21 February, 2013

Unique Writing Tips

I know what you're thinking - the last thing the internet needs is another blog post by a jumped-up writer who thinks they can teach you something about writing. And you'd be right. Mr. Google is a wonderful source of information for writers looking for general tips, so this post is actually about those writing tips each of us carry within us.

I have a theory. I reckon every writer has learned something for themselves nobody would ever have thought to teach them in the first place. Maybe you have more than one of these unique writing tips, but if you've been writing more than a couple of years I bet you have at least one somewhere.

So here is my tip for you; something that has been a painful lesson to me over the last year or so:

Do not reference Rick Astley in your writing.

Image from Amazon. Inspired? Get Rick here!

Seriously. I made the mistake of referencing him in one of my short stories. I've been fiddling with the story off and on for a year or so - never quite sure what I wanted to do with it or what needed fixing to make it work - and EVERY time I so much as open the word document a song starts up in a loop in my head. Altogether now... "Never gonna give you up/ Never gonna let you down..." I'd take that bit out, but it's too late, the damage has been done. Yes friends, I managed to Rickroll myself.

Come on then - what unexpected lessons have you learned from your writing? 

[And for anybody who has found this blog by googling 'unique writing tips', hoping for something a bit more helpful here are three for free. These aren't unique but, hey, people have been writing for thousands of years, what were you expecting? 1) Check every adverb. Absolutely 100% vital? If not, cut it. 2) Can you imagine a real person actually speaking your dialogue? 3) Your first draft is not good enough. Whoever you are. It's not.]


  1. Specifically for blogs, and I'm sure that it's obvious to everyone, but something that I worked out painfully all by myself: Write, by all means, when you're angry, wildly excited, beside yourself with pain or misery, because there's genuine emotion that makes the writing special - but don't press 'publish' until the next day.

    1. That's a great tip and one which applies to e-mails and texts too. Who hasn't wished for a "recall" button at some point!

  2. I think that one thing I've learned is that I sometimes rely on 'in head' information and assume that the reader has the same reference library. In lay speak: if you need to explain the context to the reader in a separate conversation, you haven't finished the writing!

    1. I find it hard sometimes to be sure what is a recognisable cultural reference and what is something that I happen to have stumbled across! This reminds me of those stories from agents/publishers who get queries asking if the writer can bring their MS in to the office to show them because "it needs me there to explain it"!

  3. LOL.

    Oh oh, guess I'm one of those jumped-up writer who thinks they can teach you something about writing. Or actually, I just like to share the stupid things I do. And it's many many many.

    This isn't really an unexpected lesson, but I can't think of any of those off-hand. So this is one of the lessons I've learned.

    Let things sit. Be patient. When you get some space between you and your novel, 2...3...6 months, you can see things you didn't before because you were too close. Also for me, in that time, as I'm reading other novels, it gives me ideas of what I can do with mine. Little things that help w/voice or character development.

    So that's my advice. Set it aside for a bit.

    1. You're definitely not one of those writers. You talk about the things you've learned as you've written and that's always valuable to hear about! I just see quite a lot of "top ten tips" on writer's blogs which say nothing new at all!

      That's a great tip and one that new writers find hard. I know I always want to work on a second draft within a fortnight of the first draft. But now I give it a month minimum, and it's better if I give it two months and come to it fresh.

  4. I've learned to write, read, do something else, write, read, do something else...Always proofread multiple times before submission. Wait a day come back and revise. There is always something you can improve.

    I have a writing advice blog, however, it's not typical advice. It's quirky, obscure, and unconventional. It's my idea that no writer can make another writer better...but, inspiration is a different story. My goal is to inspire and be inspired.

    Check it out.

  5. Hi Brandy, thanks for stopping by! Just had a peek at your blog - really liked the post about how nobody is an "aspiring writer", you're a writer if you write, you're not if you not. I think a lot of writers need to know that!

    "There's always something you can improve" is a good tip. When I first started writing I was more pleased with my writing than I am now, even though I'm tonnes better now. The better I get, the more I realise how much better I could be and the more I strive to get every word right. Somebody said a book is a "perfect idea spoiled" and I think that's spot on. But it's so much fun trying to make your perfect idea perfect!


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