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!
During my free time, I sometimes take some freelance work from offers online. Lately, I had to write an article about personal injury physio. It was a simple, informative article that spoke about personal injury and how physiotherapy sessions helps someone recover.
I certainly did not know much about physio sessions and my knowledge of personal injuries are elementary at best, so I knew that I had to do a lot of research to write my article. An article about personal injuries and physiotherapy is considered a non-fiction article, and I am sure that many of you have written a non-fiction article at one point in your lives. After all, it something that is often required at school.
Create an outline
The first thing you will want to do is to create an outline. You will want to create an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. What I like doing in my writing is adding some chiastic symmetry – my introduction tends to be rounded off by the conclusion for a more put-together look.
I suggest that you try to put together an outline by writing a table. Write down all of your main points and then follow it up with subtitles. When I started writing for my physiotherapy article, I started by writing down all of my thoughts down on paper, and then organizing them into a comprehensive outline.
Prepare your research
Once you have an outline, you will have some idea about what topics you will want to research. I had to research about sports injuries and their corresponding physiotherapies. I started out by searching on the internet, using websites that I know are peer reviewed. I also chose to read books and science magazines for it, making sure that I am thorough.
When I research, I always have a notebook on me as well as a bunch of index cards, which I use to take note of my sources. Informative articles will always require you to cite your resources, so make sure that you can easily recall your resources when needed.
Find trustworthy sources
Blogs, encyclopedias, and other kinds of resources may seem informative, but are not trustworthy sources. You need to find sources that have been peer reviewed and checked for authenticity. When writing a non-fiction article, you have to be sure that all of your sources check out.
Learn MLA formatting
I like to use MLA formatting for my non-fiction articles because they are easy to read and standardised according to international formats. MLA is often used in research papers and other forms of serious media, so understanding how to properly use the format will help you a lot in the long run.
As a writer, I can spin words into lovely sentences, stories and paragraphs that can really make a page come alive. I can weave a nice little story, come up with a nice poem, write articles and blog posts that just make sense and flow as you read them.
Yes, there is no doubt at all that I am good at writing, or at least at this point I believe that I am decent enough. But truth be told… if it’s not something written, I often have problems. Yes… I am not shy to admit that if I have to talk, I become a total and utter loser.
When I say that I do mean it… I end up stuttering, I become a statue frozen there in front standing around and waiting for someone to rescue me—to say something in my behalf, to alleviate the tension and the awkwardness.
It’s sad that I can’t speak in front of a large group of people but that’s just the truth… And well, to be quite honest with you, I think that I need some training for general communication skills.
I’ll tell you about just a few of my public speaking moments. Haha. It’s a bit embarrassing, to be quite honest… but hey.
Stammered My Way Through a Pre-Written Speech
So another time I managed to get to the stage, I actually already had written a speech on some cards previously so that all I would have to do is read and deliver the speech. Unfortunately, as I was standing there with the spotlight on me as I tried to read the speech…
I ended up getting incredibly nervous. To the point where I actually ended up stammering even though all I had to do was read from a piece of paper. Embarrassing. But at least I got through that speech.
Got So Nervous I Tripped Climbing Up a Stage
This is the most embarrassing one of all, if I’m to be honest with you. While I was walking up the stage one time, I actually had the jitters so bad that I ended up stumbling over my own two feet. This happened in front of a huge crowd of people. See. Embarrassing right?
I’m not quite a big fan of it, embarrassing myself in front of everyone… Haha. But the only way that I can get over it is to just laugh it off… and so that was precisely what I did. You learn to laugh it off.
I’m going to get some communication training and see if I can manage to get better at this whole thing… I will report back in a while and let you know. Oh and I’ll tell you how the training goes too—just in case you’re interested too and it’s something you eventually want to do yourself. I wouldn’t blame you if it was—I always think that anything involving self improvement is good.
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.