Saturday, November 15, 2008

A - Z of Writing Success

Yourself. Writing is a challenge and often a lonely one. To keep yourself motivated, set targets and reward yourself when you meet them. Also pay attention to yourself, including allowing time to think and for letting ideas form as well as to your general lifestyle. To be and to write at your best, you do need to pay attention to yourself.

Finally the letter Z could stand for zest or zeal, both of which are important, but instead let it stand for zig-zag. In writing there are days when the words and ideas flow well but there are others which are difficult and a struggle. As writers we zig-zag about, from successes to days of rejection and failure. But whether we zig or zag the main thing is we keep going and so give ourselves and our writing more chance.
Good luck.

I hope you will have found my A - Z of Writing Success helpful, inspiring and that it leads on to some acceptances.
The main thing is, keep writing, keep perservering.

I am hoping my ebook Achieve More Acceptances and Be Published More Often will be available in the next 6 weeks from Lulu. If you would like a discounted version of the current edition, please email

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A - Z of Writing Success

Vocabulary. Words are the tools of the writer and you must choose and use them well. And although it can sometimes be tempting to use more grandiose words, simple words which everyone can understand can be far more effective. In speech sometimes just using 'said' is better than interrupting the flow with an alternative, such as exaggerated or expostulated. And be economical with adjectives. The vocabulary you use must be clear rather than complicate.

W is for writing and to write articles, stories or books, you do need to write. Too often it can be easy to delay the writing process by carrying out even more research or doing other things but there has to be a time when this stops and you actually get to write, particularly if you are to realise your potential.

EXtra. Do not forget the extra touches. Your article may be done but have you considered adding a resource box, writing a short piece about yourself, any illustrations you could include or ways which you could make your submission more appealing? In a book sometimes just the inclusion of an opening quotation or preface can add something extra to your work. As in so much, by doing that little bit more, the extras could reward you well.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A - Z of Writing Success

Success. To make sure your writing stands the best chance of success, always follow recommended submission guidelines and address your work to a named individual. And even though you will get rejected, by repeatedly trying, you will all the time be improving your skills and increasing your chances.

Title. Never under-estimate the importance of a title. As Raymond Chandler wrote, 'A good title is the title of a successful book.' If titling an article, think of the benefits the reader would gain or an intriguing way to capture their attention. And similarly with fiction, arouse curiosity. Your title needs to appeal and draw the editor and reader in and is worth taking time to get right.

Understanding. When you write, make sure you understand the message or theme you want to convey. By having this clear in your mind and understanding the purpose behind your work, your writing will be far more powerful.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A - Z of Writing Success

Presentation. It is often said ‘looks count’ and in order to impress editors you need to present your work well. Use good quality stationery and make sure your print-outs are crisp and clean. By showing you take care, editors are more likely to give your work greater consideration.

Quotations can be very useful for writers, whether in starting articles, to illustrate points or show other people's thinking on a certain subject. To help with your writing, obtaining a good quotation book could be well worth while.

Reader. When you write, always have the reader in mind. If writing for a particular age group, visualise a reader of that age reading your work. This will help you to use the right style, vocabulary and approach. Or if writing a factual piece, think of what the reader needs to know and how they can best gain and use the information you want to put across. By considering the reader, your writing will often be stronger and more appropriate.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A - Z of Writing Success

Market. In order to sell your work you need to keep informed of markets and current publishing trends. Study magazines you are interested in writing for and become familiar with their style and content. Also look at what is being promoted in bookshops and that is favoured by certain publishers. By being aware of market trends and requirements, you will be better able to style and pitch your work.

Notebook. A notebook for recording ideas, sources and thoughts is essential and wherever you go you should always aim to have a notebook with you. Ideas can strike at the unlikeliest of times and, if not jotted down, can quickly be forgotten. Also when inspiration flags, your notebook could give you some useful ideas to work on.

Originality. In order to make your writing stand out, you need to consider how you can make your work special. What new angle or perspective can you bring to a subject that makes it different from others? Be original. Look for twists and fresh approaches and this way your work will stand more chance of being noticed.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A - Z of Writing Success

Joining. To help with your writing, joining a writers’ circle or group can be of great help. Here you can get feedback on your work as well as advice and opinions from others. Writing can be a lonely occupation and by meeting others your writing can not only benefit but you will have the chance to meet others who share your interests.

Know-how. In order to write effectively you will need to discover what works. And the best way to obtain this and the writing know-how is to read other writers in the subjects and genres you are interested in.

Learning. As a writer it is important to be aware and learn about what is going on. Whether it is learning about new publications or reading and widening your general knowledge, by being prepared to develop, your writing and skills will benefit.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A - Z of Writing Success

Genre. Choose your genre well. Write in the areas you know about rather than be tempted by markets which you may think offer big returns but which you are not really comfortable with. If you enjoy what you write this will show through in your work.

Humour. When appropriate try and inject some humour or light relief into what you write. This could be an anecdote, a quote or curious fact but its inclusion can help to make your writing more enjoyable and illustrate points in a more memorable way.

Ideas are essential to a writer and ideas are all around. Observe what is going on, look to newspapers and the media for inspiration. By being aware, by wondering, by asking ‘what if?’ you will find ideas coming more readily.