writing tips

Do You Ever Revisit Old Writing?

The other day I read an older piece of writing I had written a few years back.

Usually my response in these situations is to laugh and see how much I’ve improved since then. But I read it and felt somewhat satisfied with my writing. Continue reading “Do You Ever Revisit Old Writing?”

writing tips

The Power of Music and How It Can Help You Write

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
– Victor Hugo

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about music and how it affects my writing. I’m a huge music lover so you’ll often find me writing with headphones in, music going. But what place does music have in writing?

This is what I hope to explore. I’ve often thought that music was a great source of inspiration for writing. Music evokes strong emotions and takes you far away. It helps that most music has a narrative structure; when you think about it  music is another way of telling a story. It can push you and motivate you as you write. I often listen to music to keep me writing. Music sets a mood, setting and feeling.

I’ve been finding myself listening to a lot of Marina and the Diamonds, Emeli Sande and Feist. Marina’s voice is haunting and her lyrics often portray the dark side of people, Emeli’s music is inspirational and uplifting, and Feist’s music often reveals a quiet, pensive look on life and its outcomes. You can see how all of these artists’ music has a certain theme and feel. If I want to maintain a certain mood while writing I’ll put on the appropriate music. When I’m feeling a bit darker and moodier, I’ll put on Marina. When I’m feeling chill and relaxed, some Feist. And when I want to feel encouraged, Emeli.

Even writing about music can get your creative juices flowing. I always like to read the summaries of albums on iTunes because the people who wrote those clearly put a lot of thought and effort into explaining the feel and style of those artists and their music. And the description those writers use can get you thinking about your stories, poems, lyrics or whatever other creative project you’ve got going. You can apply the music to your character, to the setting or to your own story (whether it be personal or fictional).

You might want to consider incorporating music into your writing process to assist you when you’re brainstorming or stuck in a rut. It doesn’t work for everyone but it might work for you.

Do you use music as a source of inspiration? If so, what kind of music do you listen to?

writing tips

5 Ways to Become a Better Writer

  1. Read. By reading other people’s work you expose yourself to different styles and ways of writing. You also learn what works and what doesn’t work for you as an audience member. I always ask myself a few questions when reading other people’s work: What techniques grab my attention? How does the author describe a scene?
  2. Write. The second step to becoming a better writer is to write more. The more you write, the more you hone your craft. I feel that when I write more, I start to get a feel for what sounds right on the page and what I can improve on.
  3. Ask for constructive criticism. Ask someone you trust to read your work and offer you constructive criticism, not destructive criticism. If you can get a second opinion, it will help you see your strengths and weaknesses in writing.
  4. Daydream. Allow yourself to daydream and just think things over. You could think about anything, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you’re opening yourself up to new ideas and revelations.
  5. Carry a notebook and pen with you. I find carrying a notebook and pen convenient, especially if I’m on a train or bus ride. If I have any sudden inspiration I jot notes down. Also, if I have to organize my thoughts I just write them down, which helps me get a clearer picture of my story and how it is progressing.

I also recommend checking out the book How to Write by Richard Rhodes. I think it offers some great advice on writing and how to get started.