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5 Great Writing Tips for Beginners

Updated on February 15, 2019
Mahmood Anwar profile image

Mahmood is a freelance writer with 5 years of relevant experience. He is also a published author with Oxford University Press (OUP).

WRITING INSPIRATION
WRITING INSPIRATION

The writer's journey is a lonely one and therefore a clearly defined path needs to be followed. I have presented a five-step plan that can ease the newbie writer into this challenging role.

According to a CollegeBoard study, blue-chip companies spend an estimated $3.1 billion annually on remedial writing training.

The intriguing part is that 94% of the amount is spent on current employees.

Introduction

Do you feel the need to express yourself in written form, but don’t know where and how to begin?

There is literally a ton of writing guidance available on the web. This might seem daunting for a beginner, trying to digest top guidance and choosing what to follow. However, fret not, there are some common themes that can be subscribed to right away. Before going further, let me clarify that there's no magical recipe for 1-week writing success. However, as true for other facets of life, the combination of innovation and hard work usually paves the way.

5-Step Writing Plan

1) Keep your goals realistic
2) Reading is the soul of writing
3) Make your writing fluid
4) Don't take everything to heart
5) Perseverance is the key

1) Keep your goals realistic

I'm used to procrastination when it comes to writing simply because it involves creativity and constant effort.

The first step I would recommend is to take a deep breath and jot down your goals. Keep it simple and don't set complicated milestones. Instead of ‘I'll finish writing 10,000 words of my first e-book by 28th February,' just write ‘Complete the first e-book in 2019.'

The reason why you have to keep it simple is that this list should be a reasonable one i.e. 8-10 points and if you start being specific about each goal, you might get intimidated from the get-go.

When I re-started my writing career, I focused on following points; starting a blog, developing a dedicated LinkedIn profile, creating profiles on Freelancer, Upwork and Fiverr, approaching editors, learning about SEO etc.

2) Reading is the soul of writing

You can't be a good writer if you're not an avid reader, period. Most people start writing because they have read some great content and want to emulate it.

Reading is a passion, a beautiful escape, and an everlasting dream; combined in one package. Whenever I was entranced by a novel, I couldn't put it down even if it was midnight and there were 300 pages left.

You might be a Harry Potter fan like me or have even started from the Enid Blyton period. Whatever the genre may be, reading literally fuels writing pursuits.

Those looking to pass an English exam may be advised to start reading English newspapers or avail Reader's digest, but the true essence of reading resides in good books. Reading is the start of a journey that allows us to expand our horizons and visit the world/parallel universe(s) from the comfort of our couch.

From a practical standpoint, reading improves vocabulary and sentence structure. The combination of quality reading and constant writing helps improve your language skills. It's also a great method to apply grammar rules and have fun at the same time. Reading truly emancipates the soul and gives a unique view of the world.

Source

3) Make your writing fluid

The newbie writer may be looking to impress his audience by writing a verbose and grandiose piece of writing to elucidate a simple narrative (Yes, that was intentional). Writing should start with a natural flow of words, and if you are thinking too much about vocabulary, then you are probably on the wrong track.

For beginners, setting out with their first piece, I would recommend starting with a favorite article and re-writing it according to your own impulse. This will enable you to start writing from a point of comfort and emulate the writing style of authors that impress you.

However, don't go word by word or line by line, as this is not a translation job.

Read a para and then re-write the main content in your own words and add enhancements where you feel it's required. Keep the writing piece to 600-700 words and show it to a trusted mentor/friend.

Writing Inspiration

What is your main inspiration for writing?

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4) Don't take everything to heart

There are people who can provide honest feedback and help us improve.

There are also those who think you might be wasting your time.

The fact is that we live in a world where technical jobs (like Accountant, Lawyer, Doctor etc.) are given utmost importance. Children are taught to focus on these careers, right from childhood. Subjects like arts and writing occupy lesser importance and hence parents/friends might feel obliged to re-focus you.

Take your content to trusted advisers and listen carefully to how they rate you. Some of the most beautiful inspiration comes in the form of teachers/mentors who guide and praise us. I was honored to be taught by English teachers who nourished the love of reading and writing within their students.

If you're starting at an early age, criticism might break you, but don't stop at the first attempt. Listen to people and adapt your content to find your niche. Not everyone is a good sci-fi author, some are made to share real-life stories with the world.

5) Perseverance is the key

You might be a gifted writer and do nothing with your talent or you might be a struggling writer who wants to share his/her original thoughts with the world. Talent is well and good, but perseverance always triumphs. I thought I was good at essay writing but my O'Levels English teacher identified 6 mistakes in my first assignment. I accepted her feedback and didn't stop improving until I received her appreciation for delivering quality content.


Did you know that Dr. Seuss's first book was rejected by 27 publishers!

Conclusion

Even accomplished writers had to take their manuscripts to dozens of editors before they were published and secured a place in our thoughts. Writing is the first step and pursuing it until you win, is the second and most important one.

I've personally applied all the above suggestions at different times and I hope you can benefit from some or all of them.

Personal writing journey

Writing is a natural instinct and I've been a consistent writer since 2008 when I joined a content writing company. While working with them, I wrote 5000 pages of written content and perfected my writing strategy. I have also collaborated with OUP on a curriculum development project. For me, writing is a passion and I love to pass on the knowledge and support budding writers.

Take the first step
Take the first step

© 2019 Mahmood Anwar

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