Today I'm pleased to bring you a guest post from a newcomer to my blog, freelance writer Alayne Valentine.
Alayne has some good tips for any writer who is seeking to improve their skills and move their writing career forward...
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Write Every Day
Writing is like anything else – if you want to do it well, you have to practice. If you're truly committed to improving your skills, you should make time to write at least once per day. Spend as much free time as you can handle writing about anything, whether it's working on your manuscript or just journaling.
It's true that the best writers are avid readers. You should also be continually reading, and don't limit yourself to just one type of material. Read a variety of authors and genres. The more material you're exposed to, the more you can expand your own imagination and develop your own style.
Learn About Writing
There's no "right" way to write, but there are a lot of things for writers to learn: about language, plot development, grammar, word choice, and more. While you can follow the advice or not, you should learn as much about good, successful writing as you can.
Join a Writers' Group
If you have a local writers' group or writing critique group, join it. Meeting with other writers to discuss your craft and check out each other's work can be very beneficial and insightful. If you don't have a group nearby, there are plenty of online communities you can become part of. [For example, my own forum at myWritersCircle.com - Nick]
Edit Your Work
Your first draft is seldom perfect, and even if you think it's just practice writing that will never see the light of day, you should go back and edit. Read and revise your work, and don't just be your own spelling and grammar checker. Look for ways to improve what you've written, such as by restructuring sentences, choosing better words, or working on your organization and plot development.
Identify Your Reader
Whenever you write, it's a good idea to identify your reader. Who would read this work? When you consider the intended reader, you'll consciously write in a way that is most appropriate for them, which will result in better writing.
Get an Audience
Don't just imagine writing for your readers - actually get an audience for your work. Consider starting a blog and posting your work on it, or contributing to writers' forums and websites. Knowing that someone is going to read your work will help you do a better job on it. Your audience can even give you feedback if you choose to accept it, and their comments can shed some light on things.
Finally, don't take your writing so seriously! Loosen up, relax, and don't always put so much pressure on yourself to write something amazing. Just write, and write as naturally as possible. If you try too hard to sound a certain way, it won't seem genuine. Writing is best when it's fun.
Byline: Alayne Valentine is a writer and literature expert who loves to write and always encourages others to write. She loves to write and covers anything from basic writing skills to using grammar checkers.
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Photo Credit: Fiona .::Big Girl, I'm Beautiful::. Photo supplied by the author.