Writing is hard. Let’s get it out there. You’ll need a decent amount of creative skill, search for new ones, learn them, and relearn them. It’s a never-ending process. There is something to be said about writers who constantly churn out great content every single day. It’s a tremendous skill, one that needs to be practiced day in and out.
What’s great about writing is it sets up everyone for success. Students need to learn the skill and most professionals need to have it under their arsenal of talents as well. The Internet is teeming with advice to make your writing better, from improving your grammar to taking classes from the greats. But how do you actually do it? Can you improve your writing in a snap?
What these articles seem to be missing is that, as much as writing can be learned, it’s also an inborn talent. Some people are born writers, some aren’t. The difference between a great writer and a good one may be the execution, and that heavily relies on where the writer is at that point in time. So here are the top things you need to do to improve your writing:
Identify the level of writing you have right now and embrace it.
The level of your writing skill can be primary, average, above average and excellent. Most people start in the average skill set. Some will advance immediately to above average as they discover writing, while others will struggle to improve on what they have. Even deteriorate it in the process.
Remember that writing is not for everybody. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re failing to get the results that you want. There is wisdom in identifying where you are, skillswise. Then, embracing it. Once you know where you are with your writing skills, you know what concessions you need to do. Use the wordcounttool.com, if you must, to improve your skills.
Read as much as you write.
Reading and writing work hand-in-hand. You can do one without the other, but you won’t be writing great content without prior knowledge. And it’s not even just about the knowledge. Reading affords you to learn about things, emotions, places and human nature. Digging deep into your own psyche is the foundation of writing, and if you can’t do it, you’re in trouble.
Read every single day. Read journals, news articles, opinion-pieces, novels, reviews, etc. Use the power of technology to your advantage to increase your reading frequency. Go to social media and follow thought-provoking article sites, so that your feed will be full of interesting materials.
Know your voice.
One of the most difficult things to do when you’re in the business of writing is following your thought process in the most organic way you can. Writers contradict themselves every time, and thus, the resulting piece can become squirrelly, unsure and insecure. If you’re not an expert writer, accessing your voice may be the single most difficult thing to do.
So how do you do it? The answer to that is: There is no one way. But the building blocks to having your own writing voice is staying true to what your brain is telling you to write. Don’t hesitate to write down controversial opinions, polarizing thoughts and/or divisive rhetoric. Don’t be afraid to be angry, to be cynical, even to be happy. There is no sadder thing than a writer who doesn’t know what he believes in.
Have a schedule.
Having a schedule means that your mind will be trained at certain times to really dig deep – think, rethink and repurpose ideas, etc. Setting up a writing schedule certainly makes the skill uncreative as we think that writers don’t necessarily follow one. But the truth of the matter is, some of history’s most prolific writers treat writing as a job.
Not just a job. But their passion as well. Murakami, Woolf, and Grisham all stick to their writing schedule. And rarely – very rarely, in fact – that they stray away from it. Note that there’s no one-size-fits-all schedule in writing. Assess yourself when you are most creative and work your way around it. It shouldn’t be too difficult to manage your life when you start to get things going.
It’s also imperative that in your writing schedule, you get breaks. The importance of getting off the chair your sitting on and wandering around, getting out and living your life can’t be overstated. Spend at least three hours writing per day, and you should be golden. Increase your productivity as you go for more ambitious projects.
Make the most out of your experiences.
You can’t write what you know. That much is the truth. Writers do have plenty of imagination, but there’s something to be said about a writer that has experience. And that experience translating itself into his literature. Always remember that wisdom is gained from living a life, not imagining one, so as much as possible, live as you write.
Incorporate your experiences and learnings in your writing and it will improve exponentially. There is power in someone’s truth – may it be universal or specific. Add your frustrations to certain characters to flesh them out, make your antagonist brim with your anger, and let your story pulsate.
Love the game.
No successful writer is in their position today by not networking enough for their work to be seen. No matter how good your writing is, it’s going to be unimportant if it’s not seen and heard. There’s a game in the writing industry, and writers play the game all the time. You write, get yourself a publisher and create your own little world of fans.
Networking may not be for all writers, but it’s expected that when you have great literature in your hand, made by you, people will flock to it. They’ll flock to you. And there will be speeches, meetings, revisions, comments and all of that. Take it in, use what’s usable, but not let it mar the writing that you’re doing.
As this article mentioned a while ago, writing isn’t for everybody. But once or twice in our lives, we will need to be the best writer we possibly can. And looking for advice on how to do it shouldn’t be a shameful thing to do.