Proverbs 25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”
Why is it that hunting for some secret treasure is so much fun? Because of the honor of the find! In order to be a great writer, it’s important to spend time hunting for your own ‘gold’.
Here are 2 Secrets:
1. Read great books in the genre you have chosen to write in and other genres. Don’t just read for fun, but take time to notice pacing, description, long and short sentences, details, dialog, etc. Go ahead and summarize each chapter. This can be tremendously instructive. Note what you like and don’t like. Read the blurb, the back cover, the author details. Notice how many words are in the title. Go ahead, read for fun, but get more out of that book than just fun. Those books are great for a reason. As you take the time to analyze why, you can use this in your own writing.
2. Read books about writing. I get a lot out of books on the craft of writing. In my quest to become a better writer, I want to take the time to learn from others. Of course, different writers recommend different things. One says plan everything, another plan nothing, just sit down and write. However, part of the fun of reading books on writing is finding those ‘gold nuggets.’
I discovered a way to get books on writing for free. Unfortunately, they aren’t all great, you have to fish a bit. Anyway, here’s what I found. If you have an Amazon kindle device or the free download kindle app for your computer or i-phone, you can get free books on writing and publishing. Simply go to Amazon.com and click on the part on the upper left corner where it says ‘shop by department’. Click ‘kindle’, then scroll down to ‘kindle books’ and click that. I’m fixing to give you a direct link, but that is how to get you started from scratch. Here’s a direct link. Once there, scroll down again to ‘education and reference’. It’s on the left. Click that. Once you’re on that page, look to your right and you will see a Bestsellers list, top 100 paid and top 100 free. Click that. Now, simply scroll down, looking to your left, you will see a subcategory for ‘writing’. Click that. On the left are the top 100 paid Writing How To books and on the right are the top 100 free Writing How To Books. You can check it as often as you like. There is usually something different every day–and it’s free!
3. Bonus: This is probably both the simplest and the most difficult secret of all. Simply, Write! However, don’t just write the same way you’ve always written. Take the time to analyze your own work. What is working? What isn’t? Why? What kind of reviews have you gotten? Don’t be afraid of 3, 2, or even 1 star reviews. If there is something you can learn from them, great. If not, don’t worry about it. Reviews do make a difference, but most people are smart enough to recognize what they like regardless of poor reviews. One of the most important things you can ask yourself is: What can you do to make your next book better than your last? and What do you need to be more aware of as you write?