1. Write often
Above everything else, the most important tip is to write about what you are passion about. Writing about what moves, inspires and motivates you in either your personal or professional life clearly shows in your work.
2. First impressions
One key writing technique to remember is to start off the story with an intriguing, interesting opening to grab the reader’s attention. This tip is applicable to short stories, novels and even poetry.
3. Don’t over describe
Use descriptive tools and adjectives with caution. While you do want to create a unique, interesting picture for your reader/audience base, you still need to allow a certain level of imagination creation on their end. A good novel or poem creates a relationship where a few descriptive details catalyst a moving picture in the reader’s mind.
4. Use dialogue sparingly
Depending on personal taste, dialogue should be moderately used in the body of work you have been working on. Even though dialogue is strongly encouraged by a plethora of writers, keep in mind that a balance between dialogue and prose is a matter of personal style.
The key to effectively using dialogue is to keep the conversation crisp, engaging, and most of all meaningful to the chapter, scene or overall plot line.
5. Listening to your subconscious
Even if you happen to be writing well for days, there is still a very strong chance that writer’s block will indeed occur a week or a month down the line. Listening to your subconscious is also a great way to filter through any lingering thoughts you have in the back of your mind. Take a few minutes to speak with a fellow friend or even a friend to help you bounce some ideas or potential character developments off of during this process.
6. Character development
To make characters convincing, you have to get right inside their heads and experience the world as they do. Arguably one of the more difficult tasks when writing, pushing yourself to your limits and becoming the character on paper is by far quite time-consuming. Knowing your character in order to better understand how he/she would act in the most extreme or mundane situations is essential as the plot in your novel thickens.
Utilizing the above tips will create a multi-faceted skill set which can help you create the body of work that you have been aspiring to achieve for years. Believing in your capabilities, along with constantly learning to improve your skill set is vital.
1. Read lots of poetry on a day to day basis. More importantly, reading a wide array of sources from scholarly articles to travel blog posts will improve the overall quality of your writing.
2. Designate a special notebook (or space in your notebook) for poetry writing.
3. Try writing in form (sonnets or haiku) to guide you to craft poems as you move forward.
4. Utilize metaphors, but stay away from clichés that could make your work seem a little too unoriginal.
5. Sign up for a poetry writing workshop. This will expose you to other best practices to get those creative juices flowing along with learning how to write in different poetic forms across the board. Join a poetry forum or poetry writing group online.
6. Read poems over and aloud to better absorb aspects such as writing style, sound and how the poet is able to craft verses in an interesting, engaging manner. Analyzing poems in their verbal form is also a great way to help with the overall writing process.
7. Study biographies of famous (or not-so-famous) poets to gain a better understanding of not only their work, but an overall evolution of their career in the field.
8. Find unusual subject matter to spark different levels of creativity when going about the writing process.
9. Use language that people can comprehend and relate to in some shape or form. Generating poems that tend to be verbose or lack simple coherence has the potential of limiting the audience you’d like to reach.
10. Meditate, listen to inspirational music before or while you write poetry to clear your mind. Although each person has a different way to spark the creative writing process, experimenting with various ways is never bad or unproductive.
11. When you submit work, expect rejection. As this is one of the most difficult skills to acquire, it is without a doubt a quality that takes countless times to adjust to.
12. Get a website or blog and publish your own poetry to gain exposure in the digital space. Joining poetry communities on social media platforms or reaching out to other poets is also a great way to interact, brainstorm and develop your ideas during the writing process.
13. Attend a poetry reading or slam poetry event.
14. Writing with honesty is a great source to express bundled up feelings, thoughts or built emotions that you have been hiding for awhile.
15. Don’t be afraid to experiment with music, art and other more complex vocabulary words to help in this process. Perform it and publish it.
16. After writing, be sure to go back and edit your work until you are completely content with the piece. Editing is just as difficult as conjuring up material, so be sure to make a habit of growing accustomed to improving efficiency in this project as best you can.
17. Read or write a poem every day. This will allow you to keep those creative juices flowing on a regular basis.
Born and raised in his native Philadelphia, Major Jackson uses the steady, soulful beats of All-American, wholesome jazz music to allow for infinite poetic inspiration in his verses. When he reads his work, he uses a tone of distant insight and close, almost intimate warmth to entice, captivate and entrance the reader into his spell that can last for minutes at a time.
Jackson also uses his musical tastes from when he was a teen, to his later, more adult years in a perfect combination of street like hip hop flow and the heartfelt sadness of jazz to explore the human experience. When discussing what specific public spaces, artists or memories from his home city inspire his work, he recalls the years of his life wandering throughout the streets of his Philadelphia.
In those streets, he was able to explore the most internal, poetic aspect of himself, which allowed him to call on the love of his city.
As a professor of the university of Vermont, Major Jackson assures everyone that Philadelphia will always be the creative foundation which initiated his poetic artistry, even in this point in his career. Her firmly believes that poetry, should denote and possess a musical, almost rhythmic quality in which the language, musical inspiration and performance become interconnected as a collective movement for every party involved.
Living by the wise words, once stated by Sharon Olds, a Pulitzer prize winner, Major Jackson makes it his primary mission in his creative field to always “write the poem you would never show anyone.” Drawing on a wide range of deep, often times conflicting personal experience, this poet firmly believes that the power of an insightful poem can therefore create a type of “rife raft” for individuals across cultures, backgrounds or experiences to find solace in a common struggle.
As for inspiring, new wide eyed poets on the scene, Major Jackson has a few words to guide these writers through their journey. Jackson advises these poets to a encompass a vast array of styles, beliefs and convictions, vastly different from what you may believe. This, in turn, will not only expand your worldview, but also allow for a healthy, internal debate within your own mind, producing some of your most profound work.
Interestingly enough, Major Jackson also makes a point to to look within yourself in order to not only imitate your influence, but instead write in a way that allows for a collective, almost symbiotic relationship. “Write organically, through your influences,” he states. “Then there will be the writing organically from the evolved craft of poetry’s essence.”
A firm believer in the power, use and widespread use of language, it is no surprise that Major Jackson has been incredibly successful, holding positions such as the current poetry editor of the Harvard review. His most recent work titled “Roll Deep & Poems,” which underlines issues such as human intimacy in platonic and romantic relationships, along with the multitude of implications and convictions within the sphere of online dating.
An interesting vocal form that guides Jackson throughout the creative process is to read his poetic words aloud as he writes them on paper. The poet states that by reading the language out loud, this actually allows him to find new, more innovative ways to create music through new tones in his words, experimenting with syllabic intonation and writing these somewhat pre-form poems.
The historical benefits of writing are as clear as they are numerous. Writing has allowed for the exchange of ideas on a global scale, for a single set of laws to be distributed and standardized throughout vast empires, and for contracts to be established as the foundation of a business agreement. It has preserved the sights and sounds of the past as well as a keyhole through which we can perceive the ideas and emotions of some of the world’s most notable leaders.
But what about writing on a smaller scale? What benefits are there for the casual writer, whether the writing is conformed to specific literary styles or just a journal to put ideas on a page?
An article from sparringmind.com did a great job of laying out various benefits offered by writing. Here are some of the best points.
By forcing yourself to use words and phrases that most accurately convey your thoughts or emotions, you become a better communicator. Let’s face it: when we have complex thoughts or emotions, it’s much easier to just clam up and not say anything at all rather than struggle towards getting your point across. Through practicing your writing, you will develop communication skills that will prevent you from feeling frustrated or, even worse, your listener potentially missing your point.
For many who have had a problem or found themselves in traumatic or confusing circumstances, it’s likely that they’ve felt better by talking to someone about it.
Writing is no different.
One of the most effective ways to resolve a conflict, to reconcile with an unpleasant event, or just to digest a complicated situation is to sit down and write it out. Though you might feel definitively one way about a situation, it might not be readily apparent what part of that situation is the one that’s really eating at you. By writing yourself through it, you become familiar with all the different aspects and can identify what really bothers you. Depending on the gravity of the situation, this confrontation can sometimes be extremely difficult, but it’s always better to confront your problems rather than let them limit you.
Many people have suggested that writing is a good way to settle your mind. In a world bombarded by different forms of multimedia, it can sometimes be a challenge to focus on a singular idea or a task at hand. By writing regularly and shepherding incomplete thoughts to their logical conclusions, your mind will no longer be pulled in twenty directions.
Regardless of whether you enjoy writing or not, it’s a useful exercise that will help you to communicate more effectively, focus on achieving goals, and work through problems. Given that the internet is making verbal interaction more sparse, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start practicing!