If there’s one thing you should know about me, it is that I love to write. Fortunately, as a marketing professional, a significant part of my job revolves around churning blogs, web content, banner copies, social media captions, and emails daily.
I enjoy my work tremendously, and there’s nothing else I’d do instead which is why I focus so much on improving my craft. If you are as dedicated to being a good writer as I am, you are in for a treat. Here’s why.
In this article, I’ll share twenty effective creative writing tips and tricks that have done wonders for me, and will put you on the path of being a truly incredible writer:
Recommended reading: 9 Creative Writing Exercises To Overcome Blank Page Syndrome
1. Storytelling Is Crucial For Engaging Writing
Everybody loves a good story. So, if you have an anecdote about a topic, why not begin your article with that? Stories, by nature, have the power to stimulate one’s imagination, forcing them to participate or live the events that drive the story.
Draw real-life examples rather than merely listing facts. If your article talks about a pain-point, write about a client case, providing evidence that you (or your business) can solve that problem. Instill a human touch through your words to provoke an emotional reaction from your readers.
Besides, consider adding teasers such as “like this page to know more,” “stay tuned for more,” “get a sneak peek on our Instagram,” at the end of the article. Give them something to keep coming back to.
2. Build A Regular Writing Habit
Ask any successful writer how they made it big, and they will tell you that there is no secret sauce other than swearing by the routine of writing every day. Did you know that Stephen King writes six pages amounting to over 1000 words daily?
Consistent writing establishes the habit of creating content daily, thereby improving writing speed and technique. I, myself, have seen a drastic change in my work ever since I started my career.
Writing regularly for the past six years has made me better at research, faster in sentence formations, and efficient at editing. Discipline is vital – trust me.
3. Type Through Resistance
Writing is not formulaic; it’s an art. And where there is an art, there is a creative block. Naturally, writer’s block is the phenomenon that we writers dread the most. It’s important to remember that you are bound to hit a wall at some point.
But if there’s one thing I have learned in my career, it is that writer’s block is a silly excuse. Will my clients understand why I couldn’t deliver an article on time? Or why the quality of my work suffered? They won’t.
Therefore, instead of giving up, I write, hoping my brain will restart and get out of its unproductive zone. The challenge is to get over your perfectionist tendencies and finish the first draft anyway. Fight that writer’s block.
4. Get Feedback On Your Writing Regularly
It doesn’t matter how much you love to write. If you don’t get another pair of eyes to read your content, you will never learn of the areas of improvement.
I had a casual approach when I started writing for my website. For a long time, I would only write when I felt a surge of creative energy. On my best days, I would get in six to seven pages of decent web content.
I thought if it is my website, I can write anything I want, and people will still read it. I was sadly mistaken after I got my friend to have a read. Some of the pages I had written didn’t have the right tone or convey a positive message.
I had to make multiple revisions. But in the end, it was worth it. Since that episode, I have learned that feedback and constructive criticism can do wonders for a writer. Start small, but start. And embrace feedback.
5. Create Assets
Unlike your friends who have traditional jobs, you have no “career ladder” and no incremental markers to indicate your success as a writer. However, your innate ability to create something authentic is your most prominent quality.
That means you can create more work for yourself in the guise of “creative assets.”
Start a website and blog on it regularly. Publish your articles on high-authority websites. Join groups for writers on social media. Pitch story ideas to magazines. Be a curator of content you know will interest your target market and help you become a thought leader in the industry.
6. Build An Audience
As a writer, you already know what you want to write about. If not, you have some ideas. If you can engage a niche of people who like your style and content, you have an audience. These are your loyal subjects. Keeping them interested is your duty.
One of the most effective methods to achieve that is by starting an email list and regularly circulating your content. If designing one is a concern, don’t worry. Tools such as MailChimp and EmailOctopus enable users to design an email using their template bank.
Promote your newsletter on your website and social media. I like how acclaimed journalist Sonia Weiser promotes her newsletter of freelance writing opportunities on Twitter. You can do that too.
7. Have The Courage To Write Badly
There is a famous quote that says, “Write drunk, edit sober.”
What that means is when you write the first draft, let your words flow. Once you finish writing the first draft, edit, revise, and rewrite. Most people with excellent ideas spend too much time on the first draft, trying to make it perfect.
I do that and trust me – it kills creativity and time. Remember that excellent writing mainly comes from rewriting the same content over and over again. So, don’t overthink. Just write. Don’t fret over getting it right the first time.
8. Read The Kind Of Writing You Want To Do
You won’t become a fiction writer by reading nonfiction and vice versa. I am someone who likes reading nonfiction only. From memoirs and biographies to news and opinion pieces – I read any nonfiction content that I can lay my hands on.
Thankfully, as a B2B copywriter, that helps me perform a decent job. But if you are writing fiction, be sure to read lots of fiction. The type and quality of content you read dramatically influences the quality of your writing.
9. Establish Your Why
Like most things in life, knowing your ‘why’ is cardinal. If you’re someone who writes because you want to achieve instant fame or make money or get published, you’re signing up for disappointment.
Sorry to burst that bubble of misconception, but your intentions to write must be pure and positive. Next time you finish a piece, ask yourself if it will add value to your readers.
When I start writing an article, I always think about the best possible way to help my audience. Irrespective of the type of content I am writing – blogs, email, or business documents, I aim to offer an effective solution.
The exercise helps me express better and makes me more confident. The results are phenomenal.
10. Keep A Notebook
Much has been spoken about the power of journaling. I first started keeping journals when I was seventeen. A few years later, I switched to Notes on my laptop. A simple task, such as jotting down your thoughts whenever possible, can make you a better writer in the long term.
It is also where some of your best ideas could be born. Whether it’s pen to paper or an app on your smartphone, recording your thoughts, or the day’s proceedings or even just a quote for the day is better than not writing at all.
11. Eliminate Distractions While Writing
We live in “a technology-driven world of distraction.” The day starts and ends with the constant pings of notifications. I have had numerous experiences where I started writing a sentence and forgot the words mid-way because I got distracted after receiving a mobile notification or someone pinged me on Skype or Zoom. Seriously, it is annoying.
Therefore, of late, I have been using the Pomodoro Technique to minimize interruptions in my writing process. Here’s how it works: You write for 25 mins distraction-free and then take a 5-minute break. Alternatively, you can choose to write 500 words in one or elaborate three subheadings before taking a break.
Either way, you are timing yourself, consciously avoiding distractions, and assigning a sense of urgency to the task at hand.
12. Quantity Begets Quality (Generally)
The Pomodoro technique is extremely helpful in getting more work done promptly. As a writer, the simple and most fundamental truth is that the more you write, the better you become. Practice makes perfect.
I like to work with a deadline. I always work with a number in mind–500 words in 30 mins, five paragraphs in an hour. This technique helps me to write a solid first draft and then edit it multiple times to improve the quality of my writing.
13. Learn How To Edit Your Writing
Editing your writing seems like a good idea because no one wants to be told that their writing isn’t good enough. But I have learned that editing is as beautifully painful an art as writing – especially when you have to edit your content.
When editing your work, act as a brutal and unrelenting editor. Delete, remove, and omit all that is unnecessary. Check for sentences or words that sound repetitive or redundant. Another unspoken rule of editing that I always follow is never to edit the first draft immediately after writing it.
I always set aside the draft for a few hours or even days and then come back to edit it. This technique helps me to approach the content afresh without any inhibitions. It also enhances my ability to edit.
14. Write From Your Heart.
Write about what interests and moves you. It may be as commonplace as the sun rising each day to something as complex as building an artificial brain that thinks like humans.
Writing from your heart is akin to good writing. To put it simply, write like you’re talking to your best friend about the thing that makes you happiest when talked of.
15. Don’t Overwrite
Nobody has the time to read long, superfluous sentences. No one likes big, over-the-top paragraphs with words that occupy too much space. Overwriting kills the quality of content while unnecessarily adding to its quantity.
The trick is to use as few words as possible to deliver your message succinctly to the reader. If the sentence is too long, the reader may lose continuity or, worse, interest.
16. Use The Active Voice
Any kind of content can benefit a lot from an active voice. The SVO sentence sequence: Subject, Verb, Object, otherwise known as the active voice, is highly preferred by readers.
When you write in the active voice, the tendency to use fewer words makes the writing concise and efficient. It also creates a faster narrative, thereby creating a more reliable connection with the reader.
17. Skyscrape Old Articles
The “Skyscraper Technique,” invented by Brian Dean, is a great way to optimize your content and boost search rankings. The method involves researching trending topics and accessible content and turning that content into high-quality backlinks.
You can rework your published article by changing the tone, or adding some new insights and create a brand new piece from that. You can then distribute the article across channels for maximum engagement.
I love skyscraping my previously-published blogs and breathing new life into them. The exercise is particularly helpful when I don’t feel like writing.
18. Use Simple Language
Einstein once said, “ If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
Readability is a real measure of how easy it is to read a piece of writing. A mistake most aspiring writers make is using long, seemingly smart-sounding words that complicate the sentence and confuse the reader.
Skip flowery adjectives. Make sure your sentences are concise and devoid of compound words. Write short and efficient paragraphs. And most importantly, use simple language.
19. Find Inspiration In Keywords
Keywords are incredibly significant when it comes to SEO and page ranking. However, keywords also help the writer identify what kind of content the target audience wants to read. This gives the writer a direction and a purpose for writing.
I find several keyword research tools beneficial – Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool, and Google Trends. I am also a fan of Ubersuggest, which gives a list of keyword ideas based on Google’s suggestions in the search box.
Next time you sit down to write on a topic, search for relevant keywords. It will support your writing.
20. Set A Routine That Works For You
Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, having a set routine for writing is a must. In my observation and experience, I write the best when I first sit to work, which is 11 AM. My mind is fresh, and I usually don’t keep any calls around that time.
Plus, when I pick up an article first thing in the day, I am more relaxed. I even make time to finish admin tasks or to edit. Therefore, you need to figure out that time of the day, which suits you and discipline yourself to follow a strict writing schedule every day.
Over time, this habit will transform your writing.
Find what works for you
I am sure that not everyone will agree with these tips for writing. But guess what? That’s fine. The key is to find a strategy or cultivate a habit that makes you a better writer. My list won’t cater to all, but it will inspire a chosen few.
I am continually looking for ways to improve my writing. And with every passing year, the results are better. Do you have any content tips you’d like to share? I am all ears.