10 Tips for Writing

“gray and black fountain pen and book” by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Inspired by this list of 10 writing tips from Jeanette Winterson (Brain Pickings), I decided to come up with a list of my own. My 10 tips for writing, listed in random order, are below:

1. There is a reason why you write; one that is stripped bare of results and expectations. Visualize this reason and internalize it. This is your Writer’s Soul; it will guide you back to your path when you’ve lost your way.

2. To write well, you will write horribly. This is an unavoidable truth. Every writer has shadow work — abandoned projects, notebooks and computer files of crappy pieces. Only the most polished work is made public. Remember this when you are discouraged.

3. There is writing that feeds the soul. There is writing that nourishes the body. They sometimes flow into one another; avoid confusing one with the other.

4. Writing, at its core, is a path of discovery — of self, of the world, of information, etc. — through record-keeping. The path is personal. Your path is unique. Remember this when tempted to compare your journey with another’s. Resist comparisons.

5. Choose your values and stick with them.

6. Become familiar with established rules but make your own.

7. Trust the process. Trust your Writer’s Soul (see 1). Trust yourself. Be patient.

8. Go as far as you can into the darkness — and come back. Always come back. Do not use writing to abuse yourself, as punishment for past wrongs or foolish behavior. Writing should be healing.

9. Learn to recognize when a project is finished. Learn when to ignore your inner critic. No written work is ever perfect — perfection is a false destination.

10. Remember to have fun and to enjoy the work. Writing is an extension of the Self; it should be full of love and life.

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