Blog by Toby Welch

<< back to article list

How to Excel as a Writer

Publishing professional, Edie Melson, shared her fabulous tips for how to excel as a writer in a blog post on The Write Conversation:

“1. Embrace my creativity. One of the things that happens with my mind is that it’s always coming up with new ideas. Instead of shutting out these ideas, I keep a list. Now, I never lack for a blog post topic or article idea.

2. Work in small bites of time. I get twitchy if I have to sit still for more than an hour, so I plan my day in hour-long blocks of time.

3. Don’t stress about working on more than one project at once. There is lots of advice out there about only working on one thing at a time. The problem isn’t on how many things I work on at once—AS LONG AS I’m finishing projects regularly. The problem comes if I only start things and never finish them.

4. Write through the rabbit trails. In high school and college I learned how to write papers and articles by coming up with a theme sentence and focusing on that through-out the paper. That’s good advice, for the final draft. But the rough draft is supposed to be…well…rough. That’s the time to experiment and try things out. I’ve come up with some really good stuff by following a rabbit trail to its end. Often I come up with two or three good things. Good for a freelance writer.

5. Let your boredom be a barometer. Often when I get bored with a project it’s a symptom of a problem—and not with me. It means I’ve lost focus or need to add something to what I’ve written. I’ve discovered I’ve got pretty good instincts and I’ve learned to trust them.

6. Freewriting is my friend. Sometimes my mind is spinning with so many ideas I don’t know where to start. That’s when I pull out the pen and paper and start writing. No rules, just words. In very short order my brain has pulled some order out of chaos and I’m ready to get to work.

7. Keep track of time and set limits. I could research for hours. Every fact seems to lead to another, and then to another and then…well you get the idea. I give myself a time limit for research and that helps limit the distractions.

8. Keep research and writing separate. When I’m done with my allotted research time, I start writing. If I come across something I need to check, I make a note, but I don’t stop writing. Otherwise it’s hard to get things finished.

These are the things I’ve found to help me succeed.”

There is also so much we can learn from other writers. Thanks Edie!