Friday, February 23, 2018

Guest Post: A Bit of Writing Tips and Encouragement by Jeanette van As

I'm super excited about today's post, because today my bloggy friend Jeanette van As has taken over Notebooks and Novels! I'm not going to hang around too much more, but before you continue, you need to know that Jeanette is an absolutely amazing person and her words are super helpful and encouraging. Read on, and be sure to visit her blog when you finish! =) 

I’ve loved writing since . . . well, since I could write, I guess! I love the feeling of getting lost in a world I’ve created, seeing characters come to life as a story unfolds, and the exhilaration on days when the right words just seem to flow. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years, and I hope some of it will be helpful :)
Write what you love. 
Writing isn’t easy. If you write a genre you don’t even like reading, it’ll just make things harder. You’ll be far less likely to finish your story and you won’t enjoy the process at all. 

Moreover, what you’ve written will reflect your lack of passion, and it shouldn’t be that way. Writing, like all art, has to mean something to you, or it won’t mean much to anyone else. When you write, you strive to create something that adds sparkle and song to normal life. You can’t do that if you don’t write about what matters to you.
Remember your readers. 
When you write, don’t try to write for everyone, lest you end up pleasing no one. Choose a target audience. Decide who you would want to read and enjoy your work, and then write for them.

Ask yourself about your audience as you write. Which issues are relevant to them? What sort of humour would they appreciate? What kind of characters would appeal to them? Questions like this will help “tighten” your writing, making it more focused.
Don’t overwrite. 
Be careful not to be too wordy. It can be tempting to use a string of adjectives like, “The house stood empty. Ruined. Abandoned. Desolate.” Very often, though, less is more.

Try not to describe things to death or state the obvious because you’re scared your readers may miss something. Leave a bit of the figuring out to them and let them use their imaginations to fill in the details you haven’t stated explicitly. They’re smarter than you think! ;)
Put yourself out there. 
Often the scariest part of writing is taking the manuscript you’ve agonised over for months and emailing it to a friend to read, clicking “publish” when you’ve spent hours crafting a deeply personal post, or swallowing your fear and finally entering that writing contest.

It’s terrifying, but it’s true. If you want to grow as a writer, you have to put yourself out there. Pour your heart into your writing, and share it with others. Start blogging. Submit an article. Invite people to read what you’ve written and ask them for constructive criticism.

This is when you start to grow. It’s not easy, and it requires lots of prayer and deep breaths, but it is so worth it!
Write for God. 
God is the One who created you with a love and talent for writing. Remember this, and let your writing be a song of thanksgiving to Him.

Give your writing to the Lord and ask Him to use it for His glory. He may use it differently than you expected Him to, but you can rest in the fact that He will work all things together for the good of those who love Him. And He’s got the Master Plan for your life and your writing. :)
About Jeanette
I’m Jeanette, and I’m His :) I’m a nutty South African bookworm, writer, muso and drama queen. I love Middle-earth, Narnia, Discworld . . . oh, and all things Celtic! I recently started blogging and it’s been quite a journey so far. I’d love to have you come visit! Click here to visit Only by Grace.

*applauds* Wasn't that great? Thank you so much, Jeanette, for being on Notebooks and Novels! Be sure to chat with Jeanette in the comments and check her blog out. =) 


  1. Hi Jeanette! Thanks for sharing these writing tips!

    I just checked out your blog, and it is so sweet and encouraging! I look forward to reading more of your writing! :)

    - Madeline

  2. Micaiah - thank you so much for having me on your lovely blog! I so appreciate it :)

    Madeline, you're so welcome! I hope some of it can be helpful :) And thank you very much for your encouraging words! Much appreciated :)

    1. Aw, you're so welcome, Jeanette! Thanks for guest posting! =)

  3. I loved this!!! This was so great, thank you for the advice!

    1. You're so welcome! Thank you very much for your kind words :)

  4. Fantastic! These really are things that I as a writer need to keep in mind. It can be so easy to be sidetracked and write for the wrong things - and so hard to truly write for yourself. Thank you for the great post, Jeanette - and thank you for bringing it to us, Micaiah!

    ~True //

    1. Thank you for such an encouraging comment - I'm so glad it could help!! :)

  5. I dearly enjoyed this post, Jeanette!

    As a fairly new writer myself, I always appreciate these little reminders :)


    1. Thank you very much, Catherine! I'm glad it could help :)


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