Some writing tips (mainly fiction):

• When writing a scene set in a [forest], it helps to listen to audio recordings of [forest] sounds (these can easily be found on YouTube). This will help to transport you into the scene, making you feel as if you’re really there, at which point you can begin to describe what you’re hearing. I find that music and other forms of auditory stimulation provide a kickstart for the imagination.

• A piece of advice I borrowed from J.R.R. Tolkien himself: when you cannot express something in a narrative format, write it in the form of a poem. It will force you to be more concise and creative in your use of language. If you’re satisfied with the results, you can simply leave it as a poem (which you then incorporate into a passage), or you can expand upon it (using the poem as a foundation or guideline). This can be a useful tool when, for example, you are trying to recount historical events in a way that is engaging (eg. An epic poem about a battle of old instead of a dry and endless paragraph.) This method also works well for introducing prophecies.

• This one isn’t as much of a tip as it is a reminder: write about the things that personally interest you, the things you’re passionate about. If you love dragons then write about dragons. Don’t feel inclined to write about something simply because you feel like you should, because you feel it’s more ‘relevant’. Once you compromise your own craft and conform to convention, that’s when all your original ideas, all your artistry goes down the drain. It will put a stopper in your mind, restricting the flow of all creative juices. It will make everything you write seem forced, leaving you feeling drained as a result. Besides … I refuse to believe that any of the world’s most influential authors sat down and thought to themselves: ‘what do people want me to write?’ All in all, if something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.

• At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you’re satisfied with your own writing. If others like it … well, then that’s just a useful by-product.