Becoming a (Better) Writer

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1.

Write

Almost every working writer will tell you the same thing: to get better at writing, you just have to write. It’s simple, but true. If you want to be a better basketball player, you play a lot of basketball. If you want to be a good musician, you make a lot of music. Gradually you get better. It’s called practice, and it works even for writing. So, the single best way to become a better writer is to write. Write as much as you can. Write stories or poems, do writing exercises, compose essays.

2.

Read

Next in importance to writing is reading. After trying to do something yourself, the best way to learn how to do something is to watch someone who knows what they’re doing. For learning better writing, this means reading. Read for pleasure first, but then go back and read to see how the writer did things, how they achieved mood or atmosphere, how they made their characters come alive, how they held your attention. Even reading ‘bad’ writing is helpful. How else will you learn how NOT to write?

Observe

3.

One of the most useful skills for writers is that of observation. How many times have you done a routine task and not really been aware of exactly how you did it? Would you be able to write about that task with vivid detail? As you go through life, learn to pay attention to the things around you. Observe the way things look, and how their appearance can change in different light. Observe the sounds and smells and flavours around you. Be aware of how mood can affect which details you
notice.

4.

Experience

Things are easier to write about if you have experienced them (or something similar) first hand. Instead of staying in your room writing all the time, go out once in a while and experience life. Try new things. Do the usual things a different way. Every different experience you have gives you more material to write about, whether it’s a new hobby you’ve taken up, or a new way of thinking about the world. Live a little yourself, and you’ll bring more life to your stories and poems.

Research

5.

They say to write what you know. It’s good advice, but it doesn’t mean you must never tackle what you don’t know. It means that if you don’t know about the topic you want to write on, go out and learn – MAKE it something you know. Number 4, above, is one way of expanding what you know; research is another. But don’t just research the next thing you want to write about – research anything that interests you. You never know where you might find that truly great story idea.

Vocabulary

6.

Writers use words, obviously. So a good way to expand your writing range (and eventually improve your writing) is to expand your vocabulary. This requires some moderation, though. You don’t want to go out and learn a whole bunch of fancy new words and use them all at once. It’s always a good idea to limit your new word use at first, until you become truly comfortable with your vocabulary. And don’t neglect ordinary words–we don’t use every common word we know, but we could.

7.

Grammar

Another obvious way to better writing is through better grammar, but it’s a path many are reluctant to follow. It may be because grammar is seen as boring and technical, the very opposite of creativity. You may not believe me, but grammar can actually be fun. And you know that saying “you can’t break the rules unless you know them”? It works for writing, too. Once you know how grammar works, then you’ll suddenly have to power to manipulate it to work for you. You can’t do that with bad
grammar.

More: active and passive voice

8.

Play

Once in a while, it’s good to set aside serious work, and just have fun. Write some things that aren’t meant for an audience. Try out all those new words you’ve been learning, see how far you can twist grammar without mangling it beyond recognition, or try out a new figure of speech. Try playing with structure–what if you wrote a story that began at the end and ended at the beginning? Try a new form of poetry (ever written a sestina?) or make up you own. Play is when discoveries are made.

More: figurative language

9.

Read Aloud

A really good way to figure out how the words are flowing is to read something out loud. You don’t need an audience, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t intend the work to be heard out loud ever again. Most readers actually read to themselves in their heads; it’s how we can talk about the “sound” of words on a page. If you stumble over the words when reading out loud, your readers will probably stumble too. Plus, you’ll notice things like alliteration that you might miss otherwise.

More: show don’t tell?

Edit

10

Sometimes it seems that in writing, the true art is in the editing. While a first draft may have great energy or emotion, it will also have lots of mistakes. Typos and grammatical errors are the most obvious things that need fixing, but sometimes editing is more than that. Perhaps you used the same phrase too often, or your wording gives too much away and spoils the suspense (or isn’t clear enough) and sometimes the core of a story is good, but the entire structure needs to be redone.

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Creative Writing and Day Dreaming – Sigmund Freud

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Creative Writers and Daydreaming

Sigmund Freud

We laymen have always been intensely curious to know–like the cardinal who put a similar question to Ariosto–from what sources that strange being, the creative writer, draws his material, and how he manages to make such an impression on us with it and to arouse in us emotions of which, perhaps, we had not even thought ourselves capable. Our interest is only heightened the more by the fact that, if we ask him, the writer himself gives us no explanation, or none that is satisfactory; and it is not at all weakened by our knowledge that not even the clearest insight into the determinants of his choice of material and into the nature of the art of creating imaginative form will ever help to make creative writers of us.

If we could at least discover in ourselves or in people like ourselves an activity which was in some way akin to creative writing! An examination of it would then give us a hope of obtaining the beginnings of an explanation of the creative work of writers. And, indeed, there is some prospect of this being possible. After all, creative writers themselves like to lessen the distance between their kind and the common run of humanity; they so often assure us that every man is a poet at heart and that the last poet will not perish till the last man does.

Should we not look for the first traces of imaginative activity as early as in childhood? The child’s best-loved and most intense occupation is with his play or games. Might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or, rather, rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him? It would be wrong to think he does not take that world seriously; on the contrary, he takes his play very seriously and he expends large amounts of emotion on it. The opposite of play is not what is serious but what is real. In spite of all the emotion with which he cathects his world of play, the child distinguishes it quite well from reality; and he likes to link his imagined objects and situations to the tangible and visible things of the real world. This linking is all that differentiates the child’s “play” from “fantasying.”
The creative writer does the same as the child at play. He creates a world of fantasy which he takes
very seriously–that is, which he invests with large amounts of emotion–while separating it sharply from reality. Language has preserved this relationship between children’s play and poetic creation. It gives the name of Spiel [“play”] to those forms of imaginative writing which require to be linked to tangible objects and which are capable of representation. It speaks of a Lustspiel or Trauerspiel [“comedy” or “tragedy”]
and describes those who carry out the representation as Schauspieler [“players”]. The unreality of the
writer’s imaginative world, however, has very important consequences for the technique of his art; for
many things which, if they were real, could give no enjoyment, can do so in the play of fantasy, and many excitements which, in themselves, are actually distressing, can become a source of pleasure for the hearers and spectators at the performance of a writer’s work.

There is another consideration for the sake of which we will dwell a moment longer on this contrast between reality and play. When the child has grown up and has ceased to play, and after he has been laboring for decades to envisage the realities of life with proper seriousness, he may one day find himself in a mental situation which once more undoes the contrast between play and reality. As an adult he can look back on the intense seriousness with which he once carried on his games in childhood, and, by equating his ostensibly serious occupations of today with his childhood games, he can throw off the too heavy burden imposed on him by life and win the high yield of pleasure afforded by humor.

As people grow up, then, they cease to play, and they seem to give up the yield of pleasure which they gained from playing. But whoever understands the human mind knows that hardly anything is harder for a man than to give up a pleasure which he has once experienced. Actually, we can never give anything up; we only exchange one thing for another. What appears to be a renunciation is really the formation of a substitute or surrogate. In the same way, the growing child, when he stops playing, gives up nothing but the link with real objects; instead of playing, he now fantasies. He builds castles in the air and creates what are called daydreams. I believe that most people construct fantasies at times in their lives. This is a fact which has long been overlooked and whose importance has therefore not been sufficiently appreciated.

People’s fantasies are less easy to observe than the play of children. The child, it is true, plays by himself or forms a closed psychical system with other children for the purposes of a game; but even though he may not play his game in front of the grown-ups, he does not, on the other hand, conceal it from them. The adult, on the contrary, is ashamed of his fantasies and hides them from other people. He cherishes his fantasies as his most intimate possessions, and as a rule he would rather confess his misdeeds than tell anyone his fantasies. It may come about that for that reason he believes he is the only person who invents such fantasies and has no idea that creations of this kind are widespread among other people.

This difference in the behavior of a person who plays and a person who fantasies is accounted for by the motives of these two activities, which are nevertheless adjuncts to each other.
A child’s play is determined by wishes: in point of fact by a single wish–one that helps in his
upbringing–the wish to be big and grown up. He is always playing at being “grown up,” and in his games he imitates what he knows about the lives of his elders. He has no reason to conceal this wish. With the adult, the case is different. On the one hand, he knows that he is expected not to go on playing or fantasying any longer, but to act in the real world; on the other hand, some of the wishes which give rise to his fantasies are of a kind which it is essential to conceal. Thus he is ashamed of his fantasies as being childish and as being unpermissible. But, you will ask, if people make such a mystery of their fantasying, how is it that we know such a lot about it? Well, there is a class of human beings upon whom, not a god, indeed, but a stern goddess–Necessity–has allotted the task of telling what they suffer and what things give them happiness. These are the victims of nervous illness, who are obliged to tell their fantasies, among other things, to the doctor
by whom they expect to be cured by mental treatment. This is our best source of knowledge, and we have
since found good reason to suppose that our patients tell us nothing that we might not also hear from
healthy people.
Let us make ourselves acquainted with a few of the characteristics of fantasying. We may lay it down
that a happy person never fantasies, only an unsatisfied one. The motive forces of fantasies are unsatisfied wishes, and every single fantasy is the fulfillment of a wish, a correction of unsatisfying reality. These motivating wishes vary according to the sex, character, and circumstances of the person who is having the fantasy; but they fall naturally into two main groups. They are either ambitious wishes, which serve to elevate the subject’s personality; or they are erotic ones. In young women the erotic wishes predominate almost exclusively, for their ambition is as a rule absorbed by erotic trends. In young men egoistic and ambitious wishes come to the fore clearly enough alongside of erotic ones. But we will not lay stress on the opposition between the two trends; we would rather emphasize the fact that they are often united. Just as, in many altarpieces, the portrait of the donor is to be seen in a corner of the picture, so, in the majority of ambitious fantasies, we can discover in some corner or other the lady for whom the creator of the fantasy performs all his heroic deeds and at whose feet all his triumphs are laid. Here, as you see, there are strong enough motives for concealment; the well-brought-up young woman is only allowed a minimum of erotic desire, and the young man has to learn to suppress the excess of self-regard which he brings with him from the spoilt days of his childhood, so that he may find his place in a society which is full of other individuals making equally strong demands.

I cannot pass over the relation of fantasies to dreams. Our dreams at night are nothing else than
fantasies like these, as we can demonstrate from the interpretation of dreams. Language, in its unrivaled wisdom, long ago decided the question of the essential nature of dreams by giving the name of daydreams to the airy creations of fantasy. If the meaning of our dreams usually remains obscure to us in spite of this pointer, it is because of the circumstance that at night there also arise in us wishes of which we are ashamed; these we must conceal from ourselves, and they have consequently been repressed, pushed into the unconscious. Repressed wishes of this sort and their derivatives are only allowed to come to expression in a very distorted form. When scientific work had succeeded in elucidating this factor of dream distortion, it was no longer difficult to recognize that night dreams are wish-fulfillments in just the same way as daydreams–the fantasies which we all know so well.
So much for fantasies. And now for the creative writer. May we really attempt to compare the
imaginative writer with the “dreamer in broad daylight,” and his creations with daydreams? Here we must begin by making an initial distinction. We must separate writers who, like the ancient authors of epics and tragedies, take over their material ready-made, from writers who seem to originate their own material. We will keep to the latter kind, and, for the purposes of our comparison, we will choose not the writers most highly esteemed by the critics, but the less pretentious authors of novels, romances and short stories, who nevertheless have the widest and most eager circle of readers of both sexes. One feature above all cannot fail to strike us about the creations of these story-writers: each of them has a hero who is the center of interest, for whom the writer tries to win our sympathy by every possible means and whom he seems to place under the protection of a special providence. If, at the end of one chapter of my story, I leave the hero unconscious and bleeding from severe wounds, I am sure to find him at the beginning of the next being carefully nursed and on the way to recovery; and if the first volume closes with the ship he is in going down in a storm at sea, I am certain, at the opening of the second volume, to read of his miraculous rescue–a rescue without which the story could not proceed. The feeling of security with which I follow the hero through his perilous adventures is the same as the feeling with which a hero in real life throws himself into the water to save a drowning man or exposes himself to the enemy’s fire in order to storm a battery. It is the true heroic feeling, which one of our best writers has expressed in an inimitable phrase: “Nothing can happen to me!” It seems to me, however, that through this revealing characteristic of invulnerability we
can immediately recognize His Majesty the Ego, the hero alike of every daydream and of every story.

The Top 10 Self-Publishing Myths

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The Top Ten Self-Publishing Myths

Myth #1: The only authors w ho self-publish are those w hose writing is not good enough to be published by
a traditional publisher.

Truth: This was probably never true because the first publishers were in direct competition with rich men who could
afford to self-publish. These publishers actually created the concept of the vanity press, and rode that horse to huge
profits. Today, however, things have changed. Rumor in the book industry has it that no large publishers are offering
contracts to new authors unless that author has a following of at least 25,000 and a large online presence. For most
major publishers, this is unofficial policy. Book sales in the 10,000 to 20,000 range used to be enough to make the
midlist, but these days, a book with these sales would be considered a failure by large houses. The midlist author of
the past is today’s self-published author.

Myth #2: Readers do not like to read self-published books.

Truth: Readers do not want to read bad books, no matter how they were produced. Although publishers and other
writers might be biased against self-published books, readers just want to know that they’re going to get their money’s worth. Huge self-publishing successe s like The Celestine Prophecy, and The One Minute Manager prove that
readers are interested in the content, not who published the book. The issue is trust. That’s why it’s so important for self-published authors to make sure they get the best book possible out there. If it’s well written and well marketed,
readers will buy it.

Myth #3: People w ho read can tell w hen a book is self-published because the standards of production are
lower

Truth: While publishing professionals might be able to tell the difference, regular readers will not notice minor
differences in binding or laminating, and as long as your book looks more or less the same as similar books and the
text is easy to read, most buyers won’t know (or care) about the size of the margins or the gutters.

Myth #4: Self-publishing is expensive because you have to order a lot of books up front and pay for
publishing serv ices.

Truth: A book is a product that you are trying to sell, and it has to be comparable in quality to the competition: other books that others are trying to sell. If you know how to format your own book and design your own book cover using software like Photoshop you can probably do a lot of the setup yourself. You will still need to obtain and ISBN, an EAN, a Library of Congress number, and a barcode, and you will also want distribution, and possibly editing. If you
can afford it, these services are available through publishing companies. Some publishers do require their authors to
order minimum print runs, which can cost thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars. However, POD (print on
demand) publishers don’t require authors to order any books. And in some cases, a number of books are included
with the publishing package.

Myth #5: No one reviews self-published books.

Truth: In fact, self-published books do get reviews. Some even get reviewed in major magazines and newspapers.
However, these are the exception, not the rule. Most POD books get reviewed on radio, in local media, in regional
magazines, and on the internet.

Myth #6: Self-publishing is expensive because you have to pay large setup fees.

Truth: Some publishing companies include the actual publishing of the book in the setup fees. If the setup fee
includes formatting, the essential administrative numbers (ISBN, EAN, LOC#, and barcode), a custom cover, and
distribution then you aren’t really paying for setup, you’re paying for publishing services. Watch out for those
companies who tell you a small setup fee that doesn’t include any real services.

Myth #7: It’s hard for self-published authors to succeed because they have to do all their ow n promotion.

Truth: Here’s a quote from a Senior Editor at Harper Collins: “I won’t even look at a book unless the author is
prepared to do a book tour and book signings…” If that’s not work, I don’t know what is. All authors are required to do promotion on their books. No one, except celebrity authors, gets their books out into the marketplace without working for it. No large publisher will take on a new writer who isn’t about to do the promotion, the book tours, and the media interviews.

Myth #8: Self-published authors are at a disadvantage because they’re unknown and there’s no quality
control system in place on published books.

Truth: Self-published authors are usually unknown; there’s not much that can be done about that. However, there
are a few self-publishing companies who do insist on quality in editorial as well as production values. Such publishers
don’t take every book that comes in “over the transom,” and because they have standards, it’s easier for potential
readers to trust the books they sell.

Myth #9: Most self-published authors can’t get their books into large chain brick-and-mortar bookstores like
Barnes and Noble and Borders, and you have to have books on these shelves to be successful.

Truth: Once, chain bookstore s were the only place to buy books, but that’s no longer true. According to a recent poll, only 32% primarily shop for books in chain bookstores. 43% of respondents buy their books online and 9% buy most
of their books from small, independent bookstores. 16% bought elsewhere–in drug stores, specialty shops,
supermarkets, warehouse clubs, and airports. Plainly, since 68% of buyers buy elsewhere, chain bookstore s are no
longer the be-all and end-all of book selling.

Myth #10: Self-publishing is okay for some, but I w ant writing to be my career.

Truth: The length of the mainstream author’s career is under the control of his or her publisher, and future prospects
are only as good as the sales of the last book. If your book doesn’t earn back its advance, or sells only modestly
beyond the advance, the publisher will not want to publish your next book.

Only 1-2% of all books published become bestsellers. Take a look in any bookstore at the books that are not selling
in huge numbers. Take a look at the remainder tables. It may be rare for a self-published book to become a bestseller,
but for that matter, it’s rare for any book to become a bestseller. Most books make their money in the long tail of
sales, which brings in as much income as the bestseller, the difference being that this money comes in over time
rather than all at once. Those writers who persevere no matter what, who continue to write and to publish, who
continue to add books to their product line and promote them, can succeed.

A self-published author’s career isn’t over until the author decides to stop publishing. The self-published author’s
career makes it or doesn’t based on the author’s work and the author’s willingness to keep writing, publishing, and
promoting. It’s not up to anyone else to decide if you’ll be an author; and it’s not up to anyone else to decide when
you’ll quit.

How to self-publish books, an excerpt from book

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Connect with your feelings. Yes that is one of the most beneficial way one could write a book without a “writer’s bloc.” Don’t care about industry standards. Industry is dynamic and it always change. What will not change? Your written and published words!! Even sometimes it can also be rewritable through Amazon and B&N updates, but mostly once you are published your book will become an asset.

The other day somebody tweeted that “It seems to me there are more authors than readers.” It made me laugh, but I asked myself if you are trying to write more, that means you have also read more, and you may be an aspiring writer who still reads and will read in the future. What I mean to say is the author is a reader, aspiring author is also a reader, but excluding these there are millions of readers who read for thrill, experience, and to learn more. Students are readers too. Teachers must be readers, if they won’t read what they would teach. So we don’t have to question that if everybody becomes a writer, then where are readers.

People may have many excuses not to write. Write out whatever you have in your mind. By practicing this you can achieve a lot.

Having your book as an asset is a primary thing. You create blogs around it, you collect fans for it, and you create events and a following for your book. You do a lot many things for your book to become an asset. The immediate best-sellers are different from long-term best sellers. To become best-seller you need to connect with your prospective readers, so to say if some reader wants to interact with you, you don’t shy away or don’t show like “I am an author and I don’t talk with fans!” kind of attitudes, because if you already think you are good author or the best for yourself, which is good for confidence, but don’t show that thing to your readers.

Be a friend to your readers, through that you will learn more. Most readers shy away to talk to authors they like, but you should welcome them to interact with you. Create credibility being a commoner; the reader of your present book will be 90% prospect reader of your next book.

Make your writing an interesting hobby. Take two to three hours a day to write and think on your book, which you are working. While working on that don’t immediately think what your audience would think about your book that would be a major block and another greatest block is concerns about grammar, language, metaphors, the list goes on. We will talk about that later.

Go with the flow of thought as you are talking to yourself or as you are talking to the person somebody you like. If you like your computer that’s great, you have a great companion to listen to you. Talking to myself? That is schizophrenic, is not it? A big NO. Writers were never considered as mad when they are thinking about something to create. You know it, but I am telling you this I want to clear up every doubt a would be writer comes across. I knew few people who think this way.

Again as I say don’t care about industry standards, it is dynamic and will always change. Create new platforms for yourself, reach your audience as much as you can. In this age of information you can publish your book for free with Print-On-Demand and offering E-Books.

E-books correctly marketed itself are a big industry, which is changing the past type of regular publishing.

Even if I complete a thousand books I cannot compare myself to Lee Child, Dan Brown, or J.K. Rowlings. Don’t compare yourself with anybody, because you have your own style. You will be amazed that those trend setters were already beaten by more upcoming e-book publishers in sales. You can become more than what you think of yourself now.

Well writing about fiction is obviously different from nonfiction. Fiction has a different way selling point than nonfiction, but fiction is not reread, but nonfiction is for reference.

What kind of platforms are out there. Internet itself is a great platform where you can do you anything you want regarding selling your books. Go through various free courses on writing and Youtube lectures and interviews by famous authors, how they did it and what is their thinking process is. To say the truth secrets are only kept by amateurs not by professionals.

Don’t care about your style and language. People don’t think language but read in language. So people must understand that whatever kind of English language you write that becomes your original style. Be original, if you try to copy a great author then why people reading that great author would read you. You can miss the exact style and you end up a failure. So being originally is easier than being a copycat.

This is an excerpt from my book on the subject of self-publishing books. This will be a complete A-Z point to point book through which you can learn almost every aspect of the self-publishing your book and selling it successfully and I will also provide you information about some free softwares which are available on net. If you are interested in the whole book subscribe to this blog and I will be in contact with you through blogs and will notify you when it will launch.

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