Lesson 3: Making A Better Writer Out Of You

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Part 13: Chapter 7 Lesson 1 Read This info to See You are Ready to Be a Blogger before investing your time in it / Lesson 2: Making a writer out of you / Lesson 4 I Don’t Write for a Living, I Solve Problems for Living…

Making A Better Writer Out Of You

To recap on lessons one and two, as well as one or two new thoughts…
By now you have decided what kind of writer you’d like to be:
You want to write for pleasure or profit.
To write articles or just to write for your enjoyment?
Or perhaps just start writing and see what develops.

To perhaps even one day write a book about your life or about the life of someone you know.
To one day write the novel you always dreamed of…and I believe everyone has some tale to tell. We can all reach out and help others by sharing a little of our little (don’t repeat ‘little’ in such close proximity- “yes sir, boss”!) world.

Somebody else said: “No one but a blockhead would write not to be published.”… but I don’t agree with that one.

I believe writing is for pleasure or profit, but it can be both. That’s the ideal to aim (and wish/hope) for.

Could I end that sentence with a “preppie” (preposition)?

That was my ideal when I started out in my quest to do something worthwhile with my life after being dropped out of the sky here in “Sleepy Hollow”. I try to have a bit of FUN with my writing, because life ( together with all the appendages, like mortgages, bills (but not Bill Rosoman), wives, “hubbies”, etc.) can be ever so serious.

We spoke about making a writer out of you.
Decide where and when to write.

Which room is most comfortable and gives you peace and quiet?

When are you most creative?

Are you a “morning” or “evening” person, when your concentration is at it’s highest level?

When are you most likely to be undisturbed?

My body rhythms work best at night, so everyone is in bed, and I can concentrate on my work…

Treat your writing seriously – it is your work or leisure time, yet people don’t seem to understand that. “When are you going to get a proper job”

Getting Started

What to write about?
This is the writer’s principal dilemma.

Write what the market wants, but draw on your world, your unique experiences in life.

Ask yourself this:
How can I best inform, entertain, help or perhaps even inspire other people?

Where to get ideas?

The human mind has the most incredible power and your imagination is your greatest asset.
So use the great powers of your IMAGINATION to the fullest by allowing your creative juices to flow.

Then once you have the idea, RESEARCH well, so you are factually correct.

Accuracy in writing is paramount for credibility- you have to be seen to be an authority on your subject.
If you are writing purely for money (nothing wrong with that!), write what will sell. I only write from the heart, either with serious messages (in my novels) or uplifting material for the human spirit in my non-fiction “work”.

Always remember:
There are too many subjects to write about – not too few!
Remember to collect interesting items for later use.

How to develop Your Writing Style

We all have a unique style of writing, in addition to our unique experiences in life… because each one of us is unique, thank God. So just be grateful for who you are , your unique abilities and gifts and count your blessings. Enough on this subject- this is not a new spiritual book!

Style is our natural way of writing: it can be brief, long-winded, chatty, wacky, breezy, light, heavy, and so on – like the way we talk. I try and write as I speak: very much to the point, but with the odd “zany” bit thrown in to startle or get a person thinking (or perhaps just wondering about me and where I’m coming from- Mars!).

My advice…

Build on your own natural style of writing… and the best way to do that is to get into the writing habit.

Then just be you.

Incidentally, a word of seriousness (for a change)…  Although this road I have chosen is very rocky and financially uncertain, doing this  type of work gives me more fulfilment  in my life than ever before, as well as feeling this is the real me. And that’s most important.

( Can I start a sentence with an “And”. See the next “gripping” lesson to find out).

Write something daily; because practice makes perfect.

Be open to growth, to try new styles or new directions in your writing. I try to write to inform and entertain in a light breezy style. Probably just both sides of me coming out!

You could perhaps try adding touches of humor, your natural humor, of course.
This comes with confidence and confidence comes with more writing. My confidence has increased greatly after my tentative first steps down this track.

I believe the essence of good writing style lies in precision and accuracy.
Therefore omit unnecessary words. Try to think up some examples of everyday unnecessary words…

One example to get you started: ”actually”.

Lots more on style coming up.
Take an exercise break.  Walk around the block, do housework *(what’s that?) or twenty five press-ups…
* Whilst on this touchy subject…What’s the definition?:

How Dabbler Writers Become Professionals

They do it regularly: with self-discipline and dedication.
I may not be one of the best writers around, but I’ve got the dedication and self-discipline (which comes from motivation, because I love what I do – although it’s very hard work).

I try to have fun, whilst I try to earn a living.

Top writers WRITE AND REWRITE – many times over, so the words flow better each time.
They aim for perfection – very, very hard to achieve; although one can always improve.
Every time I go through a manuscript, I change things (like repetitive words, incorrect grammar and punctuation) to try to get the words to flow better… but one has to draw a halt somewhere, otherwise my books would never get published.

How To Avoid Common Mistakes
What do you think are the most common mistakes of new writers?
Take a coffee break while you do this short assignment.

My Thoughts:
repetitive words
incorrect grammar
incorrect punctuation
using too many words

The art of good writing, I believe lies in brevity, so omit all unnecessary words.
It makes the sentence flow more rhythmically, more swiftly.
I find reading a very cerebral (impressive word) activity, that demands a lot of concentration- so make a conscious effort to write in a style that’s easy to read . Try to make your reading so easy on the eye, that a child can enjoy (and appreciate) your writing style.

Overcoming Obstacles And Disadvantages

What disadvantages are there to creative writing?
Other than being thought of as an “intellectual loony”, of course!
Write down your thoughts,  if you think you have some.

Use words like the following to build your creative on solving problems, by creating problems:

  • WHY?
  • Why Not!
  • How?
  • Where?
  • Who?
  • About What?
  • What New?
  • Is There?
  • Is it helpful?
  • Is there a Need?

Now you have all the tools and the talent there should not be anything to stop you indulging in your creative pursuits.

How Successful Writers Get Things Done

I’ve mentioned those  ‘D’ words before: DEDICATION and DISCIPLINE.

And Definitely to success on anything in life…You need to have 3ppp

>>>Patient, Persistence, and Plans <<<

Successful writers set goals and work away steadily and unobtrusively (nice long word, like ‘tractor’) each day.

It may be writing a page or an article, or 500 words a day.
I just write and stop when I feel like it – either when I get tired* or bored.
* I could have used the word ‘fatigued’, but ‘tired’ was simpler.

Just put in the effort.

You’ve shown you’ve got it by doing the previous assignments and getting this far in the course.

You’ve heard the term WRITER’S BLOCK?
No, what’s that… but I’ve got it!

It’s when your mind goes blank and you can’t get going.
You stare at a blank sheet of paper for hours on end waiting for inspiration… but nothing comes… except all your blank masterpiece. It’s just happened to me.

You then resort to pulling your hair out, is that why most writers are bald…?

Is this why most writers are broke…?

How to overcome writer’s block:

Stress and adverse personal circumstances (like financial worries and my past lifestyle) can easily stifle your creative imagination.

My advice:

Take a break and relax (for as long as it takes- perhaps even a few days).
Inspiration will come to you some day. If it doesn’t  eventually return,  then you will know you didn’t have the dedication to become a writer.

However, if writing is your job, like mine, I make sure I’m inspired at 11 pm every day (it’s now 4 am) because I have no choice but to pay the bills…

Inspiration comes from discipline.

When the words eventually come, you run outside naked shouting,’ Eureka, Eureka!’
Then you get locked away for life and have plenty of time to engage in your creative writing talents…

What are the “Secrets” of Writing Success?

Funnily enough, I don’t believe there are any magic ‘secrets’.
If so, I’m still trying to discover them.

So I’ll cover this subject very briefly, because I don’t know the answers.
It’s really all common sense, following your basic instincts.

However, I think you’ll discover some of the “keys” as you go along the course. Hopefully, you’ll write better yourself – with confidence, as well as through trying new things, like different styles. That is my mission on this course- for you to improve your writing skills (so you feel good about yourself)  and have a bit of fun at the same time.

Just BE YOU and write what your heart, your imagination tells you to write. If it’s for publication, just be prepared for ‘ordinary’ (what’s that?)  people who do proper jobs, have 2.3 kids, mow lawns on Sundays and drive a mini van, to think you’re a little crazy…

The writer or author is a puppeteer, molding the clay through the words that you choose.
You weave the strands of the article or story together, through use of your creative imagination.
You start your article, short story or novel with an idea.

You decide HOW you will start:

“Once upon a time”. (This could be the little child emerging from the depths of your soul).
You perhaps got the plot from a television programmer or a newspaper article.
The plots of some of my novels came from newspaper articles.

Then you make choices as you go along:
to base your story upon fact or fiction, or faction (a mixture of fact and fiction – I like that genre (impressive word that- must use it more often!).

You choose the track. You are the director, producer and actor: YOU set the scene, decide whether it is to be local or foreign.

It’s up to you HOW you describe the landscape or surrounding environment.
You decide on the characters and how you will describe them.

To let them live or die? What immense power you have to determine destinies!
Whether to have a happy or sad ending?
“And they all lived happily ever after….”
A few short words of advice to end off this lesson…

Make your writing fun and get readers (and the editor) “hooked” with a good opening paragraph and an even better opening line.

What do you think of this example by Charles Dickens from “A Tale of Two Cities”?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”.

I find it excellent and powerful writing, but quite “heavy reading”.
What did you think of that style of writing?
How’s this for an opening line for a novel?

“Did I need to say “mysterious man”?
Do you want to read on?

Perhaps that could be the first paragraph of my next book or Post?

Time to end off (I’ve done enough “work” re-writing this lesson)
Stimulate your imagination to the fullest. then go with the flow.
Observe life and jot down notes about your thoughts and feelings .
Then “make the words dance to your tune”.
“Don’t spend your days, stringing your instrument- start making music NOW”.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT

“Oh no, please sir!”
Write about half a page about your family. I could write an epic, like War and Piece. Well, it would probably cause World War Three!
If you’ve got more than one family, perhaps you can try another style describing each one.
In addition, write a good (imaginative and creative) opening paragraph for your blog post.
Just let your creative juices flow and HAVE FUN.

JUST Remember to make your blog post like writing a book…

See you on FRIDAY, when we’ll talk more about style and grammar. Oh no, not another boring lesson!
Keep smiling and thanks for all the effort.
Need help? Send me Any Comments…
I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Keng Ten

Lesson 4 I Don’t Write for a Living, I Solve Problems for Living…


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