Tag Archives: write tip

Four Fantastic Writing Tips

You all know the ritual; every year, about this time, I post up stuff about how my writing journey is going. 2014 makes it four awesome years since I dared to call myself a writer…and it has paid off.This year, for the benefit of upcoming writers, I came up with four things I’ve learned in four years about writing. Here we go:

It doesn’t matter if you think your idea sucks…write
I didn’t think, I knew my ideas sucked when I first started out with this writing thing. But I realized that if you don’t pen down those pieces that make you nervous, you won’t pen down anything at all. Plus, most times those ideas you think suck…people will love them.

Don’t be afraid to take a break
No, you’re not being lazy, you’re resting your mind. During a period like this, you could come up with some of your best ideas. Warning though; just keep on reading.

Writing gives you a confidence boost. (People naturally like writers)
Don’t know why, but people seemed to like me better when I became a writer. Still trying to understand it.

You never get used to starting a new project
No matter your experience, it seems like all new write-ups feel like you’re re-learning. I think it is more of a “re-discovery”. With every new project, as you write, you learn more about yourself.

@chosenmich

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4 Ways to Spice Up your Writing

I have had an acoustic guitar for some four or five years now, but I never quite tried to learn playing it passed a few must-know chords. So this year, I got an electric, and decided to put my all into becoming a pro…somewhat.

I soon discovered something, however; there comes a point when you are learning to play the guitar, for most people, that you feel you aren’t growing anymore. You know there’s still so much to learn (coz you can’t play all your favourite songs yet), but you just aren’t learning anything. You’re essentially stuck.

It’s the same with most creative endeavours. Music, drawing, and of course, writing. I’ve been there one too many times with my writing, and every time I google “how to improve your writing”, the points ‘read’, and ‘write’, keep coming up—as if you didn’t know that already. With that mind, I have come up with 4 ways to spice up your writing if you’re in that boat.

1 Get used to using Idioms

Most wet-behind-the-ears writers do not use these. I am still trying to get used to using them. Idioms, in my definition, are creative ways of expressing simple ideas. For example, “wet behind the ears”, is nothing but a fanciful way of saying, ‘inexperienced.’ So get an idioms app, and get your idioms on.

2 Use Figures of Speech

Whether writing with alliterations, metaphors, or hyperbole, figures of speech prevent your writing from tasting like an unsalted meal. See what I did there? *wink wink* The King of Horror, Stephen King, is king in this aspect. So, pick up your primary (or elementary) school English notes, and relearn those speech figures.

3 Practice Perfecting your Poetry

I’m so not claiming to be good at this, but I have noticed that writers who are good at writing poetry write a mean fiction. Read a bit of Dean Koontz, and you’ll know what I’m saying. Having poetry in your arsenal helps your narration, and your description of scenes, weather etc. I should start a bit of poetry this year, but don’t quote me on that.

4 Play on Puns

I can’t talk about adding spice to our writing, without mentioning the use of puns; puns add an intelligent kind of flavor to your tone…pun most definitely intended. A pun is simply an intelligent play on words. The point of spice is to add flavor to your cooking, which is why I chose the expression, ‘flavor to your tone.’ Puns are great for adding humor and intelligence to your writing.

I particularly like this pun I found on Pun of the Day: “I’m glad I learned sign language; it’s pretty handy.” LOL.

Hope you spice up your writing with these four points.

@chosenmich


3 Boring but Effective Ways to Improve Your Writing

Sometime last year, I wrote a blog post titled “Weird and Unorthodox Ways to Improve Your Writing”, and, based on the feedback I got from you guys, it’s almost safe to say that was the best received blog post of mine last year. In an attempt to resurrect this epileptic blog of mine (other than changing designs), I’ve come up with a similar article to the 2013 favorite, this time highlighting some boring, but effective, ways to improve your writing. So, if you can get passed the critically boring activities, dive in to the following points and improve your writing:

  1. Watch the News: Need I say more? It’s fricking journalism. The main credential for studying journalism is a good English grade. Plus they probably know the news is boring, so they always come up with cool lines to sell it. I remember I first heard the term ‘skyrocket’ on the news, and even though that is a dated and abused term now, credit goes to the news companies for teaching me that.
  2. Read Academic Books/Journals: So, this one is pretty simple. Most writers are comfortable with reading as a way to improve their writing. However, we often settle in a comfort zone-like place, reading mainly fictions. The thing about Academic writings is, the author often drowns her readers with boring facts and information—this is what makes it boring. However, Academic books are written by intellectuals. Thus, the use of English in such text is almost unparalleled—this is what makes it so effective as a tool to improve one’s writing.
  3. Read the Mother of all Books: In this book, there are no characters, there are no stories, and there are certainly no plots. I’m talking about the Dictionary. Back in school, I must admit, reading the dictionary used to be one of my weird hobbies. Back then, there were no effective mobile dictionaries, so I didn’t have an app that could give me “word of the day.” Now, however, we do. But don’t stop at just assimilating the words you read in the dictionary, practise using them. And, really, every word used on the news, or in academic writings is in the dictionary, right? I guess this makes reading the dictionary the most boring, yet the most effective, way to improve your writing.

So, is it time to get bored? Getting bored might just mean getting better. 😉

 

MiCH OLORUNFEMi

@chosenmich


Weird and Unorthodox Ways to Improve Your Writing

Since I already wished you all Happy New year before taking a break, we’re jumping right in this year. I do hope the holidays were kind to you though.

There is a constant question that begs an answer on the minds of upcoming writers, of which I still see myself as, and that is, “How can I improve my writing?”

What I have noticed is that there are some pretty unorthodox ways to achieve this. Believe me, the activities outlined below are nearly full-proof, but they are so unorthodox you just might drop your jaw at them. Here they are:

  1. Chatting: Make no mistake about it, run at the chance to chat over the chance to speak over the phone if you really want to improve your writing. Chatting gives you the chance to creatively put your words together, and because you are writing (not speaking), improves your writing.
  2. Watch Cartoons: This one is difficult for adults to even so much as consider. In truth, Cartoons have some of the most creatively constructed dialogs, and wackiest conflicts on the planet. Thus, watching them could really broaden your mind.
  3. Mentally write what you see: Go out. Sit at a bench on the sidewalk, and mentally write in prosaic format, whatever happens before your eyes. This exercises your mind to getting used to the writing process.
  4. Listen to music: Music is also an art that seeks to send a message to listeners. The thing about music is; musicians try to tell a story in all of approximately four minutes. This makes them push the creativity of their words (lyrics), making for some pretty unique lines that could be really inspiring.
  5. Watch commercials: It’s really the same as music, but because a commercial is limited to a time frame of thirty seconds, adverts are even more creative than most music videos. A commercial seeks to tell you, “you can’t  do without this product or service you have been living without”, and make you believe it. Thus watching commercials can be highly inspiring.

Try these steps out, and let’s see that improvement.

@chosenmich


I’m…Aliiiiive!

Yes, I’m still alive. Not dead as some might have presumed. Though I was dead to the world, locked up in my Vault all through November, clicking at my keyboard with a hunched back, trying to conquer my first ever NaNoWriMo.

The sad news: I failed, peaking at about 26,000 words only, not hitting the targeted 50,000.

The awesome news: I did learn a few things. And here they are:

  1. A truly passionate person can’t look sane to the passive: I know this because of those second glances I got throughout the November when people asked me what I was up to, and I went, “Trying to finish a novel in one month.”
  2. Art might not be seen as a discipline, but it requires major discipline: A person without discipline cannot commit to writing at least 1,600 words daily consistently for thirty days straight (Hey, call my indisciplined, but I’ll try again next year).
  3. The best motivation (not inspiration) comes from with-out, not within: When several people want to know whether your goal is being achieved or not, it puts you on your toes to deliver.
  4. We are often our own impossibility: Impossibility, though, comes from within. Most times, our not achieving set goals (especially in writing) is not to be blamed on external forces, but very present, snickering inside ones. The sooner we come to terms with this truth, the more we’ll see our dreams made reality.

So, December is still a writing month for me. I am excited to share with you my plans come 2014. It’s gonna be a great year for Mich fiction with some pretty big announcements.

…27 Days to go.


After Thr3e Years

Notice my spelling of the word “three” in my title? That’s my tribute to the author (and the book) that got me writing. Three years in the writing career, and I’m only just getting started. Every year, I post new things I’ve learned about the craft that is writing, and this year, being my third year in the craft, I’ve decided to share with my readers, fans, and followers, three things I’ve learned about writing in this short while.

1. Everyone believes they understand the craft.

By everyone, I mean everyone. If you are an upcoming writer, you’ve probably already had your works criticized by non-writers, and even non-readers alike. They try to analyze why you should do this, and why you shouldn’t do that. While most of them actually mean good, taking medical advice from an IT specialist probably isn’t the wisest thing to do. It spurs from a need to tell a story, because in the end non-writers and non-readers are telling a story one way or the other…just let me tell mine my way.

2. The blank page really is terrifying.

No, really, it is. When I first picked up the trade, it seemed that the one thing that was common with the opinions of all writers was, “The blank page is terrifying.” Flip forward three years later, and I still dread starting a book or a story. It’s really exciting, having a fresh tale to tell, but it’s dreadfully frightening when you open your text editor and watch that black cursor blink and mock you amid all that impossible white space. “How do I fill it?” You ask yourself. One word at a time. Something tells you…yet it’s never that easy. Never.

3. You don’t pick your genre, your genre picks you.

You don’t just wake up one morning and decide you want to write Steampunk Romance…ok, for a genre that weird, you probably get to choose. But I’ve discovered that the kinds of tales you tell are deep within you already. I think this affects readers too. You just find yourself drawn to a certain genre. Perhaps this is why it’s always hard to provide a definite answer when asked, “why do you write/read this kinda stuff?” Your genre calls you to the craft. Make no mistake about it.

@chosenmich


After 2 Years

The ending months of the year 2012 makes it two years since I became a writer. Though it’s only been a couple of years, it’s been one heck of a ride consisting of rise and falls, successes and failures, elations and let downs. In these two years, however, I’ve learned a whole lot of things about the writing process, which I outline below. There are many other things about writing, no doubt, but here are a few vitals:

No one can write your Idea as well as you

It’s how I started writing, really. That concept or idea, I always feel, dropped in your mind for a reason. I have also found out that no matter what tiny bit of an idea you get, it comes with some sort of vague idea as to who some of the characters might be. You are already bonding with the characters even before the first word is penned (whether you’re a pantser or an outliner). It’s like a soon-to-be mother in labor. The second the baby emerges, the connection between the mother and child is the strongest. Sorry, dads! It’s the plain truth. She did carry the kid for nine months, after all.

Inspiration and Passion isn’t nearly enough, discipline is required

In today’s world, everyone is teaching that you should follow your passion. Good and fine, but I found out that especially in writing, inspiration and passion aren’t nearly adequate driving forces for seeing you through to the final period. Discipline is required. If you cannot sit down at your work for protracted hours and write, your story can be likened to chasing a rainbow; you see it after the rain, but really there is no “end of the rainbow”, and there’s certainly no pot of gold there. Discipline is the transportation to the end of your manuscript.

Discipline isn’t enough, you need patience

Discipline might certainly be the transportation to the end of your manuscript, but it is a rickety way of getting there. Oil up discipline’s joints with patience. Patience is what ensures a smooth sailing all through the writing process. Writing is a brutally remorseless process, and if you’re doing it the right way, it’s a lonely one, too. Where discipline might falter, patience stands firm. You just gostta keep pressing till you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Set goals, but start small

No one is disputing the fact that setting goals is almost the only way to achieve things, but many times we tend to get overtaken by our goals of becoming a New York Times #1 Bestseller, that we forget the number one thing writing is; a process. Have those goals—I have them, too—but instead of making your first work am epic 600 page tale, why not try your hands on writing short stories first, getting the hang of the art that is writing. I learned this the hard way.

Characters aren’t just that, they are people

Your characters aren’t just characters that help take your readers to the end of a story; they are living, breathing people with a past, a present, and a future. Like you, they have ambitions and goals, which may or may not be becoming a New York Times #1 Bestseller. If all your characters take decisions the way you would, they are nothing but clones…of you. It’s back to the drawing board, then. Sorry.

Writing should be fun, inasmuch as it is work

I did say that writing is “a brutally remorseless process” earlier. Though a hundred and ten percent true, it should be fun. If you don’t have fun writing, perhaps you should think of another career path. There is nothing worse than working in misery, trust me, I know. Above all else, you need to love writing. You need to breathe, eat, and sleep writing. Nothing, for me, comes remotely close to writing. I love it.