11 Tips that Will Make Your Writing Shine

Whether you’re creating content for your blog or working on a new book, you’re got to admit something—writing, especially good writing—is hard. And it doesn’t help that we writers are usually somewhat perfectionist.

make writing shine

We all want to stand out, don’t we? To rise above the noise of this world and make an impact. We want our voices to be heard. But with all the clutter and grime in today’s society, how will we ever break through and shine?

Tip 1: Prepare

It’s hard to create good content without a plan. You need a roadmap—a way to navigate the twists and turns that show up on any creative venture. Whether you use an outline or simply write a few bullet points to keep on track, make sure you give yourself adequate time to prepare for the day’s work.

Tip 2: Declutter

Clutter comes in two forms: physical and mental. Whether it’s a messy desk or the distractions of social media, it’s time to clean out the proverbial cobwebs so you can get to work. You may not realize it, but these things will destroy your creativity.

Tip 3: Find a focus

One of the biggest things that’s keeping your writing from standing out is lack of focus. Each time you sit down to write a piece, ask yourself these four questions:

  • Who is this for?
  • How will it help or inspire them? (What problem will it solve?)
  • How will they feel after reading it?
  • What should they do next?

Tip 4: Get enough sleep

As writers, we’re prone to deprive ourselves of much needed sleep; convince ourselves we don’t need it. It’s not uncommon to find yourself working until midnight, but the truth is, lack of sleep is going to hinder your writing far more than giving up those extra few hours.

Tip 5: Exercise

The best content creators aren’t just sitting behind desks all day. Instead, they’re out working up a nice sweat. Staying active not only increases physical stamina, but adds to your mental health as well, allowing you to maximize your creativity. If you want your writing to really shine, maybe it’s time to visit the gym.

Tip 6: Develop a solid writing habit

Sporadic writing rarely turns out to be spectacular. You’ve heard it before, but if you want to get better: practice. Consistently. Even if it’s only a few hundred words per day, developing a good writing habit will help polish your voice.

Tip 7: Cut the fluff

We live in a busy world. Everywhere there’s noise and constant competition, and if you want to stand out–to rise above it–you’ve got to learn the art of brevity. Keep it short. Cut unnecessary modifiers or filler words and keep to the point.

Tip 8: Keep it simple

Somehow we get the idea complicated is better, but it’s a lie, and the result often resembles something like a tangled ball of string. Remember focus? In the end, it’s the simple, well-executed ideas that win the day.

Tip 9: Be aware of your atmosphere

It’s important to be in tune with your atmosphere: are there creative roadblocks present that may be hindering your work? If so, find a way to eliminate them.

Tip 10: Read

One of the secrets to becoming a great writer is to be a voracious reader. Be a consumer of great content—both fiction and non-fiction. If you’re a blogger, read other blogs. Explore. Expand your knowledge base and it will transform your writing.

Tip 11: Give yourself permission to be imperfect

Perfectionism kills creativity like nothing else. As creatives, we demand so much of ourselves and often end up feeling guilty for being unable to accomplish it. We become exhausted, frustrated, and discouraged. By giving yourself permission to be imperfect, you’re creating an opportunity for your best work to be born.

Let’s chat!

  • Have you applied these tips to your writing? How have they helped?
  • Which of these things do you find most challenging?
  • Do you have any tips to add to this list?

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and share it with a friend, or reply on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to hear about your writing journey!

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29 thoughts on “11 Tips that Will Make Your Writing Shine

  1. Wonderful! I love these tips, I can attest that reading is definitely a huge help in writing. It broadens your understanding of the world, and gives you a more dynamic perspective on the things you write about (on all topics)

    • Hey, thanks for commenting, Isaac! I totally agree. Reading is such an important time investment for writers of any kind. The pieces of perspective, style, and knowledge you gain are impossible to come by any other way.

  2. This is great! I’d say the most important one for me is #10. Reading is the easiest, most enjoyable way to develop your voice as a writer… especially related to a specific genre.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Definitely! Reading books inside the genre you want to write is one of the best places you can spend your time. I’ve learned so much from that myself.

  3. I agree with all of these! Especially reading; ever since I started seriously writing, I read books in a more analytical way, picking up techniques and writing down certain phrases and metaphors that inspire me the most. :]
    Getting enough sleep is the most challenging for me. I consider it a success if I can get to sleep by 11:30!

    • Yes, starting to read like a writer is helpful. You learn to pick out more details and style nuances that way. It’s great!

      Same here, to be honest. I always feel like I have so much to do, and I have to remind myself that I’ll do it better if I don’t exhaust myself.

  4. These tips are really good! I really struggle with getting enough sleep, especially because I feel the most creative at one in ther morning. I would also add to just be confident with what you’ve written and to not second guess yourself, kind of like point #11.

    • Yes, honestly, sleep is one of the hardest for me as well. I tend to get very caught up in what I’m doing, and I don’t even realize how late it’s getting.

      Great point! Being confident in your own writing is definitely a good way to help strengthen your voice. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yeah, I’m working on regular exercise as well. I find it really helps stimulate my creativity, so it’s worth sticking to! Sam and I are trying to go to the gym at his college at least three times a week, but it’s a little difficult between classes and other *gasp* social commitments we have. 😛

  5. Thank you so much Emily!! That was just exactly what I needed to hear today to give me a creative boost and a reminder of what writing is all about 🙂 I have been really enjoying your blog lately as it comes into my email throughout the week! Thank you for all the encouragement and advice! You are so inspiring to me, and have been such a help in my own writing journey 🙂

    • You’re welcome! I’m so glad to hear it was helpful. (: Thanks for commenting! It’s always super encouraging to know you’re finding value here.

  6. Great tips!

    This may be just the site I’ve been looking for. I’m 64 yrs old. I used to write when I was very young and I still keep a journal. (Which, by the way, is my tip for writers) This past Xmas, my daughters gave me a book, “How to Write Your Own Life Story”, by Lois Daniel. My girls want me to write my life story so that they will truly know who I am and everything about me. I really want to do this. I wish I had a book like that about my own mother or ANY family member! So, I’m listening and reading about how to do it. It’s not that I’ve had the most interesting life, but I don’t want them to yawn all the way through it. Of course they will have my journals but there is a lot of boredom there, I just want them to really know who I am and how I came to be who I am.

    Thanks for your help Linda

    • That’s awesome, Linda! What a neat idea. I’m so glad these tips helped you and I wish you luck with your project!

    • De-cluttering was huge for me. And I still need to do it on a regular basis, but it really works! Thanks for commenting. (:

  7. Wow. As I gather my thoughts on my book project, this has brought me incredible clarity. Thank you for keeping it simple and concise! LOVE this and can’t wait to explore your entire blog!

  8. I am 75 years old and have just had my first book ‘The a Cry of the Hangkaka’ published. I found your tips very helpful as I am always looking for ways to improve my writing. I had a solid writing habit but have moved recently to an old age retirement village where people don’t understand the need for the writer to be solitary. I’m struggling to get back into my old routine. I have ditched face book as it wastes time. I walk, I read, I need to deal with some creative blocks but I am full of ideas for a second and third book. I’ve posted your tips on Pinterest.

    • Congrats on getting published, Anne! That is so exciting! I’m glad you enjoyed these tips, and that they were helpful. Thanks for commenting and sharing. I really appreciate it! Good luck on all your future writing adventures! (:

  9. Sheesh I have problems with all of these. But carry on I shall. “A writer is an amateur who never gave up.”

  10. Hi Emily,

    I just came across your blog on FB. Thanks for sharing these great tips. Many of them we all know but fail to implement them day after day and then we end up way off track.

    I think your Tip 7: Cut the fluff is one of the best. It may just be me but as much as I would love to sit and read long posts, the majority of them just don’t hold my attention long enough. I think your Tip #7 is priceless.

    I will be sharing this post with my writing group on Facebook. Have a great new week coming up.

    • Thanks so much, Monna! I’m glad you found these tips useful. I agree–#7 is one of the best, and one of the hardest, sometimes. It’s hard to part with words we’ve spent so long crafting, but in the end, it’s almost always a good move.

  11. Absolutely especially for new writers READ, READ and READ some more. Make sure that what you read is something that you wish you had written because you love the story and the characters so much.

  12. I agree with most of this, although, don’t get discouraged when you prepare but your writing takes you on a tangent. It’s amazing the things you can come up with if you let your imagination fly.

  13. I’m 81 and self-published my first novel, Honky Tonk, in February last year to celebrate my 80th birthday. It’s undeniably autobiographical (five years of my life, 1948 – 1953), though there’s a strong fictional element.
    Writing the second novel, The Last Caravaggio, set in Naples, is harder but it’s developing faster (Honky Tonk took me several years) in spite of my doing a full-time teaching job. Hope to finish it in September. It seems I’ve got the autobiographical clutter out of the way, though I’ve been inNaples since 1965!
    Thanks for your reminders/tips. They’ll help me with the present chapter.

    • That’s awesome! Congrats on the publication of your novel! It’s set in one of my favorite time periods as well, which is super cool. Best of luck to you with this new one, and I’m glad you found these tips helpful! 🙂