Writing endings has never been my strong suit. When a friend finished reading my first novel, the first thing she said was, “I hate the ending.” To me, the ending was perfect. It wrapped up the protagonist’s story while setting up the next book. So I asked her why she felt that way. She said, “It’s not satisfying.”
I’d run into the biggest obstacle to writing endings and conclusions. That obstacle is a two-word question: “So what?” That’s what someone says when they feel like everything they just read didn’t have an impact on them.
This problem doesn’t only happen with novels. Whether you’re writing a blog post, a college paper, or any kind of content, you must do battle with “so what?” If you want your reader to feel like your piece was worth the time they spent reading it, you need to learn how to write a satisfying conclusion.
Here’s how it’s done, in three simple steps.Continue reading
Novelists put more work into their opening line than maybe any other in the book. That one line can single-handedly win a reader over or push them to the next book on the shelf.
But novelists aren’t the only ones who need to put in that work. Whether you’re writing a book, a blog post, or a scholarly article, you have just seconds to grab a reader’s attention. Because the internet is full of great content, whatever you’re writing is competing against thousands of other ways for your reader to spend their time. You need to draw them in, and that’s why you need to learn how to write a killer introduction.
The perfect introduction has three parts: the opener, the bridge, and the thesis. Let’s go over each one, along with some examples. That way, you’ll hook your readers no matter what you’re writing about.Continue reading
When you first take the plunge and decide to write as a career—or at least a side hustle—you start by asking yourself several questions. What is a semicolon, anyway? How much money can I expect to make? How much should I be writing?
I started taking writing seriously as my career three years ago. That meant writing every day. See, when I was starting out, one of my mentors lent me a copy of On Writing by Stephen King, a prolific writer and renowned proponent of writing every day. I took this book as my bible and ran with it. For a long time, that meant my method was to write 2,000 words a day, every day, including weekends and holidays. One year, I even wrote on Christmas—Mom wasn’t a fan.
I was able to keep up that routine long enough to finish a novel, but after that, I faltered. My daily word count went up and down, and sometimes I spent months without writing anything.
Is this starting to sound familiar? Have you gone from prolific one day to completely exhausted and beaten down the next? Maybe you’re still finishing a piece that you started, but it doesn’t feel quite good enough.Continue reading
In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell states that being a world-class expert requires 10,000 hours of practice. David Eddings, who wrote more than 20 fantasy novels, believes that a writer’s first million words are just practice.
There’s a reason so many authors write every day; they need the practice.
When I first set out to become a best-selling novelist (still chipping away at it), I chose to emulate Stephen King and write 2,000 words a day. That work ethic led to three attempts at a novel and hundreds of thousands of words written. I’m not sure if I’ve reached the 1 million word mark yet, but I’m getting close.
I used to think that getting a day job as a writer would eat away at my creativity and motivation. After all, how could I write my own projects when I’d just spent eight hours working on someone else’s? So I labored in unskilled day jobs, from working inventory in a retail store to testing video games.
Then recently, a friend mentioned that his company was looking for a marketing copywriter. The decision didn’t take long; I’d just left my previous job after a bad management experience. And the pay was good.
Now that I’ve been working at this job for almost six months, I realized something. My writing’s actually gotten better. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s not. Here’s why.Continue reading