Hello, writer. Yes, you!
Are you a blogger, marketer, or content writer? If yes, you might be interested in the writing tips from digital marketing pioneer Ann Handley. Simply put, her book Everybody Writes is the recipe for writing better in the digital world. I find it practical and love the tips and tools such as this title maker.
Pathological empathy makes you write well
I can write well for people like me as I know my needs. Yet, I feel difficult when writing for people who are different from me. Because I’m not naturally empathic, I will have to force myself to get to know other’s habits, needs, and goals. Understanding others takes effort to figure out why they behave and feel that way. Spending time with the target audience is essential to write well.
Find a writing buddy
Finding a writing buddy or a good editor is like finding a life partner. It may be difficult. But, it’s rewarding to have one. I’m still looking for a writing buddy. Let’s connect if you’re looking for one too. How do I self-edit? After developmental editing and line editing, I use an editing tool to make my writing more concise. I will check readability and grammar, and make sure it sounds natural. If you’re interested in great writing tips, check out On Writing, Writing Comedy, and The Element of Style.
Writing is stretching. It feels good to stretch a bit more daily.
Learned optimism: ABCDE
I love reading books about positive psychology. I feel optimistic after knowing some inspiring psychology experiments and findings. Learned Optimism is a good read. I’m happy that I have learned the ABCDE model which is an optimism tool to help us achieve the goals we set for ourselves.
When I did a test about my optimistic level, I thought I’m very optimistic. But the results show that I’m very pessimistic indeed. I was so surprised! It took me a while to accept that I had been wrong about how optimistic I was. I decided to redo the test with the ABCDE model in mind to see if I would get a different result. The second attempt was definitely cheating. But I didn’t care. I was curious to know if there was any change. The second result is… very optimistic. Ha! I learned optimism theoretically.
How do I use the ABCDE model in real life?
A (Adversity): I have a writer’s block
B (Belief): I am not funny so I can’t write funny stories
C (Consequences): I feel bad and stop writing
D (Disputation): Everyone has a sense of humor, although it may be different from others. My friends and I have the same sense of humor. Everything can be learned. Things are hilarious when there is incongruity and the timing is right. (What I’m trying to do here is to disagree my belief by coming up with alternative thoughts and finding evidences to disagree)
E (Energization): I read articles or books and watch videos about comedy writing. I watch sitcoms and comedy movies to get inspired. I have more confidence to use the comedic device in my writing. I try to write again, edit the story, and make it funnier.
The ABCDE model makes me keep going with an optimistic mindset. I feel good to work on my goals without any negative thoughts. You can try ABCDE if you get stuck with something. Stay optimistic, dear! You’re welcome to subscribe to my blog for more happiness updates monthly.
How to write a story or fiction?
I have read Stephen King’s memoir, which is about the craft of writing. I love it from start to end. It’s like listening to a piece of good music. Melodic, beautiful, and entertaining. I cherry-pick 3 quotes from the book, to sum up On Writing for you to have a quick read.
- Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work.
- The practice is invaluable (and should feel good, really not like practice at all) and that honesty is indispensable. Skills in the description, dialogue, and character development all boil down to seeing or hearing clearly and then transcribing what you see or hear with equal clarity (and without using a lot of tiresome, unnecessary adverbs).
- If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.
Show the story: narration, description, and dialogue
I have jotted down the points to note, for you to keep in mind while writing a story. These are the writing tips from Stephen King and his ways of writing fictions.
- Ask “what if” to build the narrative
- The good description usually consists of a few well-chosen details that will stand for everything else
- The use of simile and other figurative language is one of the chief delights
- You must tell the truth if your dialogue is to have resonance and realism
- The basic rule of vocabulary is to use the first word that comes to your mind if it is appropriate and colorful
- Use active voice instead of passive voice
- Avoid adverbs
- Leave it for at least 6 weeks before editing
- Check the spellings, unclear pronouns
- Look for what you meant and reinforce that meaning
Add metaphors or similes like a pro
I enjoy reading Stephen’s unique metaphors or similes, which he is good at using so as to enrich his writing. Here’re some examples:
- Writers are carpenters; writing skills are tools
- As your mind and body grow accustomed to a certain amount of sleep each night so can you train your waking mind to sleep creatively and work out the vividly imagined waking dreams which are successful works of fiction
- I believe stories are found things, like fossils
How do you like it if I show you a metaphor source which you can access online and get many good references? Dr. Mardy has created one for us, for free!
How to write comedy?
If you’re wondering how to write funny or you’re getting stuck on writing, go through the quick summary from Writing Comedy, which may help you break out of the prison in your mind:
Start writing what you want to write, what amuses you. Then learn to modify and improve it to reach a bigger audience.
- Work with other people
- Stay up to date with popular culture
- Have an opinion on everything
- Be a comedy consumer (watch sitcoms, comedy movies)
- Keep note of funny materials
- Anarchy: let yourself be anarchic and childlike, have crazy ideas like “The modest proposal” by Jonathan Swift (a satirical essay suggesting that problem of famine in Ireland could be solved by poor people selling their babies to rich landlords to eat.)
- People watching
- Negative emotions like frustrations of everyday life, which are great materials
- Gather comedy materials from socializing with friends, family, and all sorts of media
- Networking (find publisher, editor)
- Opposites (funerals and weddings; big and small)
- Misdirection (a twist in the end)
- Double entendre
- Rule of three
- Set up
- Small laughs
- Punchline (the surprise)
Create comedy characters:
- Fish out of water/neurotic
- Social climber/vulgarian
- What’s the characteristics and desires of characters?
- Give the character some sort of conflict—inner conflict, conflict with other people and conflict with society
- Give crisis and obstacles to characters
- Set time aside for writing
- Show in a comedic way, don’t tell
- Get personal (insults, embarrassment)
- Use specific vocabulary
- Don’t be too direct
- Read your work out loud to feel the rhythm (pause before punchline)
- Edit the draft
- Mark the laughs
- Fine-tune the ending
In short, entertain yourself first, get the joke done, and laugh out loud.
How to craft your writing?
If you would like to craft your writing, reading The Element of Style by William Stunk Jr. and E.b. White is a must. This September, I have been reading books about the craft of writing. I would like to recommend The Elements of Style. This is a good book about grammar rules and the style of writing, even Stephen King has highly recommended it as a good one without bullshit.
I’ll tell you right now that every aspiring writer should read The Elements of Style.
— Stephen King
Here are some of the suggestions, for helping writers or bloggers to develop their own style:
- write in a way that comes naturally
- write with nouns and verbs, not with adjective and adverb
- revise and rewrite
For more tips on how to craft, check it out and dive in.
The writing style of great writers
Ernest Hemingway’s simple and succinct writing style is the opposite of James Joyce’ complex and stream-of-consciousness writing. Style is like beauty. It’s subjective and has various ways. Writing style is your identity. It’s a part of you. So the takeaway point here is to write what you know and be yourself. That’s what Hemingway and Joyce did.