Practical Writing Tips For Anyone

Staring at a blank screen sipping coffee as you try to mustard out a few more words is the ritual of writers. We’re stubborn people, we look straight into the abyss till our eyes bleed and the voice in our head screams struggling to find the right words to say. Oddly enough, this torture is… satisfying. We always come back for more like a money starved boxer fiending for their next fight.

What do we like about writing? Well, I’ll assume you’re like me. I believe writing is pure freedom, and pure creation. It’s your chance to decide who wins, who loses, who sinks and who soars. Writing is a reflection of you and your chance to let your voice ring throughout someone’s head.

That’s some pretty heavy shit right?


Every so often people will message me looking for ways to improve their writing and fortunately for them I came up with a list of tips I would recommend.

Please read, comment, share and let me know what tips I’m missing.

– Enjoy

Get Started.

To be frank, getting started writing is a bitch and not just any ol’ step-on-your-toes bitch, but rather a big bitch with bubble gum who smacks her lips harder than a drummer at a football game. Yep. That bitch.
Writers are famous for being procrastinators. Why? We hate getting started. It sucks, and you read it here first. For me, the first 15 minutes of writing are Hell and I’d rather be doing anything other than writing. I stare at the screen, I start, I stop. I curse, I walk around. I’m all over the place. However, once I stomach the first 15, I find myself getting in the zone and that’s where the magic happens. In the zone, words flow like honey from a cracked beehive except this time, there’s no pesky bees flying around to sting you.

So what’s the tip? Force yourself to start and get going. Stare at the screen and put fingers on keys. You don’t have to love what you put down at first, but get in the habit of putting something down; you’ll need the momentum and you can always edit later. Once you’re going, you’ll be like a homerun… going, going & gone into a flow. The act of starting will create the inspiration and momentum to write. Forget about waiting to be inspired but focus on inspiring yourself. You have to be the match that ignites your fire.

Write What Interests You / Write What You Would Like to Read.

When you write, you should really only focus on one thing: writing pieces that entertain you and solely you; nothing more, nothing less. This is your time to be the selfish bastard who has their cake and eats it too. This is your time to be the asshole who’s the first person to stands up and rush to the front of the plane when it lands so you can line-cut 50 other annoyed people because you know #2 is for fucks. This is your time to delay your whole family from eating dinner at the normal time because you were “late.” Be selfish in your writing my friends, it’s all about you.

You create your best writing when you yourself are entertained. What I’m about to say should be painfully obvious: If you’re not entertained, how could you possibly expect other people to be entertained? When you write, try to make yourself laugh and hold your own attention. Try to inspire yourself and try to flood your brain with the visuals you would want to see when you read your work. If you can successfully accomplish this, believe me, other people will gravitate to your words.

Every topic I write about are things that I would want to read, oddly enough that’s why I write them. Only write for yourself, and when you do that & concoct a piece that makes you proud, that’s when it’s ready to be shared with the world.

Remove Your Inner Critic.

But what if my Mom reads this? What will my girlfriend think? Will I lose any friends? But… But.. But… Who cares. The biggest way to accelerate your writing potential is to remove the inner critic, the “But what if someone reads this?” voice that screams in your head.

What you need to do is think more optimistic. Yeah, what if someone reads this? What if someone reads this and they actually like it? What if enough people read and like your work so much so that you’re able to pursue writing as a full-time career? How about them apples cowboy?

The truth is people are more drawn to people who are vulnerable and say things that are real, instead of pedestrian and diluted. By this I mean, when you write, focus on sharing your truth in your words. If you remove your inner critic and give yourself permission to write free, you should notice a great improvement in your writing. This is much easier said than done, but you accomplish this by doing and not thinking.

Stop Writing and Edit the Next Day or Several Hours Later.

So here you are, Mr. or Mrs. Writer who just poured their soul into the paper. Great. Now do me a favor: take a break and look at your work later. Why? You’re going to notice more compelling ways to share your words. By looking over your work with fresh eyes, you’ll allow yourself to catch mistakes and find more clever phrasing. Fresh eyes = fresh mind.

Read What You Wrote Out Loud.

The voice in your head always sounds different than the voice coming out of your mouth. By reading what you wrote out loud, you’ll be able to notice the cadence of your writing and see how words flow and mesh in your cocktail of a paper. This is single-handedly the #1 tip I share with people.

Read. Listen to Music. Watch TV. Find Ways to Learn New Words.

The more words you know, the more phrases you pick up, the more interesting it will make your writing. I don’t think it matters how you consume content but make an effort to learn new words. I get most of my phrasing from listening to podcasts, comedy and reading articles. I will also force myself to read from people who have an immaculate vocabulary so you at home can read me type “Immaculate” and not “great”. You get the idea, expose yourself to better writers you they can rub off on you and influence your work.

Write Often. Be disciplined.

Similar to building muscle, getting better at writing doesn’t happen after one heart pounding session. It takes time, discipline and commitment to improve any ability, writing included. By writing everyday (or nearly everyday.. we’re not superheroes) you’re going to improve your skill. Try to find a time that works best for you. Most people either prefer the morning or the night. Whatever you prefer, sit down and get going.

Focus on Being Understood.

Hey Suzie, You’re not in class anymore.
After years of being graded on your writing, (usually from some peach-of-a-teacher who hates grading papers) what you need to learn or rather unlearn is when you write for fun nobody is grading your work, so let your inhibitions run wild. Great writers aren’t people who are great at grammar, they’re people who are great at telling stories; know the difference. When you write, focus on being understood as that will make you closer to the reader. This is a simple idea with big rewards.

Have Fun

Have you even been around someone who hated their life and wasn’t having fun? Yeah? Did it make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside when you were around them? No? Ok. Glad we’re on the same page. Having fun is crucial to writing because when you have fun, it’s as if your energy is pouring out of your words and into someone’s minds; it’s contagious.

It makes me happier than a cookie escaping fat camp to write and I hope it does for you too. If you want to be a good writer, have fun. Take the pressure off yourself, you deserve it. You must learn to genuinely enjoy the process of writing because it will never change. Once you have fun, writing isn’t work, it’s relaxation.

94 thoughts on “Practical Writing Tips For Anyone

  1. Great advice, especially that last bit. I think a lot of people (authors, editors, reviewers, etc) get too wrapped up in certain rules and they miss out on what’s a great story because they’re too focused on counting adverbs.

  2. You are right about all this, Tony! I love writing and one reason why is because it’s freedom. And I find if I like what I write, and find it interesting and attention-holding, others find it the same as well!

    Good advice here!

    1. “You create your best writing when you yourself are entertained.” I can’t agree more with this quote, and I’ve learned it the hard way.

      I find that if you’re losing entertainment in your own writing, then it no longer feels like freedom. It feels like slaving over what you think you “should write” instead of what you “prefer to write”

      The advice was ‘immaculate.’ Thanks again Tony.

  3. Great tips. The almighty inner critic is definitely easier to talk about than defeat. I like your tip to consume more content and take in more voices and opinions.

  4. Hi, Tony. Thanks for sharing such an interesting and helpful article filled with sound advice. Wise Words. Happy Blogging. Have a great day. Goff

  5. Love reading your writing Tony Bologna!
    You have an immaculate writers voice. 😉

    I’m an artist, but find these tips to be helpful cross contaminating in the overall creative process. If that makes sense

  6. Oh yes! This is exactly what I needed to read right now – especially the inner critic bit. I’m awful for it!

  7. I struggle with this so much. Getting started is easily my biggest pet-peeve in writing. But you’re so right – after the first 15 minutes it becomes so easy. Great words!

      1. I appreciate it, I’m a work in progress, I just enjoy writing and the creativity behind it. If I can bring someone joy through my words, that’s what’s most important to me. Thank you again for stopping by my page and commenting! It means a lot!

  8. I think you have a lot of solid advice here! It’s honestly difficult telling people “how” to write, which is why I deleted a ton of posts on my old blog because it didn’t feel sincere. I think writing is a unique experience for everyone, but I’m still perplexed by those who pursue the craft and absolutely despise everything they create. I guess that’s one way to sift through it – find something that stands out among all the shit and go from there. And I admire those people for their commitment. I do think that a shift in the writing community needs to be made at large where people begin to celebrate their writing and self-expression more than they degrade and belittle themselves because their words don’t echo the same way someone else’s does in their head.

    1. That’s so true! I’d be all for switching to celebrating creating instead of beating ourselves up.

      I think writers beat themselves up because 1) they are perfectionists and 2) they aren’t getting the “results” they want. I truly believe most writers have a “marketing” problem instead of a writing problem.

      Truthfully I don’t go back and read my old stuff because It’s easy to pick it apart.

      But I agree, we should celebrate creating.

      I’m always surprised that people like things that I didn’t like about my writing so who knows? You never know who you’ll influence.

      1. That’s a great point, and I think it comes back to the need for initial self-validation. It’s so hard in this day in age to not root the majority of your percetion of yourself as an artist in how many likes and comments you recieve. Back in the day, people really didn’t have a choice but to write for themselves and see where it went. Now, it’s easier than ever to research, fixate and fine-tune everything you write to appease people instead of truthfully express yourself.

        I think every writer definitely has their fair share of early projects they look at and are embarassed to revist, haha. But I think we can be just as pleasantly surprised at our writing after some time away if we are open to it.

        That’s the best part; not knowing what people will like. It’s great to be self-aware and know when you can improve flow or express yourself more clearly, but we really just need to let our minds breathe and get out into the world. Whatever’s meant to resonate with the right people will.

  9. I can attest to the grammar thing. So often I’ve found myself focused on the sentence structure versus actual content. Takes discipline, but worth it in the end.

    1. It can be very difficult at first to write free but you know, when you write for fun, there isn’t a grade attached. People will remember your stories and not whether or not you used the right / write form of “weather” 😉

  10. Thank you for these tips. Unfortunately I find it hard to write every day with work taking so much time. And on days off I sometimes crash hard. It is an ongoing problem – that and having too many ideas that I don’t know what to focus on.

    1. I get it man, sometimes you just gotta start and not know where you want to go, but the act of starting is what triggers everything in my opinion. If I don’t know what to write I try to focus on what I want to share or try to make myself laugh

  11. Good words Ton! No pun intended (ha)…like your style-calling it like it is bitches. Helped me refocus and write…write… (bitch & moan)…write some more…

  12. Thank you so much for posting this – I relate! I loved what you said about writing being selfish, so many times I think I need to write for the reader. But when I think about my “pure” writing that I did what I was a little girl, I wrote those stories with no thought of who might or might not read them. I wrote them for myself. And the best writing I can do is when I don’t stop and think about “who” I’m writing this for, or what “people” will think.

      1. Definitely. I get times when I’m really happy with what I wrote and I want to shout about it.. Other times I want to hide my writing away and not let people read it. And that’s down to the voice in my head saying I’m not good enough, It is probably the number one thing that holds me back. Keep up the good work!

  13. This. Is. Hilarious. “To be frank, getting started writing is a bitch and not just any ol’ step-on-your-toes bitch, but rather a big bitch with bubble gum who smacks her lips harder than a drummer at a football game. Yep. That bitch.” So true!

  14. Great tips thanks. I don’t know why getting started is so hard, I actually enjoy it once I do but for some reason am always reluctant to get going.

  15. Fun! Yes! I sometimes forget that one, and it becomes a chore. When I remind myself that actually, you know, this is enjoyable, I find it becomes a little easier to let go, write better and, yes, have fun!

  16. There is so much truth and no meat by-products in this article. Procrastination is probably my number 1, somehow amidst 1000 new article ideas that pop in my head while walking the dog and sitting at my desk I find 1001 other things I need to do. Thanks for the article and that’s no baloney.

  17. I always laugh when I see something about reading work out loud. Most journalists do this. There can be a great deal of whispering in a newsroom as deadline nears. Now that I write at home, I read loudly, and often in an accent. I usually pick British. It makes my work sound better. 🙂

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