It’s a quick read with some great actionable tips to help you improve and speed up your writing.
Inside, you’ll find insights from writers — just like you — who have received tips over the years and are now sharing the best ones that have helped them move forward.
We hope you enjoy it!
Writing is a glorious, yet uniquely challenging, profession, especially when deadlines are encroaching into your creative space. It’s no surprise that people have so many questions about writing – they wonder what actually works for getting words on paper!
Sometimes, it can be hard to know who to trust to answer those burning questions.
That’s why at Ultimate Bundles, we interviewed these top experts to find out what advice they have for writers like YOU!
Filled with writing wisdom, these 26 answers give you the chance to learn from the best pro writers without spending a dime. We hope you enjoy their insights and find inspiration for your own writing journey. You’ve got this!
Here’s my #1 writing advice: Trust your readers and your writing skills enough that you don’t over-explain things in your story. If you’ve already showed us what is happening, you don’t need to tell us what the meaning is just to make sure we really got it!
Tracy Roberts & Suzanne Myers
The best piece of writing advice we’ve received and taken to heart is to treat writing like a job. It’s easy to fall into the trap of only writing when you feel inspired. Sure, it feels nice and gives you a perfect excuse to procrastinate, but you never get anything done. At the very least, you won’t be able to create and produce consistently.
To be able to make a full-time living off writing, you have to treat it like a job. You show up. You sit down. You start to type. Some days. the words flow. At other times, it’s a slog. But you make progress. And some interesting things start to happen. You get better. The writing gets better, and you can do it more quickly. Days that started off with “I don’t wanna” turn into some of your best writing days, producing chapters and scenes that you love.
We want to pass this advice on to you: Treat writing like a job. Set yourself a goal. Get it done. Get into the habit of writing every single day. It will serve you well no matter what kind of writing you do. And yes, this advice applies to fiction. It especially applies to fiction. Susanne is a published fiction author with thirteen published novels under her belt. Those wouldn’t be finished if she didn’t treat writing like a job – most days.
I’d have to say that the #1 piece of writing advice I’ve ever received is: Don’t over-edit. You can re-think and re-word until the sun sets, but there is a time to walk away and let it be.
I was never encouraged to become a writer. I was told by well-meaning friends, family, and acquaintances that not only did I not have the skill, but that it wasn’t a practical way to make money. Maybe they were right, but I did it anyway.
I found my inspiration in Benjamin Franklin, who said, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.” I decided to do both and haven’t looked back.
Write first. Edit and rewrite later.
The best writing advice I ever received was to write every day. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but getting in the habit of writing every day prepares you for any writing project, whether it’s personal or for clients. For many people, trying to fit in time for writing your novel or client work can be difficult initially. Even journaling every day can help you as a writer.
Writing every day helps you improve your writing and level up your skills. It also helps you learn how to write faster, which means you can take on more client work or write your books faster to make more money.
I’ve written every day for four years, which has helped me write more in active voice and finish client work faster, allowing me to work on personal writing projects.
One of the best writing-related tips that I’ve ever gotten was: For your first draft, just write whatever comes to mind. Let it flow and don’t stop to correct anything.
Also: Don’t wait for inspiration. Just sit down and write every single day.
Claire L. Fishback
The best piece of advice I have received as a writer is to write the first draft for myself (or with the door closed, as Stephen King puts it). I put all the weird twists and turns, explore all the forks in the road and all the rabbit holes. My first drafts may be a hot mess dumpster fire in the end, but I have explored all the options, as well as the far reaches of my imagination.
When you finish one thing, write the next thing. It helps keep me motivated and stops me from fretting about what I can’t control. So grateful to Laraine Herring for sharing that wisdom with me.
This isn’t necessarily a writing tip someone else shared with me, but one I share with writers all the time that helps them get breakthroughs.
Writing Tip: Your First Draft is Never Your Final Draft
When you are writing your first draft, I want you to repeat to yourself over and over again, “My first draft is not my final draft.”
No one has to see your first draft. No one! Not even your editor. Your first draft is for your eyes only. You have to get that first draft out of your head and onto paper. If you don’t have your first draft you have nothing – you simply have an idea.
And a book idea does not impact lives. A book idea does not earn royalties. A book idea does not bring you more business.
In order to get that idea into a published book, you have to finish your first draft. Embrace the messy process. It’s a rough draft that will be heavily edited afterward.
Once you give yourself permission to write a very messy and rough first draft, your creativity will have freedom to soar. And you will finally be able to move forward on your writing project.
To get your first draft finished, your only goal should be to write fast, bad, and rong 😉 I heard this from Derek Sivers on an episode of Tim Ferriss’ podcast.
The best piece of advice I received was to do the best that I could with the tools and skills I had. My first book had photos, and I was worried about the photo quality. I was waiting to find the perfect setting and a professional photographer. After speaking with a coach who encouraged me, I did my best with an iPhone and took the photos at my house. Then a friend helped with formatting and proofreading my book.
I published it with the intention that I could go back and improve it later, but I never did. The book was fine; it was helpful content, which is what matters in the end. Since 2014, I have sold hundreds of copies, created a course based on the book, and attracted many new customers to my business.
When you write for yourself, the exercise may be cathartic, but it’s unlikely to be successful. The gift of literature is revealed in illuminating a new message, or a new world, for your reader. As such, you should always write with your reader in mind and speak to her on every page. If nonfiction: is she learning something new? If fiction: is she staying entertained? When you deeply understand your reader, you will find your audience.
Work on your craft. Learn as much as you can and join writing critique groups, where more experienced authors provide feedback and constructive criticism, even if in the beginning you only go to read other writer’s work and listen to feedback they receive. While writing may be a creative endeavor, it still requires dedication and effort to become good at it!
Think of yourself as a great writer and publisher. You have an amazing message to share with the world. Someone out there needs that message to lift themselves up, believe in themselves once again, and have faith that everything will be okay in the end.
Unless you write that message, they will not get the help. So, write confidently and write daily.
The #1 piece of writing advice I ever received was indirectly, from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.
Julia recommends writing 750 words every morning, stream of consciousness. No editing allowed. I don’t know what it is about that 15-minute process, but it makes my entire day of writing easier. It seems like nonsense. It works like magic.
Marion Roach Smith
The best writing advice I have ever received came from my father, a sportswriter for a big New York City newspaper, who told me to “write everything like a letter home.” It has served me well in everything I have written and published. Your home people will call you out if you do not sound like yourself when you reach out. So sound like yourself when you write.
Constantly make notes. You never know when your best idea is going to hit, so always make sure you have a piece of paper and a pen to hand. Even better, use the notes app on your cell phone because your phone is always with you. You wouldn’t believe how many potential blog post titles and ideas I have in a note on my phone!
However, make sure you transfer these notes into another file on your computer where you keep track of your to-do list; otherwise I find you run the risk of losing them or forgetting about them.
The best writing advice I’ve received has been to block time off my calendar to write. Scheduling time to write and viewing my writing as a valid endeavor that is worthy of uninterrupted time has made all the difference in my productivity.
Ruth L. Snyder
Over a decade ago, I entered a Canada-wide writing contest and was shocked to hear I won first place. The prize was a writing conference in Ontario. I walked into the conference and experienced my first severe case of imposter syndrome. At the time, my five children were ages 1- 11, I was serving as a public school trustee, and I didn’t know how I was going to cram writing into my very busy life.
I’m grateful for the advice one of my fellow writers gave me…use Twitter as your mini-blog and write at least one tweet a day. I took the challenge seriously and watched my Twitter profile grow by leaps and bounds. I also learned how to communicate clearly and concisely. Tweeting daily taught me to be consistent. When other authors saw what I was doing on Twitter, they asked me to help them learn how to use Twitter effectively without wasting valuable writing time.
The number one piece of writing advice I’ve ever received is that we find our voice by using it. Waiting until everything is perfect is a brick wall that a thousand books run into. Embracing glorious imperfection is the ladder that will take you over!
Every author is unique, and, therefore, every author fits into a different author archetype. Some authors love the discipline of writing every day at a fixed time from a fixed place until they finish their manuscript. I’d like to call these types of authors “steady writers”. There are also authors who prefer writing for longer stretches during the weekend, as their busy lives do not allow them time over the weekdays. I call these authors “binge writers”. Then there are people who would be able to write only under the guidance of a writing coach so that they have better clarity, structure, and accountability. These are “student writers”. And lastly, there are authors who find it much easier to speak about their message rather than write it. They may love getting interviewed or speaking on stages or even sending voice notes to themselves and may seek the support of a professional writer to convert their voice into a book. These are “vocal writers”.
It is every author’s responsibility to identify their author archetype so that they stop comparing themselves with other writers. How you write the book is not as important as why you write the book. Let your purpose be your guiding angel to finish your book. Once you have clarity on your purpose, the tools, people, and resources will show up to support your book project. Also, there is nothing called a perfect manuscript. So, focus on getting the first draft out before polishing it further.
You can edit bad writing. But you can’t edit a blank page. Just start. And keep on going…
Write for yourself, first. Write in the style you want and in the voice that feels the most natural to you, and write about the topics that light a fire in you. Writing for yourself removes the pressure, drastically reduces your chance of experiencing writer’s block or creative blocks, is way more fun, and often makes your writing a whole lot better!
You can’t edit a blank page, so give yourself the permission and freedom to let your voice and style shine through. You can always edit it later on—but you need something to work with in the first place. Begin by writing only for yourself.
Don’t spend too long stuck on something (a sentence, paragraph, idea, etc.). Write something down and move on. You can then come back later and fine tune or fix the passage you were having trouble with.
I think the most important thing we can do to succeed as writers is to grow a very thick skin. Rejection and criticism are essential aspects of a writer’s growth, and we must learn not to take them personally. Count each rejection as a success—it means you have made an effort, allowed yourself to be vulnerable, stepped out in faith, and learned something important about your work. If you get enough rejections, patterns will start to emerge that help you spot gaps or shortcomings in your writing. This knowledge hurts, but your growth depends on it.
Likewise, find critique partners who are at the same point in their writing journey as you are in yours and let them read your work. The feedback may sting, but as the pain wears off, you see your work through new eyes and have the opportunity to make it even stronger. Without these two forms of early feedback, we might insulate ourselves from being disappointed, but we will not improve as writers.