As an author, you need to have some good writing strategies in the toolbox when learning how to write a novel.
Writing blindly with no plan will waste time, create messy storylines, and result in unfinished novels. If a book is poorly written and uninspired, it's doubtful it will become anything close to a best-seller.
Nobody will waste time on books that are confusing or boring. You can tell if a book will fail or succeed based on whether it engages its readers or not. If a work isn’t precise and put together in a consistent way, it won't keep anyone interested.
More than 85% of people love to read books, and as an author, you could pull in a considerable profit if your book is successful.
Writing strategies will help a book stand the test of time. You should always use writing strategies that will entice your readers to read your book from start to finish and leave them wanting more.
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The Benefits of Writing Strategies
Utilizing some specific and goal-oriented writing strategies will help your writing in several ways. There are many benefits you will enjoy once you start using them.
They Help You Think Critically
When you have writing strategies in place they will help you think about your ideas before starting with them. World-class writing comes from world-class thinking.
When you know one of your goals is to wow your audiences and add value to their lives through your book, it will help you think effectively on how to achieve that.
They Will Enhance Your Writing Skills
Having writing strategies in place will help develop your writing skills by pushing your boundaries and challenging your ability.
This will help you meet the constantly changing expectations, thoughts, and desires of readers. You will be able to bring out the theme of your book with ease and finesse.
They Help You Create a Plan
Having writing strategies will help you form a logical and effective plan.
Having a plan and setting goals will ensure you complete things in a timely manner rather than leaving them for years and years.
A good plan and reasonable timelines and goals will also help you meet any professional deadlines you may have without stressing.
They Will Create Good Writing Habits
Having writing strategies helps set you up with good writing habits.
When you know what you're doing and have something to work towards, good habits will start to form naturally. Once you've gotten yourself into a good routine, writing will feel like second nature and not a burden.
When you're in a good routine with solid habits, you'll be more productive than ever.
They Help You Plan For the Future
Having clear strategies in place will help you plan ahead. Especially once you've used the strategies for a few different projects, you'll develop a process. Following it will become easier and faster over time.
When you have an idea of how things will go, you'll be able to make a long-term plan - such as how many books you can write in a year, for example.
They Bring Out the Best in You
Bold and determined writing strategies will push you to beat barriers and break new grounds. You will develop and refine your skills as you work to use and improve your writing strategies.
Top 10 Writing Strategies for Authors
The benefits that come with writing strategies are many. Some strategies will work better for different types of writers as well as different genres. But, many of them are more or less universal.
1. Have an Attractive Title
One of the most important things you'll write is the title, regardless of what exactly you're writing - be it a book, article, or a blog post.
What your audiences or readers see first is the title. A title is like a mirror to your content. It gives a clue to what your book is about, so give your work a worthy, catchy, and effective title.
This will help your book be the best it can be, but it will also help it sell. The title along with the cover make up the first impression people have of your book. They can decide within seconds if they're going to further consider your book or not.
2. Study Your Favorite Authors
Most writers, at some point, have wished they could write exactly like a certain author whose writing they just love. Maybe their writing style is some of the most engaging you've ever seen, or perhaps their word choice is just exquisite.
Whatever the reason may be, it's a good idea to study the writing of authors like these, and try to imitate them. You don't want to copy what they write, but learning their style and figuring out why it works will serve to enhance your own skills.
Pay attention to a few key things when you're studying the writing of an author you admire:
- How is their writing organized?
- What type of language and perspective do they use most often?
- What sort of stylistic choices do they make? Italics, quotations, dialogue, etc.
- What is their sentence structure like?
3. Listen to the Reader
While it's important that you love what you're writing, always remember that you're not only writing for yourself. If you're looking to make a living and a career out of writing, you need to keep your audience in mind.
Always pay attention to the market. What are people after? What's lacking from the best-selling lists? How can you do better than what's out there?
Once you know exactly what you're writing - fiction, nonfiction, specific genre - do further research. Ask yourself some questions:
- What do people reading in this category want to get from a book?
- Can you answer any burning questions they may have?
- How are they responding to what's already out there?
Don't neglect the market. Write what you love, but also write what's needed.
4. Have an Outline
Some people hate outlines. The reality is, though, that they are often crucial to true success.
The more specific and detailed you can be with your outline, the better.
Trying to write a properly structured, well-developed story without an outline will often result in a mess. If you struggle to create good outlines, try using writing software like Sqiubler to help you.
An outline will not only keep your story on track but it will save you time. You'll always know where the story is going and you won't have to sit there coming up with new ideas when you've got a half-finished manuscript in front of you.
If you get stuck, referring back to the outline will help you get back on pace.
Something that compliments an outline nicely is a template. Templates are like the basics of a pre-made outline. They separate your manuscript into chapters or sections and provide guidelines for each in terms of storyline and structure:
Squibler has designed these templates with story structure in mind. There are general templates as well as genre-specific options. They can help you craft an effective and engaging story with minimal stress and pressure.
5. Enhance Your Vocabulary
While you do want to keep your writing readable and easy to understand, a strong vocabulary is still essential.
You want your writing to be interesting, and engaging. You want it to have an appealing flow. None of this can happen if your vocabulary is weak.
You can create a beautiful story with wonderful characters and a perfect structure. But, if you use the same words over and over again, it will still sound and feel boring.
Increase your stock of adjectives and other descriptors. Any words that can help you add more detail and richness to the story - learn them.
One of the best ways to increase your vocabulary is to read pieces that challenge you. Not only will you learn the new words and their meaning, but you'll see them used in context.
6. Create a Timeline
Especially if you wish to make a living off of your writing, you need to create a proper timeline.
Take stock of what you need to do, analyze your goals, and create a schedule for yourself.
This should include a daily schedule as well as one that lays out your more long term goals and deadlines. Determine how much time you have to spend writing each day, and schedule your projects accordingly.
Once created, a look at your daily schedule should be able to help you determine when projects will be finished. Set reasonable dates, and stick to them.
Sticking to your schedules and timeline is key to success. It gives you something to work towards and keeps you accountable.
7. Improve Your Technical and Editing Abilities
Writing isn't only about a good, creative story. This is important, of course. But, even the best of stories can be ruined by too many technical errors.
Don't neglect things like grammar, spelling, and syntax.
To a degree, this knowledge and skill set will come with experience. But, that doesn't mean you shouldn't study and actively look to improve yourself.
There are countless courses, lessons, classes, and articles that can help you improve your technical skills. Many are free - use them to your advantage as much as you can.
Having strong technical skills will not only improve your writing overall, but it will save time in the editing stage if there are fewer mistakes to correct.
That being said, you will never be perfect. Mistakes will always be made, and this is why it's good to also improve upon your editing skills. Learn how to edit efficiently and you'll save yourself time.
Solid self-editing will also save you money. No book should go to publishing without being looked at by a professional editor. Eliminating the small mistakes yourself will save them from having to do it.
8. Read a Lot
One of the best things you can do for your writing career is to read. If you're an author of fiction, read a lot of fiction. If you want to excel in the nonfiction arena, read nonfiction.
I've already talked about studying the work of favorite authors and reading to improve your vocabulary. But, it's also important to read just for the sake of it. Read to consume. Read to be entertained.
Doing this will expose you to different styles of professional writing. You'll see, all the time, how it's done -first hand.
9. Write For the Fun of it
Yes, you want to write for your reader. You want to write something productive and meaningful. But, you also want to enjoy yourself.
Write something that's fun for you to write. One of the biggest favors you can do your readers is to enjoy yourself. If you're writing brings you joy, that will be evident in the finished product.
Your readers will feel it, and they'll love it.
10. Connect With Other Writers
Writing doesn't have to be a solitary endeavor. Make an effort to connect with other writers, either locally, online, or both.
This will make writing that much more enjoyable, and possibly a little easier. They can support you through tough or frustrating times. They can offer feedback and constructive criticism.
Connect with as many different types of writers as you can. This will increase your exposure and ultimately improve your skills as you interact and work with them.
Lastly, it will build your network. Everyone knows someone, and you might just run into your next editor or a publisher that loves your book.
Avoid Distractions When Writing
Implementing the above strategies may end up being easier said than done. They can sound great on paper, but actually doing them can prove difficult when life inevitably gets in the way.
Ultimately, It will take determination and motivation to reach your goals. But, there are some simple things you can do to eliminate obstacles and forge ahead seamlessly.
Avoiding distractions may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be hard. We are surrounded by more distractions than ever these days, with technology and the internet.
You can resist the temptation of distraction by sheer will-power, but some don't have enough. If you find that you struggle with distractions while trying to write, I highly recommend a program called Freedom.
This is a simple but useful software that, when turned on, will block apps and websites, or even the entire internet if you wish.
You can pick and choose which specific websites are blocked, so you can still use ones you may need. It also works on your cell phone and can block apps and notifications from working.
Eliminating the very possibility of getting online and being distracted will increase your productivity.
Keep Refining Your Writing Strategies
Don't get caught thinking that your strategies must be set in stone. Once created and started, they can still be changed and refined. As you learn more about how to write a book, your process will evolve.
If you find a way to make a strategy better and more effective, don't be afraid to go with it.
The point of writing strategies is to keep you productive, help you improve, and to write books that will be successful. As long as they're doing this, they're useful to you.