There is many aspects about writing that can feel daunting and even overwhelming, but it does not have to be this way. As an author and writer myself I have found it hard to push past this constant fear that what I write may not be worth reading, or that the way it is written will be poorly constructed. However, there a ways I have found to improve my writing skills over the years and I thought I would share these with you (along with what others have said).
Practice, Practice, Practice.
I’m sure that anyone who had done any research on how to improve their writing has seen some expression of practice being a key element in the articles that they have read, and there is a reason for that. It works.
Over the years (I must have started writing back when I was 13 or so), I have seen a vast improvement in my writing style and content. Granted, some of this improvement simply comes from my experiences and age, but that is only a small portion. The remaining skills I have developed have come from the numerous short stories, poetry, and attempted novels I have written during that time as well. Even the practice of writing in a journal daily has been a huge asset.
Your practice in writing doesn’t have to be time consuming either. Many people find it good to keep a notebook on the and jot down ideas as they think of them. There have been plenty of occasions when I have a sudden realization about a character that I have been trying to refine that gets noted on a scrap of paper I could find nearby or in a notebook I try to keep on me. Others may find that blogging consistently is a great way to improve their skills.
Whatever your method of practice, be sure to do it regularly and consistently. It is often suggested to do it daily if possible.
While practicing is essential to improving your skills as a writer, I have found that reading is also equally essential. Reading authors who have done well in the genre of writing you are interested in is a great way to learn the ins and outs of that genre. A writing style that works in thriller novels may not work as well for fantasy, or for a non-fiction publication.
Read more than just the genre you want to write. Be sure to invest some time in classic literature, in blogs, in magazine articles, newspapers and even plays. The more you know about the world around you and the culture you live in the better your writing will be and the more it will appeal to the audience you seek.
This is a very nasty word for many of us, but if you want to become a better author then it is good to study what works best. While reading is a part of studying there is more to it than that. I have found that taking classes on writing or listening to podcasts that cover writing have been instrumental in improving my own writing abilities.
One of the best podcasts I have found in particular (and there are many) has been writing excuses. It is a group of a few authors who have the experience to back up their claims, including Brandon Sanderson who is known for completing the Wheel of Time series that was started by Robert Jordan.
The last thing I that I can suggest to you and have found to be important in my own journey is to never give up. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by any project of writing, but it is not an impossible task. It is important to find ways to discipline yourself to push through those moments when you don’t “feel creative” or when you are experiencing writers block. Push through those moments and come back and edit later.
I know for me if I can push past the initial ten minutes of wondering what to write my mind begins to flow with ideas that I would not have had otherwise had I not pushed through. Many times people who quit are on the edge of finding that groove, or that success in their endeavors. Don’t quit! Keep at it and keep pushing forward to your goal.
Do you think these steps are helpful in improving your own writing? What are some other ways that you have found to be helpful? What other resources have you used in this endeavor?
Let me know in the comments below.
Until next week, Grace and Peace.