I have a passion for writing but I realized early on when writing the book that it takes a lot of work! Here are some tips you can use to help you develop your writing skills.
First and foremost, remember your audience. When I began writing Obesity Free Forever, I wrote only from my perspective. The editor I worked with quickly pointed this out to me. I remember how excited I was to submit my first draft after months of hard work only to receive it back with over 200 comments for improvement. I wanted to quit! I felt as though I had just failed the most important test of my life. After reading the comments, I realized there was a theme to them—I forgot the audience! Whenever there are too many “I” statements and not enough “you” statements, your audience will become disinterested.
Start with an outline. This is something I failed to do but learned along the way through my coursework. An outline provides the structure and roadmap needed for proper flow of ideas. Also, an outline allows you to jot down every minor detail as your ideas flow. Some ideas may never materialize in your writing but using an outline will help capture everything you want to communicate to your audience.
Use your own voice. You are unique and your writing style should reflect this uniqueness by using your own voice. Unlike a scientific research study where you must follow certain standards in your reporting, you can be creative with writing about your own experiences and you will relate better to your audience if you use your unique voice.
Step away from the manuscript. Once you’ve done your best work, take a break from the piece for awhile, a minimum of 24 hours. You will become refreshed and you will be amazed how at how taking a break allows your creative ideas to flow better. Even if your passion is writing, it is important to take a break and step away from your work before going onto revisions.
Ask someone you trust to read our work. My husband prompted me to write Obesity Free Forever when I approached him on my goal to educate others on safe permanent weight loss. Not knowing how to write a book, I approached him with a mere 25 pages that I was so excited to complete! After reading my little draft my husband liked it but wondered where the rest was! I thought I had done a great job with my 25 pages but he insisted the average book has around 200 pages. I wondered where I would find enough content to write 200 pages when I walked away. The moral of the story is that I trust my husband implicitly and he respected me enough to critique my work. This is a very important part of the writing process. I found many ideas I wrote that I was in love with, others thought were awful! And while my ego was crushed temporarily, the critical feedback was important to improve my writing style. If at all possible, use the services of a good editor to help you improve also. It is a worthwhile investment.