Great Tips for Better Writing

To kick off last week, I wrote about How to Become a Better Writer and invited you to share your own favorite craft tips in the comments section. How to Write Better: Your Favorite Tips “Write the first draft for yourself, and the second draft for your readers.” —Melissa (Well put! When successful writers claim that they don’t think of their readers as they write, I think this is actually exactly what they mean.)
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To kick off last week, I wrote about How to Become a Better Writer and invited you to share your own favorite craft tips in the comments section. The results were insightful and inspiring—so much so that I wanted to highlight a few of the ones I liked best here.

How to Write Better: Your Favorite Tips

“Write the first draft for yourself, and the second draft for your readers.” —Melissa (Well put! When successful writers claim that they don’t think of their readers as they write, I think this is actually exactly what they mean.)

“You don’t have to start from the beginning! It’s so liberating when you first realize this.” —leannemarie (I've found that any small thing that liberates your creativity can make a big difference!)

“Trust your characters, not your outline.” —starlitsky (I love this. It’s a wonderful gut check to make sure it’s your characters’ motivations--rather than any preconceived plot points--that are driving your story.)

“Read everything aloud. That was you can catch awkward phrasing and typos.” —Kit Cooley (I might add that this is a wonderful way to spot unnatural or stilted dialogue.)

“If it’s making you uncomfortable, you’ve nailed it. … I know the writing is real, then, from my own heart, from places I don’t want to look too closely.” —ldraconus (This can be equally true whether you’re writing a memoir or fiction.)

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated. As promised, one lucky commenter has been chosen at random to win a copy of the new issue of Writer’s Digest. The winner is: Popper99. Please send an email to writersdigest [at] fwmedia [dot] com with “Issue Giveaway Winner” in the subject line, and include your full name and mailing address. We’ll get your copy out to you right away!

How to Become a Better Writer

For the full list of WD readers’ own top tips for better writing—and to add your own—don’t miss my original post and our readers’ thoughtful comments on How to Become a Better Writer. And for our latest articles on the topic (including "5 Story Mistakes Even Good Writers Make," "7 Simple Ways to Make a Good Story Great," and many more), be sure to check out our brand-new March/April issue: “Make Your Writing Stand Out!” on your favorite newsstand or in the Writer’s Digest Shop, or download a PDF of the issue here.

Jessica Strawser
Editor, Writer’s Digest

Follow me on Twitter: @jessicastrawser
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