Guest Post: Joel Heffner: 25 Down to Earth Writing Tips

[This post originally appeared on Joel Heffner’s website/blog on Jul 18, 2010 and is re-posted here with permission. The original post can be seen here. Joel Heffner is a writer, speaker, and creativity consultant. He is the creator of The Story Starter (http://www.thestorystarter.com). You can find him at http://www.joelheffner.com and @JoelHeffner on Twitter.]

25 Down to Earth Writing Tips

  1. Do not blame anyone for your mistakes and failures. — Bernard Baruch
  2. Switch your point of view. Would that make your story better?
  3. You can restart your life right now! If you weren’t a writer yesterday, you can be a writer starting right now!
  4. Life begins every second. Don’t waste time thinking about it, start writing.
  5. To be creative, you might want to do things the un-techie way (for example, postcards instead of emails).
  6. Start your next short story by writing the last line…first.
  7. Go for perfect! Book writing has never been easier. Years ago, when I had to change a word I had to re-type (with a typewriter) the whole chapter.
  8. Can you tell your “story” using a series of pictures (with and/or without captions)?
  9. Try writing a short story that incorporates a line from http://thestorystarter.com.
  10. Follow less, lead more.
  11. Watch less TV and write more.
  12. All of the writers on the best sellers lists had (and probably still have) the same doubts as you.
  13. Read a magazine you never read before. It’s full of ideas…for writers.
  14. Starting a sentence with an “ing” word is a great way to start.
  15. Whenever you want to say “someday” substitute “today” and you’ll do better.
  16. Many procrastinators masquerade as writers. If you want to be a writer…write. Period.
  17. Gardeners will tell you that you have to be patient to see the fruits of your hard work…sometimes years!
  18. Get a 2010 almanac! Read through it when you have time. You might (probably will) come up with story ideas.
  19. Fine writing, like fine wine, doesn’t happen over night.
  20. If you can write a 5 paragraph composition, you can write a magazine article. Same thing…just a bit longer.
  21. Does your character transform for the better or worse? What would happen if you switched it?
  22. You can learn more going to a place you’ve never been than spending hours online. It must be the air!
  23. Going to the movies is nice…reading a movie script gives you a sense of how the story comes together.
  24. To learn how to write, study gardeners, photographers, poker players, pizza makers, etc. Learn from everyone.
  25. Just like the tango, it takes TWO to write…one writer and at least one other person to read. I’m not big on writing for myself.
  • Ssunmonu

    Great post. There's some good advice in there. I started a blog as a means of writing every day and it has helped but I've been putting off working on my short stories for some time. I was actually using Stumbleupon the other day and came up on some great images. So I'm going to procrastinate on my short stories again and write about those images. Not only do I have something to write about, I can't be considered lazy either!

    • Kerri

      That's very true! As long as you're writing about something, it can be considered progress. Happy writing!

  • Tim Arrick

    Actually some pretty good information in there for life in general :-)

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