Wanting to sharpen those writing skills? Or better yet, embarking on a new career or hobby? Writing is all about dedication, patience and a true love for words. It’s about conveying ideas and sharing information, all at your own hands. And not only is it empowering, but research shows it diminishes stress and activates your brain. But to be sure, this is no field for the uninvested. It can be frustrating, time consuming, taxing work, yet it’s all worth it in the end for that final written masterpiece. If just one person read your writing and became inspired, now
that’s what I’d call a success. So while it sure isn’t easy, there are some strategies to make you a better, and more experienced, writer.
- Write down ideas.
Inspiration comes in all kinds of places, be it at the grocery store, a lyric from a song, a certain smell, etc. You never know what stimuli will inspire or add to your writing. It is best to jot down ideas as they arise, so as not to forget. Keep a notebook on yourself or use your phone, whatever you need to catch a promising idea.
- Plan, then write.
Without question, choosing a topic of writing can be a daunting task. Where does one even begin? I suggest spending some time away from your writing table to plan. Think about what captivates you, what you’d like to know more about or what story would others find inspiring. This ties into the strategy above. Get out and brainstorm.
- Read, read, read.
The best writers read other works, frequently. Not only for research purposes, but for inspiration and personal growth. What do you love about other writers, what do you dislike? What topics have you never thought to explore? What writing styles would you like to use more or less of? Being a well-rounded reader will only positively affect your writing.
- Write. Write a lot.
Practice your prose, your style, your voice. Exercise your vocabulary. Explore various genres and writing categories. By writing consistently and in different shapes and forms, you are strengthening and widening your skills. Writing should be practiced every day, be it a half hour or several hours. The more you write, the better you write.
- Make multiple revisions
Always take the time to revise your work for errors and inconsistencies. Take a break after your first draft and come back with fresh eyes and renewed vigour. Utilize editing tools that check for grammatical and syntactical errors. Share your work for perspective.
- Learn a word a day
- Set a writing schedule
Pick a time of day that works best for you, be it early in the morning, after dinner time; whatever works best for you. Find a time that you feel you’re the most relaxed and motivated to write and stick to this time each day, setting a writing ritual that you can consistently abide by.
- Eliminate distractions
Free yourself of distractions, such as environmental noise, chatter, dogs barking, etc. Writing is not an easy task, requiring great mental effort. It is best to find a quiet environment where creativity can thrive, uninterrupted.
- Take a writing course
As in any field, it is imperative to stay current in your skills as well as to learn new skills to strengthen your work and perspective. Taking writing courses can introduce you to new styles and techniques. It can invite constructive criticism and feedback to enhance your writing in ways you couldn’t have expected. It allows you to explore new topics, and meet like-minded people that may guide and inspire you. Personal development strengthens the writer and their writing.
Writing is certainly a rewarding career, yet not without it’s struggles. Try picking a few of these suggestions and seeing what happens! If even only one suggestion helps your writing, it would have been worth it.