How to Improve Your Writing —
This is an amazing guest post by Susan Day (Astro’s Adventures Book Club), an Australian writer. Susan got in touch with me via Twitter, and offered to do a blog post. Well, of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I think you’ll see why..
Writing is a solitary occupation where we authors spend most of our time drawing ideas deep from a well of creativity. We do this on our own, hunched over keyboards while consuming vast amounts of coffee. Well, I do
Why writers need to have their work checked
Being a writer is hard work, and getting published is a daunting task as difficult as climbing any steep mountain.
However, it is important that all writers learn to ask for help and act upon on it at every step of the process. Our manuscripts and books are products of a great deal of energy and thought. They are our “babies”, and mean the world to us. It is natural instinct that we would want to protect them from criticism.
However, no writer produces the most perfect book from the first go. Writing is a skill that needs to be honed and shaped, regardless of how talented you are.
Who should writers ask advice from?
I believe you should ask for help from people you trust. By this, I don’t mean people who are going to protect your feelings like your parents; people who are supposed to love everything you do.
You need to ask for advice from someone who you know will tell you the truth without malice or prejudice. You need to know how to make your plot more exciting and your characters more interesting, for example. You need someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in your feelings to teach you how to become a better writer.
Having said that, if someone is rude to you about your work, ignore them. They may be acting on their own base feelings of jealousy or lack of self-confidence.
Taking criticism wisely
Only a fool believes they know everything. One of the greatest methods I have employed to develop my writing skills was to listen to others’ ideas of how I could improve my stories.
After seven years of writing I still send a manuscript to just about anyone who is willing to critique it. That way it will be seen by a wide variety of different people. These range from experts who have made a career out of proof reading and editing, to other authors, to grandparents who are in my niche market. This last group is especially important because they’ll tell me if they would be happy to share my book with their grandchildren.
Whoever is reading my manuscript gets told the same thing. I beg them to look for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, lulls in the plot or things that just don’t make sense. I’m not looking for a pat on the back. What I need to know is how to make my book great before it hits the shelf. After all, there is nothing worse than a reader emailing you a list of errors they found in your book. I would rather know what I need to do to improve it before it was published rather than afterwards.
I am also gracious, and always thank them. I appreciate anyone who has taken time out of their busy day to read my work.
In my honest opinion, those writers who ask for help and listen to criticisms, are those who are going to make their dreams of becoming a published author a reality sooner rather than later.
About the author – Susan Day
Susan Day is a children’s author and writer.
Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren. In particular, Susan specializes in helping grandparents share their love of books with their grandchildren. Susan is currently writing a book titled, The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing!
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves drinking coffee, painting and learning to box.