15 Tips For Creative Writers

A written word is often seen as liberating - it sharpens the mind, and feeds the soul. The opportunities are everywhere, waking up with every morning, and going to sleep with hopes of finding more ideas in sweet dreams. However, in the world of creative writing there is good and bad, the good being inspiration and imagination creating aspiring writers. As opposed to this, there is the worst enemy of every writer - writer's block. Here are some tips to help you write more efficiently.

1. Create a Pleasant Atmosphere

Before you start writing, invest some time and effort into selecting your little corner where you'll be comfortable. This will prevent distractions, and allow you to fully concentrate on your writing.

2. Don't Put Pressure on Yourself

No matter how much you wish to write a creative piece, don't put pressure on yourself. Pressure is like a really big amount of empty air, aimed at replacing your ideas, talent, and imagination with just that - empty air. If you feel there is too much pressure above your head, take a break for as long as you need it.

3. Allow It Time

This is actually quite similar to getting rid of pressure, as fitting your writing into a very tight schedule can out a pressure on you. So, make some time for your writing, regardless of whether this is half an hour or a whole afternoon - the important thing is that you know this is your writing time.

4. Write in the Morning

The best time to write is in the morning, and this doesn't apply to creative writers only, and writing creative content. Freelance writers writing on any topic and in any direction should also get up early and start spilling their ideas on the paper with the arrival of the morning.

5. No Room for Perfection

Don't expect your every word to be perfect, as you will waste a lot of time on trying to achieve this, and the chances are you won't even achieve it. Nothing is perfect, so don't expect a flawless masterpiece, but allow it to have small imperfections - it is what makes it very close to perfect.

6. Improve Your Spelling and Grammar

Writers should invest time into their language, and this doesn't include only wordiness and having a rather rich vocabulary. It is also a very good idea to learn grammar rules, or at least read through them from time to time.

7. Write Things Down

You never know when the idea might strike, so keep a notebook and a pencil close by, so that you can write fresh ideas as soon as they come to your mind. You surely wouldn't want to forget them!

8. Use a Checklist

Before the process of creation begins, make a short list of the things you want to write about. Use this checklist to help you organize your ideas and thoughts.

9. Write about the Things You Like

Writing about the things that you find interesting, fascinating, and so forth, will give you the opportunity to put your passion and fascination you have for these things into your writing. You need to create a whole new world for your reader, and he needs to believe in your every single word.

10. Enjoy writing

Remember to always enjoy writing, and don't allow it to turn into a job. Writing is fun!

11. Write on a Computer while Being Disconnected from the Internet

When you start writing it might be a good idea to disconnect from the Internet, as this useful tool might easily distract you from your writing. A funny photo shared by your friend through Facebook, and you can easily lose track of time on this social network, forgetting about your writing. Organize your time wisely.

12. Don't Write About the Things You Are Not Familiar With

Without getting into complicated explanations, you shouldn't write about the things you know little or nothing about. Go back to number 9, where you'll find the answer why this is not a good idea.

13. Syncretism - Words from Pictures

In case you need inspiration, try this little writing exercise: take any photo, and try to write a short, or a long text based on what you see. The combination has proven to be ideal for creative writing. A picture is worth thousand words - why not write these words down?

14. Time Limit - Fifteen-Minute Exercise

Another writing exercise is based on the idea that you should use your time in a productive manner. Instead of spending hours staring at your laptop screen, try this fifteen-minute exercise. Tell yourself you have only fifteen minutes to write a story. Regardless of whether this is a reversed psychology or something else, it works like a charm. You'll be surprised with how many ideas you can come up with in such a short time frame.

15. Proofreading Your Work - The Perfect Timing

After you finish your work, don't proofread it instantly. Rather than this, wait for a day or even more before you start proofreading your work. This way you will be a lot more efficient in finding errors, if there should be any.

Two Is Better Than One

"Hey", he sneered my way. "Hey!" a little louder, a little breathier.

I blushed. I always blushed; perpetually, painfully shy, continuously craving invisibility. I stared straight ahead, eyes on the board, palms and pits producing an instant hot sweat.

"You know...you gotta have the ugliest nose I've ever seen." he hissed.

I leaned forward, hands flat on my desk; perspiration mixing with the Comet residue the janitor had left behind, forming a balmy paste over my flattened grip.

It was Valentine's Day and the Carnations would be delivered soon. You could feel the buzz in the room. I tried to focus on that. Once my flower came, I'd be vindicated. He'd feel so stupid for taunting me. He'd realize I might be popular and that someone out there might think I was pretty.

The Carnations were a big deal at our school; a yearly tradition. They cost three dollars of hard-earned pocket-money so selecting the recipient was taken very seriously. Boys sent them to girls, girls sent them to boys, girls even sent them to each other. Most were fired off anonymously; the only ones signed stemming from legitimate daters and official best friends. No one else dared to be so outwardly presumptuous.

"I bet you think you're gonna get a flower, don't you?" he jeered.

I tried to lift my hand discreetly, bringing it up to camouflage my apparently hideous nose and my now stinging eyes. I would not cry in front of him, but the smell of the Comet coming from my grit-covered hand was burning my nostrils and losing me my battle.

"You think you can hide that big banana?" he laughed. "Good luck with that. Good luck with that and that grease-slicked skin of yours."

I liked to think it was the fumes, but my eyes were brimming regardless of cause and I knew he would be sure he'd gotten under my skin, fumes or not.

"Are you crying?" he mocked. "God, you're such a baby." Out of the corner of my eye I could see his knee bouncing up and down. His leg jostled a mile a minute causing the frayed hem of his jeans to swing back and forth.

Although tears were the last thing I wanted him to see, they did make him back off. No one wanted to be responsible for making someone cry in class. It meant a trip to the office and a call home, neither a favorable outcome.

I tilted my head and stared through the window. Outside was bleak. It had been a particularly cold February and the wind was whipping through the trees. I swallowed the lump in my throat and longed to be out there. Being outside in blustering gales coatless would be better than having to sit here, enduring him.

I tried to pay attention to the lesson being taught. I tried not to think of my rumbling belly, my chemically transformed skin, my imminent flower or the jerk next door. I had almost accomplished all of it when there was a knock on the door causing an eruption of excitement amongst the other students.

I simply froze. What if it hadn't worked? Or worse, what if I had somehow messed it up and it wasn't anonymous after all? The sweat magnified and became a fast-trickling stream flowing straight down my spine.

"You're getting greasier by the second, loser." he said in a snide tone.

My eyes were glued on the flower bearers. They were shouting out name after name and at long last, mine was called.

As hard as it was to have all eyes on me, I lifted my cement-stiff body out of the desk and forced my heavy legs to move towards the front of the room.

As I got closer, confusion set in. Two flowers were being held out.

"Do you want me to pass one to someone?" I whispered, my face flaming with prickly heat.

"Nope, both for you. Lucky," the girl said enviously. "I didn't get any." It shouldn't have, but it made me tingly inside.

The tingling shrouded the walk back to my desk and shielded me from the stares and snickers. I sat down in a trance-like state, eyes glued to the blossoms laid out in front of me. Their sweet aroma replaced the smelly Comet, their pastel shades swapped for the unicolor scheme outside.

A legit Valentine's Day Carnation. I did a quick mental check; nope, I'd only sent myself one. I was sure.

"Two?" I heard him exclaim. "I don't believe it," he almost sounded wounded. "You sent those to yourself," he guessed. "You had to!"

My face seared and my throat tightened. He'd managed to break through my bubble and yank me back to miserable reality. Only reality didn't seem all that miserable anymore. Someone had thought of me, someone liked me.

The bell to end the school day rang and he got up quickly. "See ya later, freak show."

I waited for everyone to leave, their chatter slowly quieting as they filed out one by one.

I wanted to pack my flowers in my bag without the other kids knocking around. I wanted to make sure they went unharmed.

As I swung my legs, now light, around the side of my seat, something caught my eye; a pink ticket that hadn't been there before. I recognized it instantly and my heart skipped a beat as I quickly looked around. If anyone had seen it, I'd be the laughing-stock of the school, the butt of every joke, as opposed to now, being the butt of only most.

I reached down to grab the Carnation receipt, my fingers fumbling over the waxy paper. But, as I brought it closer to my face, I realized it didn't belong to me. My name was boldly printed in the recipient's box sure enough, but the printing wasn't mine. It was his...the jerk next door's.

Okay, we all knew that was coming. Except for...maybe the boys...

Write A Series Of Books - Not Just One!

Whether you've just started your first book or have completed it, don't stop with just the one. Establishing a presence online or in print is crucial and will have readers coming back for more. One way to achieve this goal in a reasonably short amount of time is to break a novel apart into several "books" and they can also be stand alone, but linked. This way, you can publish them all individually and then as a whole. This will increase your sales.

Link your book series together with similarly styled but individually designed covers and they will more than likely also be loaded onto a single page in your Ebook store and be recognized as a series there. When you load up your books, if you put the series title in the title of the book they will be on one page and readers can find them easily.

A continuing character or characters should be established in the first book if you go for a series. This person or couple or group has to change and grow as you write the series, as I did for my lead character in my first book, and thereafter.

Feel free to change your covers if you find that sales are slow or there doesn't seems to be enough attention being paid to your books. There isn't any charge to change the outside or inside on the major online retailer, as well as in their P.O.D. division. As a reminder, in that same major retailer you do have to physically submit separate files to enable readers to Look Inside on the print version posted online. They take care of that automatically with the E version of your book/s.

Lengths may vary of course but a good "short story" or chapter in a linked series is about 5,000 to 6,000 words. This enables you to develop the character or characters and gives a reader the chance to get to know them. You can also have a series of novellas and these should be a minimum of 25,000 words to qualify as long form fiction, because they are true novels.

When you go to load up your Ebooks on this retailer's direct publishing site, there's no need to put a cover jpeg inside of your book as well. They take care of that now so it will save you a step! If yuu create your cover jpeg for your Ebook site, then make it 5x8 inches as this looks great both on the site, plus you can use it for your book's print version, if you choose.

Have Books Influenced Your Writing Style?

It's snowing outside. You'll know that if you've looked out of a window recently, or seen the wall-to-wall coverage of SNOWMAGEDDON II - This Time It's a Week Earlier Than in 2010. And there's nothing better on a cold evening than curling up on the couch with a good book.

So, rather than launching into a lecture on why another copywriter has sold out by admitting he'll use the phrase "Much, much more" without hesitation, I'd like to share three of the books that have influenced my writing style.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Noel Adams

I may have mentioned it before, but I'm a tiny bit of a massive, huge, ginormous Hitchhiker's Guide fan. I've got a huge leather-bound anthology of the first 5 books, I like Eoin Colfer's effort and I can sit through the movie without stabbing myself in the thigh with a fork.

And indirectly, Douglas Adams is the reason that I'm a copywriter. The first thing I did when we had the internet was search for the Hitchhiker's Guide. I found h2g2 - a collaborative encyclopedia founded by Adams. Through writing for h2g2, I learnt that I wasn't a bad writer. Then the community helped me become a good writer. And then I started to write for a living.

Candide - Voltaire

There's nothing I like more than writing a blog post with a sarcastic or tongue in cheek undercurrent. It might be the frustrated satirist in me, or it could just be the fact that I'm as sarcastic as they come, but I love it. And Voltaire is the master of the craft. "All's for the best, in the best of all possible worlds!" cries our eponymous hero, as he nearly drowns, or an earthquake wrecks Lisbon, or as his worldly wealth is washed away. If Voltaire's tongue had been any further into his cheek, he'd have dislocated something. And it's this talent for satire that's influenced the way I write blog posts.

Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut

A colleague recommended I read some Vonnegut just after I'd started out as a junior copywriter. And Slaughterhouse 5 changed the way I think about writing. It took me from writing long, dull sentences to short, concise ones. Admittedly, the fact that Vonnegut has a unique style and structure does have a downside. After reading one of his novels, it takes my own style a few days to reassert itself. But if it wasn't for KV, my copy wouldn't be half as good. So it goes.

So that's three of the books that have influenced me. Obviously I've missed things like the Sharpe series (a how to on recycling the same themes over and over) and The Hobbit (an example on why you shouldn't fall in to the trap of big, showy follow-ups), but it I've gone on long enough.

Interview With John H Byk (Pen Name, Conrad Johnson), Author of Detroit Daze

John H. Byk (pen name, Conrad Johnson) was born and raised on the gritty streets of Detroit, Michigan. After surviving high school, he joined the Coast Guard and then went back to school to earn his Masters of Art in English. Still aching to see more of the world, he worked as a Merchant Seaman and then taught English in Japan and Thailand before returning to Detroit to teach high school. Having had enough, he retired early and now spends his time writing and interviewing contemporary authors on his podcast blog, 2012writersALIVE, from his home in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula. When not chained to the computer, he spends his free time hunting, fishing, hiking, sailing and enjoying nature with his best friend Judy and his adoring canine, Sarah.

What was your inspiration for Detroit Daze?

I wrote my first novel, Till the Moon Falls, in 2010. When I finished it, a sequel came to mind so I went right to work on that. It's called, Xe-Nophobia. After finding an old high school friend on Facebook, he suggested that I should write a novel about those wild and crazy days so I did, figuring that a trilogy was better than a duology. The book is a prequel that completes The John Oxman Voyages series.

How long did it take you to complete Detroit Daze?

Once I finished my first novel I couldn't stop writing. I finished all three books in a year and then a fourth one and now I'm working on my fifth. I've also written non fiction, chapbooks along the way. If there's a day that goes by that I'm not writing, then I'm thinking about writing.

What do you find most challenging about writing crime fiction?

Avoiding sensationalism. Blood and violence for its own sake does not a good story make. There has to be a compelling narrative to justify it all.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

To be honest, I hated the entire manuscript when I was done with it. But then I shared it with Rebecca Forster, indie author of the best selling Witness Series and she nearly flipped out because she loved it so much. She answers this question best when she posted a review on Amazon that says, "Every word, every plot turn, every scene was so graphically presented that the reader prays the main character will be able to escape his circumstances. You will never forget Heavy, Berwyn and the rich cast of characters portrayed in this novel."

What do you love most about being an author?

The freedom to dream, explore, create, share and to have an excuse for eating fudge brownies for a sugar buzz while working.

What does an author need to do to be a guest on your radio show, 2012writersALIVE?

First of all, they have to have a book that's on the market and ready to be purchased with a click. Secondly, I prefer authors that have experience related to the work they are promoting and/or credentials more substantial than just being a blogger. I screen potential guests carefully to keep my show classy and relevant (I hope!). Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, they need a telephone or Skype connection, especially if they live outside of the USA.

What's on the near horizon?

Warmer weather and lots of fishing trips. Seriously. I can hardly believe how much I've written in the past two years and all the interviews that I've done. I feel it's time to slow down a bit, catch my breath and cast a few flies for trout as I still continue working on my next project and soliciting guests for my podcast blog at a much more relaxed pace than before.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?

If you're a writer, write from your own social milieu. If you're a reader (as all good writers should be), always have at least two books on your nightstand (or on your electronic device) that you're working your way through. Scan and sift through everything that you come across in print. Also, watch a goofy comedy film every now and then. Besides that, make sure you wear sunscreen on the beach.