10 Writing Tips From a New Writer

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Steph Castelein smiling and standing on a bridge.
Hi! I’m Steph and I’m a new writer.

Are you a new writer? Me too.

Well, at least a new “putting it out there consistently for the world to see” writer and it’s because of this blog.

I haven’t always been a writer/blogger but it’s always been a dream. Sure I’ve dabbled here and there, I’ve journaled, and I’ve always written longer than average text for my Instagram posts, but now that I’m blogging for real, I’m determined to do it more consistently and even more determined to find ways to do it better.

And I finally feel like I’m getting better, but the thing is it took me a while to get here. 3 years actually. Mostly because I didn’t have a system…or a direction…or any goals. I just thought the writing would come and I could figure it out from there. Wrong. It wasn’t until I started implementing the 10 tips below that I really started to find my rhythm.

Now? I’m putting out content weekly and sometimes twice a week. I’m more consistent than I’ve ever been and I’ve been able to start working ahead (something I am very unfamiliar with as I’m the world’s best procrastinator).

I wanted to share the 10 tips that have truly helped me with my writing. They’re not so much the finesse writing side of things, more the physical I guess you could say. What it takes to sit yourself down (or stand if you’re a mover like I am) and produce something.

Whether you’re a current blogger, a future blogger, a content creator, or not quite sure what you’re trying to create, maybe you’re an avid journal-er, or a write all your thoughts on 100 different sticky notes kind of person, I have a feeling you’ll find these tips helpful. Remember, you too can do this writing thing, whatever it may look like for you.

1. Write when you’re most creative

Are you most creative first thing in the morning? Do your juices start flowing once you’ve had lunch? Are you the night owl who somehow gets ultra creative as soon as it’s time for bed?

Pay attention to when you’re feeling most creative and try to write during this time. Anything outside this time is doable, but it’s a lot harder to get done. Trust me on this one.

For me, it’s right away in the morning after I’ve done the dishes and poured myself a cup of coffee. I feel like I have the whole day to tackle my latest writing project and I haven’t had time to get distracted by the outside world.

2. Set up a workspace that fuels your creativity

Your workspace baby, let’s talk about it. You might not think your workspace has a lot to do with how much you write but I guarantee it does. You’re going to want to find a space that inspires you, helps you focus, and makes sure you’re able to get work done. If that’s a small room, fine. A big open space, awesome. Do you thrive at the coffee shop, the library, or a space in your home? Need a candle? Get a candle. Need some natural light? Find a window. Whatever it is you need for your workspace that will help you be more productive.

I recently made a simple switch to the other side of our coffee table and made myself a makeshift stand-up desk and let me tell you, it’s made the world of difference. I’m able to move and sway and shift (I’m a mover people can you tell?) and I don’t get distracted every time I look up because I no longer am looking at Scott’s workspace. I’m able to stay focused on my own projects and this simple change has been huge in my productivity.

3. Plan what you’re going to write about

Not knowing what I was going to write about might have been my biggest hurdle I had to overcome. I would be all ready to write, all distractions gone, laptop open, the world at my fingertips annnnnnddddd……..nothing. I literally wouldn’t write anything, because I could write everything. My mind was all over the place. Should I write about this, should I mention that? I didn’t have a vision or a goal or a point.

Once I came up with some writing topics and put them all in a “blog ideas” folder, my writing excelled. It was like my writing suddenly had a purpose and so did I.

Here are 3 (more) tips for planning what you’re going to write about:

  1. Use a title generator. This has been so helpful for helping me brainstorm and think and get creative with different topics I wanted to write about.
  2. Keep a running list. Jot things down when you think of them. Don’t brush off any ideas. You never know when you’ll want to come back to it or how it might fit in. I keep a giant list on my computer at all times. It has future blog posts planned out on it as well as a whole list of ideas I haven’t quite found how to fit in yet but that I’m still excited about.
  3. Stay flexible. Always, people. It’s ok if your blog topics vary or you don’t have a streamlined theme or suddenly you’re posting about your favorite recipes. I thought I would be a travel blogger. I’d talk about our adventures, where we stayed, how we did it, etc. Turns out, we’re not really in a season of traveling. And so, I made a shift to a lifestyle blogger and much to my surprise I’m even more excited about this than I was to write about traveling.

4. Establish a routine

Now that you’ve read about my first 3 tips, I challenge you to create a writing routine. Write every day my friend. Sit (or stand) in your workspace, during your most creative time, with your plan for the day and write. Every. Dang. Day.

It doesn’t have to be long or perfect or complete, just make sure you’re writing. Writing every day creates discipline and creates a habit. It won’t be easy and it won’t always be fun. You’ll probably struggle. But I promise if you can keep pushing through and continue to write even when you don’t feel like it, it will only get easier. Soon enough you’ll hit a point where the writing is just another task for the day instead of the task for the day.

5. Write like you’re speaking to someone

Do you ever have something you’re excited to write about and you sit down and don’t even know where to begin? It sounds so great in your mind but the words you’re writing down don’t make any sense.

I’m a very relaxed writer but a trick I always use is to start talking and then start typing. I imagine myself with a friend, telling them what I’m about to write about. Somehow an introduction and a story begin to evolve. If you’re stuck, just start talking and see what happens.

6. Give yourself deadlines and post your work

I challenge you with this one. Create deadlines and goals for your writing and put them out for the world to read. Create a schedule and a minimum number of posts you want to create a week and make it happen. This will help you hold yourself accountable.

It’s easy to put off writing when you’re not writing for anything. But when you have a space for your work to live, it’s extra motivation to complete your writings. Also, without establishing a specific number of posts or articles or blogs you’re wanting to accomplish per week you’re less likely to get any done. Set a specific number and stick with it. I started with a goal of one blog every week and even that was a challenge in the beginning. I’d start small and pick something doable while you gain confidence because you can always write more in the future.

7. Start by writing for word count or time

This is something I did right away and it forced me to write when I didn’t quite know how. I started writing for 750. words. I forced myself to keep writing until I accomplished it

Then I started writing for time. I wanted to see what my writing looked like when I set a time limit for myself. It was generally 20 minutes to an hour but varied depending on the day.

Now, I write for as long as I need, to complete a task. Sometimes that’s 3 hours for a blog post, sometimes 20 minutes for a quick Instagram post.

Do whatever method it takes to get you writing more often.

8. Read your work out loud

Again with the talking out loud thing. Once you revise your text a few times, be sure to read it out loud.

How does it sound? How does it flow? What changes do you need to make? I know I get caught in thinking my writing is clear and obvious. When you read your work out loud you hear it differently and you can be sure it makes sense to you and hopefully your readers.

9. Done is better than perfect

Can I get an amen? I’m a big big fan of the saying, done is better than perfect. Oh, I believe you should 100% put your best efforts into making great work, but just remember my friend, no one was inspired by a post that is still a draft.

Trust me on this one, for the longest time I was paralyzed by that first blog post being perfect. How was I going to kick this blogging thing off with a bang? I finally realized I just had to get it done and face the fact that it probably wouldn’t be perfect. And spoiler, it wasn’t.

I can honestly say that some of my projects I didn’t feel were quite good enough or were lacking or weren’t all that I thought they could be have been are some of my most popular posts. I’ve had more people than I’ve ever thought reach out and say they were impacted or it helped or they really liked what I had written. The done over perfect theory is necessary for starting and becoming a writer, otherwise, you’ll be stuck waiting forever for perfection.

10. Read

They say great writers read. Read other blogs, other books, sign up for emails, or follow people on social media so you can see how other people write and you’ll soon start to establish your writing voice.

Pay attention to their flow, their set up, how it makes you feel, etc.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is a classic book on writing.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is a book that inspires me to create more.
Everybody Writes by Ann Handley is another writing book I found helpful.
Erin Loechner’s blog Design For Mankind is one of my favorites.
A collection of poems by Mary Oliver in Why I Wake Early always makes me want to sit and write.

Everyone is different but everyone writes. Find what works for you, stay consistent, and push yourself to write more. It will only get easier.

KEEP READING

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