Thursday, February 24, 2011

Work in Progress: 10 Writing Tips I Wish I Would Follow

Here are some pieces of good advice that have come my way that I would like to follow. So why don’t I? Maybe, now that I can see it all in writing, I will...

1. When you print out your story/essay/etc. to revise it, put it in Courier font so it looks less “finished.”

2. Don’t put up barriers to your work time and space—i.e. “I can only work in the early morning; I can only work when it’s perfectly quiet,” etc. Look for ways to do the work even if the conditions are imperfect.

3. When you’re thinking about a large project like a novel, keep a scrapbook of items (items = any way you chose to interpret that word, i.e. articles, ticket stubs, menus, brochures, pictures) for all the main characters…then never look at that scrapbook again as you write.

4. Start each writing day by reading a poem.

5. Memorize a poem a week.

6. Keep an ongoing list of interesting words.

7. Make a spreadsheet for your submissions. (Okay, I know why I don’t follow this one—because I don’t want to learn Excel. And what’s so awful about little pen scribbles on index cards?)

8. Write about the thing(s) that scare you most.

9. Write as if the people you worry about reading the work are dead.

10. Don’t always be so anal and linear and literal—i.e. feel free to not force “10 tips” when there are actually only 9. (Haha—can you tell that I just made this one up?)


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.