By Patricia Alexander

I’m back with another five writing tips for anyone who needs some encouragement and direction, no matter what their project. Here is some practical wisdom from my 45 years of writing and editing:

  1. Allow Your Inner Writer a Voice. Writing is just talking, but with a specific purpose and personality. Getting published doesn’t make you a writer; being a human with thoughts, feelings and the ability to learn does. Your willingness to allow your inner writer out – or not – is what makes the difference.
  2. Choose the Tool That Works For You. Computer? Pad of paper? Dictation? Don’t waste time letting this choice stop you; if it gets ideas out of your brain, it works. Paper or dictation may require more steps to ultimately get it on a computer and edited, but so what? It’s worth it!
  3. For Clarity, Organize Your Thoughts. Organizing doesn’t dampen creativity; it frees it. You may start out with just a concept or paragraph, but eventually, you’ll want to start a casual outline or at least working chapter titles. This will give you an overview that you can change or rearrange as you go…or return to if you lose your way. 
  4. Do Your Homework. If you’re writing fiction, start writing character backgrounds with abundant details, even though they may never be in the final piece. As a creator, you need to understand your characters’ motivations, relationships, and backstories. If you’re writing non-fiction, you need to understand who your readership is and how what you’re writing will enhance their lives differently than other books/essays/articles out there.
  5. Don’t Freak If Other Writers Got There First. If your chosen genre is full to bursting or someone else has your title or concept, relax and look at it this way: You have your own unique spin and style that can never be duplicated. Other writer’s successes prove there’s an audience for your version, while if there’s nothing like your concept, your project’s time has come. Follow your passion, not your fear… and go for it!

Patricia Alexander has led limited-attendance Writing Support Groups for decades in her home and now on Zoom. A local writer, editor, columnist, and the award-winning co-author of The Book of Comforts: Simple, Powerful Ways to Comfort Your Spirit, Body & Soul, Patricia follows her passion to encourage and guide other writers.