These book writing tips are from published book authors, freelance copywriters, and bloggers. Fellow scribes, don’t yawn because you’ve heard these tips before! Instead, I challenge you to actually apply each tip when you’re writing your book.
Before the tips, a quip:
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” ~ George Orwell, Why I Write.
Perhaps the most realistic book writing tip is that it’s painful. It takes time, effort, honesty (“Should I take a few writing classes before I write a book?”), dedication, and sacrifice. But the good news is that people write books all the time, and some of those books get published! So don’t give up, my friend. Keep learning how to write better.
To learn about the technical aspects of novel writing, read Plot & Structure: Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish.
And here are ten book writing tips…
10 Book Writing Tips From Published Book Authors and Freelancers
1. Write naturally – let your voice bubble to the surface. “The best book writing tip is to write like you speak! Many writers – especially beginners – tend to overwrite. They may be trying to sound professional and poised, but they come across as forced and uptight. For instance, don’t say ‘egregious error.’ Say ‘stupid mistake.'” – Jenna McCarthy, book author
2. Don’t worry about organization and grammar. “Get your ideas onto the page – no matter how messy. Ask yourself questions: ‘What is my point?’ and ‘What’s the most important thing I want to get across to the reader?’ Then ramble it out. Once you’ve made your point, go back and edit your writing. Once you’re satisfied that your vital ideas are in place, organize the structure and tidy the grammar.” – Tracey McBride, book author and blogger
3. Cut those adverbs. “This writing advice is from Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer: “Don’t use adverbs as part of showing and not telling. Don’t tell us how he screamed. Show us.” – Dawn M. Goldberg, writer and blogger
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4. Don’t get too excited when you’re writing a book! “The best writing tip I ever received was from a former boss, who told me to avoid using exclamation points at all costs. He said the tone and content of the message should convey all the excitement.” – Darcy Silvers, freelance copywriter
5. Wear a tiara – send a practical message to family members. “This could also work for secure male writers! I’ve trained my two small children (ages 5 and 6) to notice when I am wearing the tiara. They may not interrupt me if the tiara is on my head. I use this to get phone interviews done.” – Nicole Amsler, freelance copywriter
6. Avoid clutter. Be clean, neat, and sharp. “Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.'” – Mary Beth Kriskey, copywriter and public relations specialist (one of her favorite reference books is On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinser).
7. Picture your reader, and write directly to him or her. “My first job out of college was with an advertising agency where the owner taught me to write copy. His words were, ‘Write as if you are speaking directly to the other person.’ This draws the reader in.” – Elinor Stutz, CEO and author
8. Use tangible, concrete, solid words. “My clients resonate more deeply with copy that includes ‘real’ words. Since I am often describing a product or service, I draw a picture of the end result using picturesque nouns, pretty words, and tangible concepts.” – Nicole Amsler, freelance copywriter
9. Know your audience. “The best writing tip I ever received, is to target your writing to your audience. Know who your audience is before you begin writing.” – AnnaLaura Brown
10. Don’t stop to edit – keep writing your book ’til the end! “This is probably the most helpful writing tip I’ve received: don’t stop to edit while you’re writing your first draft. It stops the flow. If you’ve got a concept, run with it. Write whatever comes to mind. When you’ve finished writing, you can go back and edit.” – Rickey Gold, blogger
How do you put these book writing tips into practice? Take tip #5, for instance. Then, look at what you wrote yesterday. Weed out the blah lifeless words and plant vibrant things instead (don’t be a lazy writer, like me! Never settle for the word “things” instead of a strong noun like “daisies.” If you struggle to find the right words, read 51 Over-Used Adverbs, Nouns, and Cliches in Writing — it’ll help you avoid the same old boring words).