Tag Archives: become a better writer

3 Writing Podcasts You Need Right Now

 

2743534799_86bcea8475_oRecently, I’ve started listening to podcasts. Like many other adults, I experience the joy of rush hour traffic. For years, I’d listen to music or radio shows, but the drives felt incredibly long. So, I began listening to podcasts during my commute.

The drives feel a lot shorter.

The first podcast I listened to was TED Radio Hour. This is a podcast everyone should listen to. It’s not writing orientated, but covers an array of research-backed topics that will get you thinking. This podcast will inspire you.

In terms of writing oriented podcasts, I’ve found three that stand out among the rest:

Writing Excuses

This podcast’s episodes are short, fast-paced, and to the point. Hosted by authors, the goal of Writing Excuses is to encourage writers to bring their writing to a whole new level.

The best part of this podcast is that the hosts are relatable. They not only talk about what writers should do, but delve into their personal struggles with writing and how they overcame them.

The Journeyman Writer

In this podcast, the hosts are well organized and to the point. Each lesson deposits a valuable lesson to writers about the ins and outs of story construction. The hosts do this in easy-to-manage portions, while showcasing their passion for writing and their desire to help other writers succeed.

Prepare to remember what’s essential to storytelling and to know how to wriggle your way out of any story dead-end.

I Should Be Writing

This award-winning podcast is all about helping writers become better, and transition into the professional world of writing. The host started out as an unpublished writer and become a pro. One of the best aspects of this show is how the host focuses on the emotional roller coasters and roadblocks every writer faces, while trying to make it to the big leagues.

Take a listen to the host’s own fears and failures with writing in the episode Crippling Fear. You may find yourself nodding along.

(Photo courtesy of Patrick Breitenbach.)

 

Advertisements

Don’t be a Bad Writer! Learn What Good Writers Know

14753911496_29be0d1081_mMany people talk about bad writing versus good writing. Often the label of “good” or “bad” extends past the writing to the writer. There are many possible reasons as to why one writer may be considered “bad,” while another is thought of as “good.” But what is the main difference between good and bad writers?

Resilience.

Good writers are persistent. They refuse to give up. Bad writers stop when they hit a roadblock.

Most often a writer’s first novel isn’t all that great. Writing takes work, and the more you write, and the more you learn to write, the better you become at it. Writing a novel, short story, etc. is a big feat. However, writing a piece of work is only the first part. Revising and editing a piece comes after. Many times revision takes longer than writing the piece.

A writer friend of mine can write a novel in one month. Her first draft is a hot mess (she’s a pantser), which is part of the reason why it takes her months to revise. Typically, she’ll revise her novel twice before she gives it out to two to three beta readers. Then, she waits for their feedback, and when she gets that feedback, she listens to it.

Another friend of mine recently admitted that for the vast majority of feedback he receives, he simply nods his head and smiles, and then ignores whatever was said, rejecting it without any consideration. It’s not all that surprising that he is nowhere near as successful in the writing world as my previously mentioned friend.

Criticism makes your writing better. Having people other than yourself look at your work, allows you to see past your blind spots. You don’t have to be a perfectionist to be a good writer, but you do have to persevere, rewrite, and write consistently.

Bad writers don’t realize this, or choose not to.

You may have come across writers who get defensive when they receive feedback on their work. Maybe you’re one of those writers. It doesn’t help to be closed off to criticism. Yes, it can be frightening to think that your work it brilliant and then receive feedback and realize that your writing needs a lot of work. But in the end, your work will be more realistic and believable. It will have better pacing and will suck readers in. Make your work the best it can be, so that readers will stay up all night just to finish your work.

Do all you can to improve your writing. Be open to feedback and changing your work, even if that means cutting out a few chapters, eliminating a beloved character, or starting over. The goal is to make your work shine. Do whatever is necessary to make that happen.

What do you think?

(Photo courtesy of Internet Archive Book Images)

Why Reading Outside of Your Comfort Zone Will Make You a Better Writer

tbr-pilesReading diversely expands writers’ knowledge of literature, various writing styles, tone, etc. Without reading, we wouldn’t know how to write well. What captures readers’ attention? What creates tension or multi-dimensional characters? What makes a story a bestseller? Without reading all sorts of books, we wouldn’t be able to answer these questions.

Goodnight Moon is the first book I remember reading. When I was a child, I was obsessed with Nancy Drew, the Baby-Sitters Club series, and the Magic Tree House series. As I got older, I read Harry Potter, Anne Rice, Laini Taylor, and more. I found myself gravitating toward the same types of books, namely fantasy and science fiction. I loved escaping into different realities, but eventually I started wondering if reading the same types of books was enough.Goodnightmoon

One thing important to writing is finding your own voice. I’ve heard people say that there are no more original ideas in the world. I can see where those people are coming from. Looking at the fantasy and science fiction novels I’ve read, many of them have similar premises, but they are not the same. What makes them unique is how the story is portrayed. How can you find your distinct voice if you’re only reading the same types of books? Without stepping out of your bubble, your knowledge base is limited.

So, I started expanding. I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, The Mercury 13 by Martha Ackmann, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, books by the Bronte sisters, C.S. Lewis, Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, James Joyce, and more. I even read some poetry, and found that though I’m not a fan of poetry, it greatly helped me understand the art of condensed writing. Poets don’t have the luxury of a novel length word count. Every line – every word – they write is deliberate and important. That’s why it can be challenging to interpret poetry because there is so much information crammed into such a small space. Born2run

Reading widely has given me a fuller picture of writing. It’s helped me to develop my voice in writing, both by showing me aspects of writing I enjoyed and ones I didn’t. As I started reading more diversely, I found myself able to better analyze novels, short stories, and poems. Reading widely made me a more attentive reader. For writers that is extremely important.

What types of books have you read that you normally wouldn’t have?

 

(Photos courtesy of So Many Books and Wikipedia.)