Behind the Books

5 Ways to Improve Your Writing

April 30, 2018

LEARN HOW TO BE A STORYTELLER AND A WRITER

I’ve often said there are storytellers and there are writers, but rarely is someone both to begin with. A storyteller is someone who is brimming with stories. They feel as though they’ll burst if they don’t find a way to get their stories out. I’m a natural born storyteller. I have so many characters and stories swirling around inside, I doubt I’ll ever be able to pen them all. A writer is someone who possesses the skill to beautifully articulate anything. A writer can take a drab, boring idea and breathe color, life, and poetry into it nearly effortlessly. Both skills are needed to be a great writer, but most people must dedicate a significant amount of time and energy to developing the skill they lack.

LEARN HOW TO SWALLOW REJECTION AND MOVE ON

Sharing your writing can be an altogether terrifying experience. What you’ve written is a reflection of yourself, and therefore when someone reacts negatively, it’s hard not to feel that they have not only rejected your work but also rejected you. As is the case with all kinds of artists, writers must believe in themselves and never give up. When I was a struggling writer, I used to receive rejection letters so fast they’d nearly hit me in the back of the head on my way home from the post office. I had to learn to receive rejection and move on. Never give up. Sometimes the editor writing the rejection letter would take the time to offer constructive criticism, which I took to heart and it made my writing and story better. Be willing to listen to criticism and learn from it. You want your writing to be the best it can be.

BEFORE YOU BECOME A WRITER, YOU MUST BE A READER

One of the most effective ways to improve your writing is to read. A LOT. A good writer should read books of all different genres and styles. Read things that challenge you, read bestselling authors and authors you’ve never heard of. As you absorb others’ work, your grasp and appreciation of language will evolve and grow, likely without realizing it’s happening.

STICK TO A SCHEDULE

One of the most difficult parts of being a writer is motivating yourself to finish your work on time. I set a strict schedule for myself. I am in my office each morning at the same time and I set a required amount of pages to write each day. Without a schedule to guide you, it can become far too easy to push your writing aside, allow insecurity and writer’s block to rule the day and never get any writing done.

ESTABLISH A SUPPORT SYSTEM

Without my husband Wayne’s sweet words to me more than 30 years ago, “write, Debbie, write…” I would likely not be a published author today. He believed in me and supported me through all the rejection letters, and years of what felt like fruitless effort. As you pursue writing, rally a support system around yourself. Entrust a small group of people with your dreams, ask them to hold you accountable and most of all, to remind you of why you’re pursuing writing when you feel like giving up.

 

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    kerry Eyre
    May 18, 2018 at 12:33 am

    I would like to start the morning positive. so I am going to take a few of your suggestions. because i don’t drink coffee i will try tea and write down 5 positive things in my life.
    I figure that’s a start.
    Kerry

  • Reply
    Sharon Forbes
    May 22, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Good morning! I just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying yoyr new blog so much! You have been one of my very favorite authors for many, many years, I can pick up one of your books and know I’ll have hours of reading pleasure out of it! You are such an inspiration in so many ways to me, I strive to spend a least a few moments every morning in prayer and thankfulness, and now, I also want to devote some time to reading the Bible, I am feeling like it’s something that would help me make some decisions in my life. Thank you again for being the wonderful woman you are!!

  • Reply
    Charmaine Davey
    May 22, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Lovely blog!! Full of great information that draws the reader in. Excellent!

  • Reply
    Kathy Thiemke
    May 22, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Loved Grandma with the hoofprints!

  • Reply
    Katherine
    May 22, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Reply
    Betty Greene
    May 22, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    It is very concerning of all the tragedy in the USA. People have lost their homes, families. Now Hawaii is losing one of their islands due to the volcanic eruption. People losing their homes due to forest fires. It seems like everyday something tragic happens. School shootings are very tragic as we have lost so many your people due to the shootings. When I was in school you never, never gave that a thought.
    Many of our troops over seas have lost their life and limbs and legs. When I was a senior in high school we were told that if there were ever a World War II there would be no earth left. I know I would really love to have your new book “Cottage by the Sea.”

  • Reply
    MO
    May 22, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    I am interested in writing a story or two, to pass down to my grandchildren. I have a small notebook with the facts.( “The facts just the facts, Maam” Sargent Friday Dragnet) LOL but i am having a problem making it fun. I thought if I break up the pages with some photos it might help. Any other creative thoughts for me?? I have researched family history type books that can get PUBLISHED, but boy they are $$$$$$$
    Thanks, MO

  • Reply
    Sandy Slaybaugh
    May 22, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    I can not imagine someone rejecting one of your novles. I love them all. I wish my mother was still with us so we could share stories.

  • Reply
    Sam
    May 22, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    WOW what an amazing list to select from. Yes, I did read each one and I loved your encouraging words on writing. I still have a dream of writing and your article has breathed inspiration into that dream once again. Thank you

  • Reply
    Marsha Caldwell
    May 22, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Hi Debbie,

    I loved all the information in your blog. There are times when I think I would like to write stories. This always takes me to the hill with a very large question mark on top. You have done so much to incorporate writing into your life. Meet you at least twice has shown me ‘you practice what you preach’.

    I have listened to the highs and lows of your life. There is always good and bad things which speak to us for the rest of our life. Thank you for the writing you do. It has made such a huge impression on so many people (some you may not even realize) please continue all that you are. Debbie MaComber, Port Orchard resident, Community Activist, Screen Writer, Writer of books and especially keeping our community in a positive light for all your readers and listeners.

    Regards
    Marsha

  • Reply
    Kay E Cory
    May 22, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    As I am the family historian, it is easy to tell a tale.
    than you for your advice

  • Reply
    Joyce
    May 22, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you for these little snipers. Particularly Cottage by the Sea. I’m going on holiday in three weeks and that sounds right up my street. What a great treat, I can’t wait. Thanks again.

  • Reply
    Ida
    May 22, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    I’m excited to read as I want a cottage by the sea

  • Reply
    Carolyn Davis
    May 23, 2018 at 1:20 am

    Loved all the different articles, keep them coming. God bless

  • Reply
    Laune Studenski
    May 23, 2018 at 3:32 am

    Good Points

  • Reply
    Janice Kirk
    May 23, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Would love to win your books

  • Reply
    Lyn Aubrecht
    May 23, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    I love the picture of your writing room, the great old typewriter, the bookshelves around you, and, of course, the great (characteristic) smile. I once had the pleasure of hearing Isaac Azimov describe his writing room. At the time he had published about 300 books, remarkably about 150 non-fiction, 150 fiction. His room seems to have been similar to the one in your picture, small room, center table with typewriter, surrounded by bookshelves, no window. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Sharol Molland
    May 23, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    I have been an avid reader since I was in Jr. Hi. I especially love humor and happy endings. An elderly friend of mine was a writer and she encouraged me to do it. I have started to write the story of my life, but some parts are too painful so I haven’t continued it. I’ve tried to write other things, but I haven’t been able to pull out my imagination so far. 😀 I can , however, express my opinions and write secretary notes well.

  • Reply
    BRYNDA S ROTH
    May 24, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    I relish this great advice from Debbie on this subject. It does take dedication & much discipline to become a great writer like Debbie. And to be strong to accept rejection & criticism & to keep trying, no matter what!
    She certainly learned the hard way, but never gave up, thank vividness! And look how she’s turned out with all these bestsellers, then branching g out in so many ways! She’s simply awesome! I love to write & tell stories, both fiction & true & hopefully, I’ll stick to her good advice & who knows, maybe one day, mine will be published nationally as well! Thank you Debbie!

  • Reply
    Pamela Harrell
    May 28, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    I am going to follow your suggestions for being a writer. Something I have wanted to do for a long time.
    I am also going to try some of your lovely recipes.

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