Writing is one of those things that is both easy and incredibly difficult. Most people can string a sentence together on the page; this is writing. But do write a series of sentences, and convey a meaning that is greater than the sum of their parts? Yupp, that’s a difficult thing to do. Fortunately, we’re lucky enough to live in an age where there have been plenty of brilliant writers before us, and so now we know some of the most effective ways to write well. We take a look at some of them below.
Leave Some In The Tank
Most wannabe writers are aware of that elusive magic feeling when words seem to stream out of the heart and onto the page. It’s called being “in the zone,” and it’s possible that there’s nothing better than this feeling, especially after you’ve grafted your way through hard lines of labor. When it arrives, most writers try to cling on to it as tight as possible. This, however, is a mistake. They should let it go. Not instantly, of course, but before the well runs dry. Hemingway recommends giving up on your day of writing before you reach the point where you can’t do anymore. You’ll wake up the following day ready to go.
There are many potentially great writers out there. The problem is that when they actually sit down to put pen to paper, they clam up. It’s the equivalent of “putting on a tie,” as Sebastian Faulks would say. In this state, no good will come. So why not adopt a pen name, and free yourself from the pressure? Many an established writer authored their books under a different name. JK Rowling released her follow up to Harry Potter under a different name (it was critically acclaimed, too). Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain. Daniel Handler became Lemony Snicket. It allows more freedom, and can also stretch you in new creative directions, too. Give it a go.
Kill Your Darlings
Some people can’t seem to get going when they want to write. Others can’t help themselves. If you’re writing page after page after page, then it’s likely that you’ll have some good stuff in there. But will everything be worth saving? Absolutely not. It was Stephen King who said ‘kill your darlings,’ those lines you love the best. It’ll kill you to delete a paragraph of flowing prose, but it’s essential. If you don’t, and instead publish everything, well that’s not writing. Editing is just as big a part of the process as any other!
The greatest, most effective advice connected to writing is to simply power through. If you’re waiting for inspiration to strike, you’ll be lucky to get down a few lines in a month. However, if you’re forcing yourself to sit down each night for an hour and write, then you’ll end up with pages of writing in no time. Energy breeds energy. Get yourself moving, and the good writing will soon follow.