When it comes to writing, the muse can be as elusive as profitable work. There are many methods and tips available, and as many approaches as there are words in the English language. It is important to find things that work for you and that are proven. Here are some proven writing tips that can help you find a little spark or get a fresh outlook.
The idea of writing practice is pretty much a cliché by now, but doing it correctly really does help. Posting on blogs gives you practice with no real pressure and gives you more experience writing naturally. This can help when you are trying to integrate conversations in an article or book, and it keeps your fingers moving. It is important for certain parts of what you write to be second nature, and this helps get the words flowing.
Try posting on forums that interest you. It keeps you in practice, and on subjects that interest you. Another approach to practice is to post on forums that interest you, but that you do not know much about. Read and catch up on a forum for a few days and see how things work. If you observe, you will be researching without pressure, and it can become more natural. It will give you an inside track into communicating with people who are more familiar with the subject as well.
You can practice by chronicling your day, or transcribing a favorite movie or television show. These are simple ways to work different aspects of writing into your approach and help to make them second nature.
English is a living, breathing language that is constantly changing, so stay up to date. Familiarize yourself with the Associated Press Style Guide. It is inexpensive and allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on with pop culture terms, as well as what is correct while writing. Even if you do not use the Associated Press style, it can still keep you up to date and inform you of new and correct spellings.
Reading is another way to stay relevant. Anytime you have downtime, pick up a magazine and read it. Go to a news website and find articles that interest you. Every time you read, you retain information as well as learn new words. For a writer, reading whenever you can is like trying new dishes is to a chef.
With the way social media and texting have taken over our communications, short hand and poor grammar are no longer the exception to the rule. Articles and news reports need to be turned around and released so fast there are errors everywhere. Hardly an article is published even on the biggest, most respected sites that do not have some sort of glaring error. Do not let this affect your approach. Stay diligent in all of your practices when it comes to writing and proofing. It may save you a bit of time to blog and leave errors, but at what cost? There are rules to grammar and writing for a reason; they are a universal way for us all to write so we can all be understood. Of course, these are flexible in most cases, but if you write for fun, or for a living, it is a good idea to keep with good practices.
Hopefully these tips will help with whatever writing you do. There are common themes that show up in these tips: pressure and reading. When you have practiced without pressure, you are prepared when an opportunity to write under a tight deadline presents itself.
Diane Johnson (no relation to the owner of this blog) writes about a number of her interests including shopping, continuing education (http://www.classesandcareers.net/), and traveling.