3. Don’t Edit While Writing
This might be tough for some of you. It’s hard to not edit your work as your writing it. A lot of us can’t help but go back to previous sentences and rewrite. But you need to break this habit for a couple of reasons. The main reason you need to stop editing while writing is because it slows you down a great deal. It’s hard to finish something when you keep stopping to edit.
The second reason you should stop is that it kills your creative drive. Every time you stop writing to go back and fix something, you lose the flow of writing. This makes it much harder to get in the zone and remain creative. Editing activates the analytical part of your brain. So, you stop looking at your work as a creative piece and focus more on grammar and structure.
The third reason is that editing before finishing the writing can make the act of writing feel like a chore. It will start to feel as if you aren’t making any progress and you’ll become more likely to give up. Editing during the writing of a story can really kill your momentum.
The best thing to do is just write. Don’t worry about if it will all make sense. Or if the sentences and paragraphs are perfect and just the way you want them. You’ll have plenty of time to worry about that stuff after the writing is done. Write how and what you want until you’re finished. Then you can bore yourself with the editing process.
2. Write With a Purpose
If you got in your car and drove with no destination in mind, you’d eventually get lost and run out of gas. The same is true with writing a story. Many young writers get an idea and just start writing. But they don’t have a set destination or way to get there. They make it maybe halfway through their story and find they’ve written themselves into a corner.
Now, it’s a lot of fun to free flow through your story. Especially the first draft. But this can make the editing process a nightmare. You’ll have to sort through plot holes, character inconsistencies, and various parts where the story just doesn’t make sense.
For instance, imagine writing a Sci-Fi thriller full of twist and turns. How easy would it be to get lost or mess something up? But even if it’s a story that’s more direct like The Notebook, (a story with a set beginning, middle, and end) you can give off the wrong message if you aren’t writing with a purpose.
Is your story about growing up? Learning a moral lesson? Does it have a political agenda? Why does the protagonist do the things he or she does? What is their motivation to reach a specific conclusion? These are the kinds of things you need to know before you start writing. Your story needs to be on a set path to reach the right ending. You’ll be giving yourself a lot more work than necessary if you just wing it.
1. Make an Outline
Going right along with the last entry, this is really important when it comes to story structure and world building. You don’t have to be overly strict when it comes to creating an outline, but it will save you a lot of work to have things mapped out.
Many writers dislike creating outlines because they feel it hurts their creativity. Like they are limiting themselves to a preset structure with a beginning, middle, and end. But this just isn’t true. Outlines don’t have to be rigid and overly structured. A good outline leaves room for creativity while making sure are you simply staying on the right path.
Some people go overboard with outlines; going chapter by chapter in great detail. But a good outline gives you structure yet isn’t filled with much detail. Think of outlines more as road signs letting you know you’re on the right street.
The best thing about having a story outline is that it keeps you from missing key points in your story. Or even worse, placing a key point in the wrong spot and having to write around the mistake.
Here are a few simple templates for a story outline
Never stop writing. No matter your style, genre preference, or audience size, don’t lose the passion you have for writing. Even if you never become a successful writer, you can at least say that you do what you love. Whether it be a hobby or job, you can always work to improve. But the one thing you must do above all else is, keep on writing!
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