if you are going at it alone, but if you are just part of a team creating the brochure then you will have to confer with others in order to make sure the theme of the brochure is agreed upon.
This is important as the writing will definitely be affected depending on the theme or concept of the brochure.
Oh and before I forget, for the company that I wrote for we decided that our theme would be playful, colorful… perfect to catch the attention of children and parents alike—kids might want playgrounds too…and they could ask their parents!
Write your first draft of all the content you want on the brochure. Of course if you are following a theme/concept for it, make sure that you follow along with it.
Change the tone of your writing to reflect the theme. Or perhaps add a little character to your writing. This is quite important in order to make sure that your brochure is cohesive and easy to digest for the people who will read it.
For example, for the brochure I had to write, I had to make things a bit more playful and more fun—after all I was writing for a company that supplies playgrounds!
Once you have written your first job, it is then important to decide on what is essential. Brochures are short.
So it is most definitely important to choose only the essentials for your brochure as you write it.
Edit, edit, edit—and slowly narrow things down to only the very important parts your brochure cannot and should not be without.
And of course the last thing you have to do is to proofread—this is a very important step.
Lending your brochure a professional air will be easier once you have made sure that all of your content is free of typo and grammatical errors.
We all know how difficult it can be to find writing work, particularly if you a) want it to pay well, and b) want it the effort you put in to be proportionate to the amount of money that you get.
But the sad truth is that more often than not you will end up having to take the first job that comes your way due to the fact that the offers may be few and far in between given all the competition we are likely to have.
So when you do get an offer and you have no choice but to write for that client, what can you do?
Well I recently had to take a job writing for medical negligence solicitors because I was really having a slow period and I needed the income. Now think about the fact that I have no interest whatsoever in that field–which pretty much means that any knowledge that I have about it is likely not enough to be able to write anything decent.
So how do I, or did I manage? Well let me talk to you about how I wrote for the negligence solicitors, and how you can write for any client as well.
Do Heaps of Research
Because I wasn’t quite familiar with the field my clients are in, I needed to do a lot of reading up and researching. Truth is that took the most time, since I can bang out a good hundred words in a matter of time.
But the important part was that everything I wrote had to be accurate, so I couldn’t compromise on this step at all. I read a lot! I think I read at least a hundred pages just so that I could write articles and be confident about what I wrote.
Read Similar Works
One good way to know what you can write is by looking up articles on similar topics and see how they did it. Learn by example and figure it out as you go… Truth is it is one of the best ways to learn–at least for me.
I read several articles and looked at the tone of the writing, the way they brought up details and incorporated keywords into the mix. Of course when you learn by example, don’t just copy what you saw–put your own spin on things.
One great way to make sure you are on the right track and that your employer or client will be happy is to ensure that you ask for feedback–that way you are able to amend and edit until both you and your client are happy.
If you get bad feedback or constructive criticism, learn to accept it and grow from it so that you can continue to improve yourself as a writer.
Of course you can just start writing and see how you go…that’s a good way to go about it too. And truthfully it’s one of the ways that I usually go about writing. But don’t forget about the most important thing–research!
School is about to start again and if you want to find some after school activities for your children (or perhaps your younger siblings, nephews/nieces or cousins) well, there are a ton of different things that you can do. But of course I always encourage everyone to go for… can you guess? WRITING!
I’m sure that didn’t come as a surprise for you. But then I always try to encourage people to get into writing. Why? Well, I happen to think that it is an incredibly cathartic process. It can be rather therapeutic.
Or, if you don’t want to do it full time, you can do it part time and make a little extra on the side. Not bad, right?
I don’t claim that I know all about after school activities, because I don’t, but here are the activities kids can do with writing—and I do happen to think these are all fun! Or maybe I’m just biased…that’s up to you and the children to decide!
I personally have always been in the newsletter club in all the schools that I have attended. It’s fun—you can be anything, depending on the level of responsibility and skill that you have.
I strove to be an editor, but I had also been a feature writer, a news writer, and yes, even a photographer. It was always fun because I got to attend all sorts of events, interview all sorts of people, and then at the end of the day I could write and write.
It was the best time of my life. Sometimes I’d focus on it so much that I got distracted from my schoolwork however, so don’t let this happen to your children!
Poetry Class or Club
If your child isn’t all too interested in writing news or interviewing people…then why not let them join a poetry club (or class!)? It’s fun learning to make things rhyme and learning to write things in metaphors.
That much I’ll confirm. Once in a while I still bust out my poetry notebook and write a few lines. It’s not something I think I’ll ever stop doing!
Creative Writing Class or Club
If your child has a bit of an imagination, then he or she will greatly enjoy creative writing class (or club, if there is one in their school)! Weaving stories and writing all sorts of things, unconventional or not, can be quite fun. It can even be a form of art.
Writing can end up being a hobby, and even a way of life for some people. Even with something as simple as chronicling one’s life. So why not let your kids start early?
Did you recently decide to write your own eBook? Doesn’t matter what it’s about could be a course in executive business coaching for example. The reason why doesn’t really matter either, whether it’s for you to sell and make money, or for you to disseminate information for free, or for you to tell a story.
You don’t really have to follow all of them either–write at your leisure, if that’s what you prefer–these next tips are generally just guidelines after all.
Decide on a Topic
Before you even get started writing, you need something to write about. So decide on what you want to write about. Or what kind of eBook you want to write. Are you creating a work of fiction?
Or perhaps a reference, a compendium about a certain disease or a certain topic. Once you have decided on your topic then the next thing you should do is to…
Start Doing the Research
Nothing good is ever done if you don’t do the research that needs to be done. You don’t want to be pulling facts out of your bottom, you want to make factual articles that people will appreciate because you’ve cited your sources and made sure that you can back any claims that you made up.
It’s a good idea to aggregate the research that you have done as well so you can come back to it any time. Use a clipboard app like Evernote to keep track.
A lot of people have talked to me before, saying that I must be so lucky because I’m a freelance writer and I get to work for myself. No need to wake up early in the morning, bother with the hassling commute to work, only to get yelled at by bosses who really couldn’t care less about you.
Well, I may be a freelance writer but I’m still a student, and that means I have to deal with the same thing, only I deal with professors instead of bosses. Bummer.
Sometimes though I deal with clients—sometimes they are recommended to me, other times they find me through my various online profiles. But regardless of how they find me I always try to present myself professionally. Why? Well…that one’s simple.
Because they find it easier to trust me with the work when they see and feel that I am professional. This is especially important as I am still a student—not everyone thinks I’d do good work as I am still in uni!
But a lot of people still do end up trusting me with work. That’s because I try to be as professional (like I said) and trustworthy as possible. If you want to do the same, here’s how.
For Meetings with Big Clients, Consider the Venue
When I have a meeting with a big client, I always remind myself to find a venue with business facilities for my client meeting in Leeds.
It’s really a great idea to hire a place to meet that will impress a client and really give them a great idea of you. I’ve gained several loyal clients this way. It may be initially expensive, but that’s really why I only do it for big clients.
You can hire a small conference room if there’s only going to be a few of you, or even just two of you.
Dress Appropriately, Even for Skype Meetings
I have found myself being scheduled for Skype meetings or interviews in order to secure clients in the past. It always benefited me to dress appropriately—proper long-sleeved shirt, tie, and sometimes even a suit jacket.
I don’t bother with pants, you know, as long as I don’t stand up then it doesn’t matter, right? The point is nobody wants to hold a Skype meeting with you only to see you disheveled, still in your pyjamas, and eating crisps in front of your computer.
Pitch Yourself Like You Would a Best Selling Product
This is something that you will have to find a good balance for. You want the client to be impressed. You want them to remember you and think about you and keep you top of mind when work needs to be done.
Meanwhile, here is a video about the Two Essential Things Professional Writers Do:
Sometimes, as a writer, you need to challenge yourself to keep yourself sharp. Some days you might end up getting writer’s block if you don’t keep yourself and your mind active, be it through practice writing or some other creative pursuit.
Personally on some days when I don’t feel like working on my current writing projects, I write something else because it helps me to keep the block away. After all nothing is worse for a writer or an artist than a creative block that just ruins everything.
If you need a few writing exercises you may want to look at the few that I do below, so that you can have an idea of what you can do to keep yourself on your toes. I know these methods work well for me, but you might find methods that would work much better for you than these. Just try something and find something you like.
You can use prompts written on index cards as a great way to start your story. Prompts can be something as simple as a word or a phrase, or even a sentence. You draw a prompt from the cards and then write something around that prompt—a story, a drabble, a poem, it doesn’t really matter.
Meanwhile here’s certain warming exercises before writing up:
Prompts can be something like ‘the best dry food to feed your cats’, and you have to fit that into something. So you can write that into a story about cats, or even an article—a blog post, whatever it may be.
There are many prompt a day challenges that you can do, with the prompts already available online. There may even be websites for prompts. Some of them can even be themed, so you can have your choice of what kind of a prompt you want to write, and what direction you want to take it in.
Short Story or Poem a Day
Another way to keep yourself sharp is to write a short story or poem a day. You can actually write whatever kind of thing you like—you can include write short stories to include in an anthology, or whatever you prefer.
Just make a commitment to write something everyday, no matter what it is. Commit to a thousand words a day, five hundred, whatever you are comfortable with and feel you have enough time for.
If you feel ready to commit to a significant writing project, you can try your hand at NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for national novel writing month. Even though it says “national”, you can join it form wherever you are around the world.
The goal is to write a novel in one month—the month of November. There is a goal of around fifty thousand words, but you can feel free to exceed it if you feel inspired. At the end of November you can have a novel, your first novel perhaps, if you have committed enough to writing at least two or three thousand words per day.