Top 10 Writing tips

Add Grammarly to Microsoft Office

You are not stuck with the grammar tools that come with Word. To add Grammarly to Office, just visit “My Grammarly,” choose apps and then click “Install” next to the MS Office logo.

Write something (anything) every day.

It’s important that you develop the habit of writing every single day. It can help to subscribe to an email list that provides daily writing tips not only to remind you of your daily writing commitment but to help you improve your writing along the way.

Stick to your goal

What do you want your newsletter to accomplish? This should be the first question you ask yourself before you start writing. If you don’t know the answer to this, how will your subscribers know what to do? Here are some common goals for email newsletters:

  • drive sales
  • increase social media presence
  • download an e-book
  • drive traffic to a landing page
  • promote a new product or service There are tons of other goals your company might have. But if you’re struggling, use these to get started in the right direction. Pick one and go with it. Trying to jam all these into one message is complicated and will confuse your audience. Here’s a great example of a newsletter with a simple goal from Litmus: The goal of this newsletter is clearly to increase clicks to improve their engagement rates. Rather than just writing a lengthy article about the pros and cons of single vs. double opt-in landing pages, they give their subscribers an option. They’ll get different content based on which CTA button gets clicked. You can use a similar strategy in your newsletter, even if you don’t want to be as direct. First, introduce your goal with the headline or opening statements. Then, discuss it in greater detail throughout the message by mentioning it once or twice. Finally, end with a strong call to action like in the example above. Emphasize it. Don’t make it ambiguous. The customer should have a clear direction of what action to take after reading your newsletter.

Write from a character’s perspective.

Voice journaling is a great way to beat writer’s block by helping you see more clearly what your character wants and why — and what direction the story should take. Write from any character’s perspective – the protagonist, the antagonist, or a minor character with at least a casual interest in what happens.

Getting emails opened

Half the battle is getting prospects to open your emails. Research from HubSpot found that companies with 1-10 employees typically receive a median open rate of 35.3% and companies with 26-200 employees receive a median open rate of 32.3%. Here’s another look at the stats from SmartInsights. Find your industry in the list, and see how your open rates compare: These numbers aren’t exactly staggering. I’ve found that the key to maximizing my open rate is making my emails as personal and interesting as possible. For instance, I suggest using your first name as your from address. Why do I suggest this? The data says so. In one survey, researchers asked “What most compels you to open a permission based email?” I know what would get me to open an email: the from line! Do I trust the sender? Do I want to hear from them? Do I like what they write? Is it going to help me in some way? The best way for me to find that out is by looking at who sent the information. Just take a look at these numbers. The from line is leading the subject line by double! Most people are already drowning in emails and don’t want to open something from some questionable corporate entity. But many are willing to open something from a real person, who is reaching out to them one-on-one. If you are signed up to receive emails from me, you expect to see “Neil Patel” in the subject line. I wrote the email, so I might as well be the one sending it. Besides, it gives you, the reader, the authentic sense that you’re hearing from me as a person, not some disembodied email marketing software.

Keep your story relevant through real-world themes

“Your concerns about politics, culture, the environment, technology, violence, racism, misogyny — these issues can be explored in inventive, eye-opening ways while writing fantasy,” says Rebecca Faith Heyman, an editor who worked on Elise Kova’s The Alchemists of Loom. “In this way, we want to return to our own existences with new perspectives, new solutions to old problems, or new awareness of what's at stake.” Another way to put it: is anything, in particular, frustrating you in real life? You can explore it through your story, because the world’s your own. And, who knows, you might be speaking for other people out there in the world who read your book and share your perspectives. “Carry On by Rainbow Rowell does this brilliantly,” adds Heyman. “There are undercurrents of identity politics explored there, as well as a depth of characterization that merges meaningfully with the fantastical elements of the text. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, as well as the brilliant Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, explore racial prejudice, ableism, identity politics, and more.”

PRO-TIP: Ever wanted to find out which book genre you are? Take our 1-minute quiz below to see!

Establish a writing space and time.

Time and space are critical elements in forming a daily writing habit. If you develop the habit of writing in a specific spot at a specific, scheduled time, you associate that spot and that time of day with writing — and vice versa. Make a point of scheduling a time to write each day, and keep it sacred. If you’re going to write a book, daily writing deserves a place on your schedule.

Keep an Obsessively Detailed Log Book

Record details of your writing sessions in a notebook. After a few weeks, look for patterns. Are you more effective writing in the mornings? Afternoons? Evenings? Are you better writing after your first cup of coffee or your fourth? Find the method in your madness and use it to become a better writer.

Open your piano roll. Grab the pen tool and MIDI scribble

My favourite feeling in kindergarten was grabbing a handful of crayons and scribbling all at once. To be honest, I’m not sure why I stopped. Well, I guess I didn’t really stop necessarily. I Just do it in my DAW now. If I’m stuck building a beat I often open my piano roll, load up an instrument, grab the pen tool and just start scribbling down notes. After I’m done I play it back and listen for the happy accidents. Most of the time it’s 90% crapolla. But that interesting 10% is super valuable for ideas. So grab your DAW and channel your inner 5 year old every now and then.

Write the book you wish existed before you knew what you know now.

Your big idea should be something that excites you. Write the kind of book you were looking for before you learned what you needed to know along the way. Or write about something that meets a real and significant need in your ideal reader. Write a book that will make someone’s life better than it is now.