How To Write Like The Pros
Tips from the Pros
So I was doing a random search on the internet the other day, and the topic was….yes, you guessed it….how to write. I was curious what suggestions were out there, so I killed five minutes of my life, five minutes which I will never have again, and typed in that search question.
The first article that popped up was “How To Write An Essay” from the American University In Cairo, and these ten steps were listed and explained:
- MLA style
- Fine-tune language
I skimmed the information and then promptly slipped into a coma caused by excessive boredom.
I am happy to report that I have recovered from the coma and I am here to help answer, in a slightly less stuffy, anal and cheek-puckering way, the question “How To Write.”
Are you ready? I’m going to make this short and sweet for those of you who have better things to do than read this whole article. The answer is in the next paragraph, so there is no need to browse through the rest of this article. However, if you choose to hang in here and risk a coma of your own, I’ll go into some depth later in this article.
Here it is, so take notes. Sit down at your computer and turn it on. Place your fingers on the keys and….write!
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Seriously my friends, let's not complicate the process. In other words, follow the KISS principle...Keep It Simple Stupid!
Do I now have your attention?
For Those of You Who Want More
I hated writing when I was in elementary school. Would you like to know why? One word…..nuns!
That’s right, the Penguins of North Division Street sucked the fun right out of writing for me. Diagram sentences, diagram some more sentences and then, when we were done with that, we diagramed some more sentences. Don’t use an adverb there; you can’t use that adjective there; take that prepositional phrase and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
What they managed to do with their yardstick and their pedantic view of writing was to eliminate the human element from writing, and in my humble opinion once you have performed that dissection you have effectively killed the patient.
Writing at its most basic level is communication between human beings. From the Irish brogue to the Southern drawl, writing is different per individual and yet always the same. Go about your day and ask yourself how many times you diagramed a sentence before speaking. Of course that’s nonsense, but in many ways, the myriad of rules that pertain to writing are the same sort of nonsense, and can be as crippling as sentence-diagramming.
I received a comment from a dear friend on an article I recently wrote about being yourself as a writer. Here is what she said:
I am really glad to hear you say those words. Every day, I read to become
a better writer. But, after I read, and set to work. My head goes down to
the key board, and I write that which is in my heart. Sometime it is just bursting to come out and jump onto the pages. Sometimes it needs a little coaxing. At some point in the future, I will go back and smooth the rough places out.
I really do appreciate every word of advice and information. But, first,
I must write what is in my heart.
And I so agree!
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Tips and suggestions...take them or leave them....you might find it useful
Do writing tips help you or strangle you?
Why Do You Write?
Without a doubt, if you write blogs for an attorney firm, it might be nice if you could write with proper grammar. Without a doubt, if you write technical articles for magazines, it might be nice if you could sound fairly intelligent and interesting…..but…..
If you write because writing is your lover….if you write because thoughts and emotions flow through you, raising your internal temperature until you feel like the fever will never spike….if you write because writing truly is your passion…..then for God’s sake, stop diagramming sentences with Sister Mary Grumpy and start having fun.
About forty years ago I took the figurative yardstick away from my teacher and I stopped following the guidelines. I haven’t outlined a piece of writing in all that time because, although outlining does help with organization, it also strangles creativity, and the last thing I want to do is strangle a part of myself.
I just write!
Writer’s Block Need Never Happen
570 articles, one novel, three more novels in the making, all in the last three years and not once have I suffered from the writer’s greatest enemy, namely writer’s block. How can that be?
I just write!
I sit down at the computer; a random thought pops into my head; and I write about that thought. I have no destination when I begin, but a destination does reveal itself as I write, and I end up exactly where I should be….another form of communication that is uniquely mine.
I think a lot of writers suffer from paralysis by analysis, when they should be celebrating the Happy Dance of Free Form.
There you have it….just bleed.
Keep It Simple
Tips on Writing Are Just That
Lord knows I have written enough articles giving tips on writing. I think I have about forty to my credit right now and more are coming, but at the end of the day, as the sun sets and we go about the business of living, what I give you as suggestions, and what thousands of others give you as suggestions, are only that. They are ideas on how you might improve your writing. They were not handed down from on high; they were not written in some Dead Sea Scrolls. They are just suggestions from one writer to another writer. Take them or leave them. If they are helpful then fantastic; if they are useless to you then line your trash can with them.
Use shorter sentences. Use longer sentences. Put some wham into your introductions and use the thesaurus religiously. Appeal to the five senses and look for your rhythm my friends, and when you are done re-write, re-write and re-write some more. All are valid tips.
Yes they are helpful for some and yes, they are all well-meaning….but…..
Find the passion that led you to writing in the first place. Wrap it in your arms as one would a lover, and whisper sweet nothings in its ear. Caress it….taste it…..become one with it by forming a physical and spiritual bond….and then…..
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”