Useful Skills Writers Should Learn

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Did you like the meme? LOL, I don’t know how I came up with that – don’t ask.

Before we begin, I want to post what I’m working on. I know some of you have emailed me, and I promise to respond soon.

Here’s my to-do list:
– Finish beta reading for another blogger
– Finish reading (another blogger’s) story for a book review
– Respond to inquiries (WordPress inquires)

That way, those who contacted me know I’m making my way down the list. Oh, and I’m also working on my own writing projects. Speaking of which, I updated Clash of Tides. If you are willing to leave me feedback on chapter 20, I’ll unlock the chapter for you. Thanks!

So, today, I’m going to discuss useful skills that writers should learn. Of course, being a good writer is number one, but to sell our stories, we need more than just good writing skills.

Now, this post may not apply to you. It depends on what route you decide for your stories. Meaning, do you plan to self-publish or try for traditional publishing? Even if you don’t plan to publish anytime soon, there are still handy skills you (as a writer) should learn.

You’re probably thinking:

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I know, believe me, a writer’s life ain’t easy! When I first started writing, I thought I only needed to do the writing part.

In the past, I’ve mentioned marketing! Yes, dreaded, annoying, crappy, marketing! To get readers for our work, we need to market our stories. Sadly, marketing isn’t easy. That’s why people have degrees in it. Now, I’m not saying you have to get a college degree in marketing or even take a class, but you should have some idea how marketing works.

Yes, there is the basic, get people to buy stuff concept, but marketing goes deeper than that. When we market our stories, other factors come into play. For example, book covers, character designs, social networking – you get it.

To do a breakdown, here is the list of skills I feel writers should learn (if they want to):

Drawing – You may think this isn’t important, but being able to draw basic characters can save you money. I know drawing isn’t easy, but if you have an interest in it or have some semi-talent already, expand on that. Buy some basic how-to-draw books, take a class, or watch videos on YouTube. Many writers spend hundreds of dollars getting artwork of their characters done (I should know > <). If you can do it yourself, you can potentially save time and money. And believe me, I know a good character drawing isn’t easy to come by, but if you can expand on another talent you have, why not?

Graphic Design – To me, this skill is amazing for a writer to have. Want to know why? Because you can make your own book covers! Sure, they may not be professional quality, but when you are first starting out, having a basic cover design is essential to getting readers. Let’s face it, most, if not all story sharing sites require book covers now. Finding someone to make your cover can be expensive and overwhelming. However, thanks to the internet, you can download programs like Gimp for free and watch tutorials online. While Adobe Photoshop isn’t free, you can find free articles and videos on how to use it. The covers for my stories were made by a self-taught 22-year-old and a self-taught 24-year-old. Both of them just downloaded the programs one day and taught themselves. It may seem hard, but it’s not impossible. You can also use Graphic Design software to make quote teasers and added designs. Here are some visuals I’ve made for Clash of Tides:

(I didn’t do the artwork, but I manipulated the images using Gimp. The backgrounds are stock photos. I also stayed with my underwater theme. After all, it is a story about mermaids and mermen.)

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(This is my wallpaper…don’t judge…)

 

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If you are wondering, yes, I plan to get new Clash of Tides artwork done soon. ^__^

Marketing – Last, but not least, marketing. All writers, self-published or traditional, should know about marketing. I’ve heard writers who traditionally publish still have to do their own marketing. I don’t want to get too into this topic because I’ve touched on it before. But seriously, at least pickup Marketing For Dummies.

Editing –Β Good writers should know how to edit their own work. Of course, you should still get a professional editor, but the more editing you can do on your own, the less you have to spend on a professional. A handy book I’m reading right now is called, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How To Edit Yourself Into Print by Dave King and Renni Browne. Check it out!

Remember, more knowledge can only help you, not hurt you =) Also, most readers LOVE visuals, as it helps bring them into the story. So, yes, visuals are key when marketing our work.

What other skills do you think writers should learn?

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21 thoughts on “Useful Skills Writers Should Learn

  1. Two valuable lessons I learned is grammarly (the free version), which will pick up on more grammar and spelling issues than most writing software. Second is listening to the book. It sounds weird, but the eye often fills in some gaps and you might not realize you’re missing a word or spelled something wrong. Listening to it will help you get the punctuation correct, so it flows the way you want, and you’ll hear anything wonky in the writing. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  2. For me, Drawing is something I have given up all hope of(the best I can manage to this day are small figures which tend to be a little on the unrealistic side). As for graphic design, I do want to learn more but just haven’t had the time, I did manage to create a cover for myself, which is mostly just a picture with minimal editing, but to me, it’s pretty good and an improvement. I do think that writers need some skill in such things, maybe also add in video editing skills, I guess for book trailers to be made by a self-published author, I do think that it will be necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point! I thought about including video editing, but I didn’t want to overwhelm some people. As long as you like your cover, that’s the most important thing. =)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Drawing can be a double-edged sword… Personally, capturing the character or setting in a drawing is really frustrating! I think self-criticism is even worse when it comes to drawing because we are inherently picky and nothing ever comes out quite like I want it to. Or maybe that’s just me. Having some basic drawing skills is definitely a plus, but I don’t necessarily think it’s imperative.

    I think the key is to find the one thing and do it well (yes, I’m one of those “multitasking is detrimental” people). Mastering one step at a time does better for me in the long run rather than trying to learn everything all at once. But eh, that’s just me. Writing and editing are essential, and the rest I leave with assistance. Marketing seems to be the toughest endeavor though!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was reading along, and then you came to the book “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” and I thought that sounds really familiar, but I don’t think I’ve read it yet. I look over at my bookshelf, and there it is. Haha Still on my books to read list. Of the editing books I’ve read so far, my favorite is “Don’t Sabotage Your Submission: Insider Information from a Career Manuscript Editor to Save Your Manuscript from Turning Up D.O.A.” by Chris Roerden. It has specific advice about common problems in manuscripts, and how to fix them. I recently picked up another book called “Troubleshooting Your Novel:Essential Techniques for Identifying and Solving Manuscript Problems” by Steven James. It appears to have the same format as the other book with easy and specific suggestions on how to identify problems in your manuscript and how to fix them.
    What I’m really interested in is an editing book like these, but specifically for the horror genre. Each genre has their own set of rules and guidelines, so I think that will assist in elevating my manuscript. I’m still in the early editing stages of my novel though, so books like these are quite helpful. Enjoyed your post, Aka!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I haven’t heard of those editing books, but I’ll check them out =) That’s so true! Each genre really does have its own set of rules and guidelines. I’m not sure about a horror editing book guide. However, if I see one, I’ll let you know.

      Thanks! I’m so happy you enjoyed it :3

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great article! I feel I have a lot of weak points here, but the one I am really trying to focus on is editing because I’m so bad at it, lol. I’ll have to look into some of the books listed here and in the comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on La Petit Muse and commented:
    This is an informative post. I can do some basic drawing, nothing major and my friend is a Graphic Designer, so I’ll be learning some tricks of the trade soon although I can hold my own when it comes to making book covers.

    Liked by 1 person

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