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Writing

11 Useful Writing Strategies to Finish Your Story

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jan 8, 2020 • 4 min read

Writing comes in various different forms. Regardless of the type of writing—whether you’re a student writing a high school research paper or an experienced author taking on a creative writing project of your own—there are many effective writing strategies that can help you get going.

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11 Writing Strategies for Authors

Writing can feel like a laborious task, even for seasoned professionals. However, with the aid of some effective strategies, you can simplify the writing process. Below are some writing strategies that can help you become a more efficient, better writer:

  1. Establish a routine. Giving yourself a set amount of time to write each day or a schedule of writing tasks will help get you writing in a more effective, consistent way. The more routine it becomes, the more ingrained it will be in your day-to-day. Practice will only improve your writing abilities, and you’ll become more efficient as time goes on. Getting yourself into a morning journaling routine is a great place to start.
  2. Give yourself a question to answer. “What if” questions are great ways to jump-start your writing. Form your writing into a question you can answer for your main point. For instance, what if a neglected boy discovers he’s a powerful wizard? Or, what would happen if you woke up as a fly? A question opens up multiple avenues to answer, and each answer can bring its own story.
  3. Write fast. Let yourself write as the ideas flow to you. Getting bogged down with the editing process early on in your writing can inhibit the speed of your progress. Your final draft is where you can nitpick at sentence structure and punctuation errors, so while you’re in the thick of your initial drafts, just keep up the pace of your writing.
  4. Outline. Some writers are comfortable creating a detailed outline for a novel. New writers, in particular, find it helpful to have a road map. Outlining is a writing technique that sets up your writing before you start, leaving you a solid foundation to build the rest of your writing upon. Learn how to outline your novel in our guide here.
  5. Go for a walk. Leaving your piece of writing for a while and taking a stroll outside can help you return to your work with fresh eyes, while also gathering new inspiration by taking in a different surrounding. Conversations you overhear or events you witness on the street can have an impact on your writing that can inspire it for the better.
  6. Freewrite. Freewriting is a prewriting technique that can help you brainstorm a multitude of ideas by forcing you to continuously write from your stream of consciousness. Freewriting can help you make connections between abstract ideas you didn’t even know you had. With more ideas on hand, the pool you can draw from expands, giving you a wider range of things to inspire you in your own writing activities.
  7. Take notes. Whenever you have an idea, write it down. Even bad ideas can lead to good ideas later on. You never know which subject matter or word choice will spark an idea or stimulate your mind for storyline fodder. You can also use this as part of your reading strategies when getting inspiration from other authors. Take notes on their structure and writing style, and see if it gives you any new ideas for your own work.
  8. Break it down. A lot of good writers still feel the need to break down their writing into small groups, tackling each one as a separate writing assignment, which can be helpful for both novels and academic writing. By breaking down your writing into smaller bits, you can more easily tackle your project as a whole.
  9. Start in the middle. Write the climax (or what you’re most excited about) first. By starting with the most interesting part, you can energize yourself to fill in the rest, working your way backward or forwards, continuously making progress. Some writers find the expository details tedious or don’t have an ending yet—so start with the meat and work your way to the outer layers.
  10. Start from the bottom. Try writing the last line first. There are also some writers who feel like the first sentence or the opening paragraph can be the hardest, but giving themselves an endpoint (even if it changes) and working backward from it can be useful and productive for their writing process.
  11. Try a writing workshop. If you find you cannot move forward or are suffering from writer’s block, a writer’s workshop may help unclog your mind and refocus on your task at hand. Writing instruction from others, or critiques and feedback from unbiased readers can aid in your process, offering an outside look on a project you’ve been struggling with. A workshop can also be a great way to brush up on your writing skills and help turn your writing into good writing.

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