Writer's Boot Camp: 12 Tips to Becoming A Better Writer

You’ve made it. Phew. Final day of Writer’s Boot Camp Week. [Tweet this]

I knew you could do it. All three of you who survived.

This week we’ve covered:

In today’s final post, I wanted to offer some practical tips on becoming a better writer. You may have heard some of these ideas or themes earlier this week. But here they are as a quick reference guide.

Remember that if you want to become a better writer, you must write—typos and all. [Tweet this]

Here are 12 tips to becoming a better writer: [Tweet this]

1. Everything hangs on your verbs. [Tweet this]

2. Have the courage to write badly, badly, badly, and the tenacity to rework, rework, rework until your writing is radiant. [Tweet this]

3. Buy the The Comedian (2002) on Amazon.com right now. This is my top pick for writer’s resource. [Tweet this] Starring Jerry Seinfeld (2002), the film depicts Seinfeld developing an entire routine from scratch. You’ll watch him agonize over the wording and pace of delivery, you’ll see him test each bit in comedy clubs and bars in no-name towns in order to develop a new routine. The movie exposes the craft of writing a comedy routine—which isn’t too different from the craft of writing a book.

4. Grab your readers attention five seconds ago. [Tweet this]

5. Know your muse. Identify those songs, books, and activities that ignite your creativity. [Tweet this] Lock them up in a chest and only pull them out when you need writing juice.

6. Read your work aloud. [Tweet this]

7. If you wake up at 3 am with a brilliant idea, do not roll back over and fall back to sleep. Pop out of bed. Write like a madman. Even if you remember the idea the next morning, it will never be the same as if you’d recorded it in the moment.

8. Instead of writing for everyone, select one specific person. Know the person’s strengths, weaknesses, triumphs, tragedies, needs, and dreams. Picture that person whenever you write. This is the secret to unifying your tone throughout the project.

9. Develop a minimum word count. Commit to writing 300, 500, 1000 or more words each day. Write them every day. Beginning today.

10. When you’re in a season of writing, feed your soul with only those things that are good, true, and beautiful.

11. Don’t be tricked: You must know the rules before you can break them well. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White is a writer’s Bible.

Writer’s Boot Camp Week: 12 Tips to Becoming a Better Writer

12. Everyone who criticizes your work contains a nugget of truth. Live like a gold miner. [Tweet this]

Thanks for joining me for Writer’s Boot Camp Week. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll organize a real life Writer’s Boot Camp. Until then, remember that I won’t be answering any more questions about writing (unless you have a checkbook—see “Why I Hate Talking About Writing”).

Stop. Drop. And give me 3. In the space below.

Give me THREE of your tips for becoming a better writer [Tweet this] in the space below as a comment on this blog post.