10 writing tips – with a little help from 90s pop music

Write what you want to. You’re in control of the story, the characters, the language and everything else. As Aqua said, ‘Imagination, life is your creation’. Some advice here from 2Unlimited – ‘there’s no limit’. And of course, Oasis wisely said, ‘You gotta say what you say / Don’t let anybody get in your way’.

Read a lot. Of course you’re reading for pleasure but you’re also looking at how authors capture your attention, structure the book, create tension, etc. Boyzone said (covering the Bee Gees), ‘This world has lost its glory / Let’s start a brand new story’. Indeed, as The Prodigy pointed out, reading a good book will ‘take your brains to another dimension / Pay close attention’.

Writing should be escapism for the writer, as well as the reader. The very act of writing propels you into a different zone. Lenny Kravitz suggested, ‘Let’s go and see the stars / The Milky Way or even Mars’, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers said, ‘Take me to the place I love / Take me all the way’.

You’re a writer. Not an amateur writer or an aspiring writer. Considering yourself as a professional will improve your confidence. As Destiny’s Child said, ‘Say my name / Say my name’ and Robbie Williams declared, ‘Let me entertain you / Look me up in the yellow pages / I will be your rock of ages’.

Planning your work will help determine the direction you want to take. As 4 Non Blondes asked, ‘What’s going on?’ It’s especially useful to make plans if you want to put twists in your writing. Green Day said, ‘It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right’.

Get to know your characters. They might not be fully developed in your mind but they will become clearer as you write. Try to imagine yourself as each character, how they behave and react. The Verve said, ‘I’m a million different people from one day to the next’ while Backstreet Boys advised that characters should be ‘larger than life’.

Edit your writing to hone the style and make it the best it can be. This might mean rewriting parts you’re not totally happy with, but it will be worth it. As Grace said, ‘It’s not over, not over, not over, not over yet’. However, know when to stop and declare that it’s finished. In the words of No Doubt, ‘It’s all ending / We’ve gotta stop pretending’.

Proofread your finished work and then have it proofread again, by either a professional proofreader or someone you know who is excellent at spotting consistency errors and typos. The Shamen pointed out that ‘[apostroph]’E’s are good, [apostroph]’E’s are good’, while The Spice Girls advised, ‘[Full] stop right now, thank you very much’.

When you feel that your work is ready for an audience, ask for feedback from people whom you trust to give constructive criticism. You need to be open to this, as it will help you improve. As Britney Spears said, ‘Hit me baby one more time’, while in the words of Blur, ‘It wasn’t easy / But nothing is’.

Keep going and believe in your writing talent. S Club 7 told us, ‘Don’t stop, never give up / Hold your head high and reach the top’. The final words of wisdom are from the New Radicals: ‘You’ve got the music in you / Don’t let go’.

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