You might remember from my When It’s OK to Use Cliches in Your Writing: Hidden Metaphors – Poison’s Bret Michaels Style post that I am all for clichés that work. That post will be followed up with more working clichés (especially in fiction). But this article is dedicated to classic writing tips.
There are more than 6 of course, but today I’m tackling these 6 popular ones.
- Write about what you know
Not everything you know might be fun or lucrative to write about, but I bet some of your vast knowledge is fun, lucrative or both.
Writing about movies, TV shows and music is incredibly entertaining for me. In addition to running an entertaining blog, I got my first assignments on these subjects too.
Then there is the fact that your internal entertainment trivia database can help in finding many fun references and making your points come across in a more remarkable way. Copyblogger does it. Carol Tice does it. It works, and it comes and flows naturally.
It also fits my category Fictional Writers where I cover writers from movies and TV shows. You might want to start with my latest in that category: The Following: When Both The Protagonist and Antagonist Are Writers.
Other areas where I wrote what I knew and sold articles include traveling, business, freelancing, writing and social media.
- You don’t have to be an expert to write about a topic.
You just have to know better than the audience you are targeting. Just like you don’t have to play the guitar like Slash to be able to teach a beginner, you don’t need to be light years ahead from the readers of the market you are targeting.
If this weren’t so, our publishing possibilities and writing income would shrink considerably.
That being said, I wouldn’t mind being an expert writer who could write a bestselling book on my expertise area. There is a reason so many books written by professionals turn out to be great reads. Nope, not all of them are ghost written.
- Write what you don’t know.
Time comes when the alternative gets so popular that it feels weird to call it alternative. Raise your hand if you think Radiohead no longer belongs to the alternative rock bands category.
Just like its counterpart, this is a practical and lucrative tip. Especially if these new areas you’re discovering have anything to do with finance and technology.
You know how to research. You can educate yourself about new areas and end up finding a lot of “what you know” and hopefully “what you love” in the process. My new obsession ares are microexpressions in psychology and neuropsychiatry.
- Write about what you love
I quit my full-time job because a)it wasn’t related to writing b)I hated it.
Now, while I am absolutely addicted to writing, I have no interest in writing about things that I don’t care about, or at least find interesting.
This blog is based on this idea. Writing only about what you love (granted it also depends on which areas you love) might take a longer time when bringing home the big bucks. So you have been warned.
But I found the perfect balance by supporting my writing income with part time teaching. Teaching helps me with being more social (as opposed to the solitariness of writing) and prevents me from taking jobs that don’t excite me. Win-win. Oh, and it also worked as an article idea.
- Make yourself familiar with the publication
In other words, research the publication like mad. While it won’t guarantee being published, it is one of your strongest weapons to increase the odds in your favor. Team it up with a great idea, an exciting query and you are good to go.
- Everyone gets rejected.
You’ll get rejected. It sucks, but after a little practice (and some published articles/stories), you’ll learn to shake it off (in a shorter time).
Sure, there might be a writer out there who never gets rejected. But then it is possibly a writer who is not really working. At least not for others.
Even if you’ve eliminated the query process and ensured that clients come and find you, there is a chance not all your ideas won’t knock your clients’ socks off. Statistically speaking.
So yes. I know you heard it before. It’s not personal, and it can be due to a variety of reasons. It is however almost never about your writing skills. It might be about the idea, or how you structured that particular article.
If there is constructive feedback, take it, thank for it, revise and re-slant for another. Yes, there are other reasons but usually the fix is the same: get to the source of the problem (if it is writing skills, that can be improved too), take care of it and don’t let the idea go to waste.
Most ideas can be salvaged through brainstorming, improving and recycling.
So what cliché writing tips work for you? Do you have any favorites?