Stephen King: Tips For Becoming A Better Writer

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

You either got it, or you don’t: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Writing is a lifelong commitment if you are passionate about it. BUT being passionate doesn’t equal talent, so what do you do? You really want to get your stuff out there but maybe lack in creativity and skill… Stephen King, probably one of the best current writers, has some advice for novice as well as professional writers – because there’s always plenty of room for improvement:

Don’t waste your reader’s time with too much back-story, long intros or longer anecdotes about your life. Reduce the noise. Reduce the babbling. In On Writing King gets to his points quickly. Get to your point quickly too before your reader loses patience and moves on. Cut to the chase

King recommends that you crank out a first draft and then put it in your drawer to let it rest. Now, how long you let your text rest may vary. King puts his manuscripts away for several months before rereading and start the editing process. This enables you to get out of the mindset you had when you wrote the draft and get a more detached and clear perspective on the text. It then becomes easier to edit, add and cut in a sometimes kinda ruthless way. The result is most often a better text. So give it a rest

When you revisit your text it´s time to kill your darlings and remove all the superfluous words and sentences. Removing will declutter your text and often get your message through with more clarity and a bigger emotional punch. Declutter is the word

King has an honest voice in his fiction and in his memoir. He tells it like it is and makes us relate to him and his characters. Honesty matters.

When you read you always pick up things. Sometimes it might be reminders about what you know you should be doing while you write. Sometimes it’s some cool idea or just the world and atmosphere the writer is painting. Sometimes it’s something totally new that makes your jaw drop. That one is my favourite. And sometimes you learn what you should avoid doing. There are almost always lessons you can learn.

If you want to be a better writer you need to read a lot to get fresh input, broaden your horizons and deepen your knowledge. And to evolve you need to mix yourself up with new influences and see what happens. Cut down on junk tv and grab a book

To become a better writer you probably – and not so surprisingly – need to write more.

Many of the best in different fields – Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods – have gone beyond normal limits of practise. And so they reap extraordinary results.

But what do you do when you don´t feel like writing? Waiting for inspiration can become a long wait.

One good way to get around this is to find an effective solution to reduce procrastination. You may have to try a few before you find one that works for you. Another way is well, just to do it. And if you just get going your emotions changes a lot of the time and any initial resistance becomes fun and enthusiasm instead. Practice, practice, practice. Blogging is such a good way to get your writing out there.

A recommended read is Stephen King’s “On Writing” , part autobiography part lecture for aspiring novelists and writers.

Leave a Reply