1. Know what you want to say.

Is this an academic paper? Is this fiction? Inspiration? Is it a Bible study, or a spiritual lesson? Or is it light, humorous? Think it through: clear thinking makes for clear writing. What is your goal for this piece, and why are you writing it? If you aim at nothing, you hit it every time. The power goes where the focus goes.

Understand what NOT to say. There are ethics to consider. Some great “raw” writing needs to be put in the drawer for a while. Just because you are getting something off your chest doesn’t mean the whole world should know it. Also, know what to delete, as too many words, too many details can obscure what you want to say. Some words detract.  Use wisdom and discernment.

2. Know who you are saying it to.

Have a clear understanding of your audience: the age group, gender, demographic, etc. What do you think your audience is looking for, and how can your writing help them?

Get the strong emotion in there. Going from third person to first person adds to the power of the writing. Use your journal as “raw” material. Be sure to get the emotion when you do journal, and when you go back later, the emotion will carry you to the situation, and you will be able to write about it.

3. Edit your piece as much as possible before you show it.

Before you let an editor or publisher editor read your piece, get rid of the clutter, the unnecessary words. Edit the piece yourself the best you can before you show it to someone. Think of it as getting a house ready to sell, i.e., “staging.” Rewrite. Eliminate bunny trails. (Maybe the “bunny trail” is another book, or separate article.) Open another file so you don’t feel as if you are completely deleting it. It may be good material you can use in the future. Then on days when you are stuck in front of a blank document, go back and look through your extra material.

4. Find Your Audience.

This takes you back up to #2, understanding your audience. The goal is to get your writing and/or book to as many of your readers as possible. Use your network to begin, and get your book in the hands of people who can help you be an influencer—writing book reviews online, etc.

Nancie Carmichael
Deep River Books
Author of Selah and many other books

More tips from Nancie…