13 creative writing tips

Writing tip #1

Don’t wait around for too much inspiration or imaginative leaps, just get into a rhythm. 

Writing tip #2

Make notes or an outline for your next session of writing or have a sentence already half written to flow on with and maximise your time at your desk.

creative writing tips

Writing tip #3

It’s important for you to articulate what your character is doing in your story. Their actions and dialogue have to be for a tangible reason that is more than just doing it because they feel like it. 

Writing tip #4

In between your writing times, make sure you:

  • relax
  • think about writing
  • are doing something else that is not related to writing

Writing tip #5

When it comes to writing and creating, there’s an opportunity to trust the unconscious. Recognise its gifts, which can often take place in between writing times. Allow these moments of clarity and these treasures to bubble up. 

When it comes to writing and creating, there’s an opportunity to trust the unconscious

Writing tip #6

Never be satisfied with a cliché. If you think it’s a cliché, then it probably is. I forget exactly who it was but an Australian author once told me in a workshop that ‘a cliché is a lazy sentence, which is a slippery slope to mediocrity.’ And you’re better off not dropping your standards from the start because every sentence is important and they all matter.

writing tips

Writing tip #7

Be prepared to write the ordinary things. For example, don’t forget to make your characters walk through that door, walk down to the street and catch a taxi to get to where the next prominent scene takes place. The reader wants to know how they got to the party and makes reading a smooth process.

Writing tip #8

Silences sometimes need to be written and then deleted, often leaving an implied residue that will make a difference to your writing. You can also try this with dialogue.

Writing tip #9

Keep your writing and idea to yourself so that you don’t lose momentum and lose interest in writing it out. Try to resist rereading what you’ve written until you’ve finished the whole first draft. The writer is the first reader. If you tell too many people your story, you’ll no longer need to write it.

Writing tip #10

Recognise that the first draft is just that. You can add layers of significance and emotive lines over time.

Writing tip #11

Research but don’t over research. Often researching can be an excuse not to write and a crutch to avoid using the imagination. This can be known as analysis paralysis.

Writing tip #12

When it comes to process: whatever gets the book out is the best process for you. Hemingway rose at 7am and started writing straight away. Murakami started at 4am. Or Henry Miller declared that you need to ‘work according to program, not mood.’ But really, whatever works for you (as in actually gets words on the page until something is finished) is the best process for you. 

Writing tip #13

Think about your message. Why are you writing this story? What are you saying? What are you saying about humanity? Once you are clear on your project’s message, it will be inherently easier to stick to the point of your story and cut out at least some of the overwhelm. 

What’s your favourite creative writing tip?