You’ve decided to take the plunge and become a writer. You may want to write a book, or become a blogger. Either way, now you’ve made the decision, you wonder where to start. Below are a few tips which have helped me.
Writing Tip 1
If you’re planning on writing a book, in particular fiction (that’s what I can relate to), you may want to start planning your storyline and plots to guide you through chapter by chapter. Or you may have an idea in your head and simply want to write and see where it takes you. (See my other blog post on Planner or Panster?).
Writing Tip 2
Once the storyline is planned out, you may want to delve more into character development. Physical appearances, emotional attributes, their background and how it affects the storyline you are planning out. Again, you may want to just have a vague idea in your head and see where you end up. I didn’t do much in character development because I knew in my head what they were like, but did develop them more at the point of self-edit number one.
Writing Tip 3
Notebooks. I have several notebooks on the go, planning various aspects of what I am doing. I have a notebook for my first novel, in which I have jotted down notes on what happens in each chapter. I made the notes as I read through my manuscript as part of my initial edit and it helped me to find discrepancies in my timeline and storyline. As a panster, I found this a particularly useful exercise.
I have a notebook with ideas noted for blog posts and blog posts I have already covered. Another notebook is all about my social media and what I plan to post on my social media accounts.
Writing Tip 4
Software and online tools are available to help you through the editing process if you decide to self-edit. I use Hemingway Editor (see link below). It helps to find sentences which are hard to read, adverbs for which heavy use is generally frowned upon in writing, passive voice and other issues. The issues this tool picks up are colour coded which helps them to stand out. I use the online version and whilst it took a bit of getting used to, I did find it a helpful tool. I must admit, I did ignore some of the suggestions and problems it highlighted. That may or may not have been the right choice, but I’m willing to go with my gut instinct. There are other options available so if you wish to make use of an editing tool like Hemingway Editor, have a browse online and compare to see what best suits your needs and budget.
Social media is wonderful and it’s also a good idea to start trying to build an audience for yourself and promote your name before you publish. You can self-publish through a choice of platforms, or you can aim for traditional publishing. What you choose to do is your own choice. But, build your author brand as soon as you can. I’ve started doing mine once I completed my manuscript.
Social Media Tip 1
Social media manager apps help to organise posts on your social media accounts. You can draft and save them, then schedule them to post automatically for you at a time of your choosing. There are lots of social media manager apps to choose from, I use Hootsuite (see link below) because I had used it in the past and because I like the features and it works well with the social media accounts I am active on. Have a browse and compare what is out there to see what works for you. There are free and paid options according to your budget too.
Social Media Tip 2
Join some groups on social media for support. There are lots of people in the writing community and we are willing to help each other. There are limits to this of course and be careful what information you disclose. There are lots of nice people out there, but unfortunately you may come across others who wish to steal your ideas. I have found these support groups to be a great help. It can even be asking small questions such as grammar related queries.
Social Media Tip 3
It’s all very well planning out your own individual posts for social media, but don’t forget the key to the name ‘social’ so make sure and get involved with others social media accounts. Help support others and interact with others. That’s something to help drive more of an audience to your own social media accounts.
Social Media Tip 4
A social media post with a picture or video is more likely to grab the attention than a post without. If you are unsure of where to get images there are lots of stock image websites out there to choose from. You can search for an image related to your post topic and use it to help make your social media post stand out. You do run a risk of others having used the same image, but it is an option for images. Make sure before you use a particular image that you have the correct permissions to do. The last thing you want to do is get sued for using an image you shouldn’t have shared on your social media. I can’t offer advice on how to do this, but check before usage.
When you are a new writer, it’s a continuous learning journey. Look out for more tips and tools which have helped me as I progress and learn more about writing. I am not aiming to market any particular products, search online and see what else is available, the tools I use may not suit your needs, there may be a better option for you. Likewise, my tips may not work for you, but I share them in case they do.
If you have tried and tested any of the above, feel free to let me know how they worked for you. Or feel free to share any tips I haven’t mentioned. I might learn something new too.