5 ways to instantly be a better writer

21 Feb

devilishly simple shortcuts to
upping your writing quality

The more you read the more you want to write. Appreciating a good turn of phrase or being irritated by a bad turn of phrase will make you a better writer over time. Take notes when you read and read these notes when you are sat in your writing chair fumbling for ideas.

The more you write the better you get, and this is the best tip of all. Most beginning writers seem to put off writing till they feel they have the best idea, but in fact the best writers are unafraid of making a mess and having it all go wrong. Write every day, no excuses.

It’s all very well having lots of scraps of paper lying around with ideas on them but nothing gives you that buzz like finishing something. Write something and finish it, even if it’s not quite right. If you finish it then you will see the shape of it and can start rewriting to make it better.

Being in love is very inspiring. Ok if you can tear yourself away from your lover long enough to set pen to paper. Also losing love is inspiring. Or almost losing it. Loving someone means having something to lose and nothing is more inspiring to a writer than an emotion you find difficult to put into words. Find the words.

Also if you want something, not to be poor, to be respected, to have a nice new car, to fly, to perform for others, to be wanted for yourself… then you can write about that want. You can talk about wanting, not wanting, getting what you want and not wanting it anymore. It’s a useful fund of ideas because every fictional character WANTS something.


Advising people who commented and emailed me recently has prompted me to do something I’ve been meaning to do for years; set up an Internet service for giving writers advice. I call it The Noun Collective and it will be launching in March, and I guarantee you can afford it.

Obviously offering a service like this requires some form of payment, it takes effort and experience to answer questions. After a lot of thought about how not to alienate people by overcharging, I’ve decided to take a modern approach to billing; you can pay what you like! I will of course have premium services for long form script evaluation, but the main service will be this: ask a question, get an answer, pay what you like. Watch out for details here soon. Subscribers to the newsletter will be able to get beta access to the system, so why not sign up now?


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Thank you so much for reading this blog. I really enjoy writing it, but also I’d love to know what you think. Please by all means leave some comments, I’d like to hear what you have to say about my ideas. Also if you’d like to get more guides like this dropped right into your email, then I would love it if you’d sign up for my FREE email newsletter using the form here.

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Posted by on February 21, 2010 in Creative Genius


8 responses to “5 ways to instantly be a better writer

  1. Yolanda

    February 22, 2010 at 9:03 am

    This is so true. Reading The Patriot’s script inspired my screenplay tremendously! Plus it untied some story knots for me. How cool is that!
    Plus, from the commentary people made about the screenplay I realised that what people think and say doesn’t determine the success in the end. That too is very inspirational and motivational.

    • Phil South

      February 24, 2010 at 7:26 am

      Yes, any kind of motivation you can find is good. Music, other people’s writing, a sound, a scent on the breeze…. it doesn’t matter. In fact I cover this in a forthcoming blog post. (You knew I was going to say that…)

  2. pratibha verma

    February 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    very concise and fruitful

    • Phil South

      February 24, 2010 at 7:26 am

      many thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  3. Shelley-Ann

    March 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I stumbled upon your blog while searching for something else and I’m so glad I did. Perhaps this is an examples of answers coming when you need them. Even if you haven’t asked the right questions out loud, your subconcious has a way of doing it for you.

    • Phil South

      March 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Totally, it’s like when you try really hard to remember something then you relax and think about something else and your subconscious pops it into your mind.

      Thanks for joining us. 🙂


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