Whenever I’m asked the question, how do I become a better writer, the first thought that drops on my heart is that, building capacity as a writer is a journey not a destination. This means that when I make moves to get better this year and considerate growth takes place, I must remain a student, always seeking for ways to write more proficiently.
Whether you are a newbie or an established writer, get it settled in your heart that the goal is to keep learning, to horn your craft and to measure considerate growth. If you do this, five years from now, you should be able measure improvement
Let get right to the question. How can you become a better writing? What are some tips to grow your writing career?
1. Keep writing.
There is the law of compound effect. The daily, simple, small steps you take to create a writing routine will pay off in the long run. Take out your pen and write. If you are using a laptop, punch those keyboards and get words out. Have a schedule for writing on a daily basis and stick to it. It may be for thirty minutes, one hour. The point is, write daily.
If you are a newbie, start with topics you are comfortable with. You can write from personal experiences or draw stories from your surroundings. What’s important is that you are putting down those words. In my early days as a writer, I published stories in the first person. It made writing personal and from there I tried other forms of writing styles.
Every day, it’s either you are creating fresh articles, editing a previously written piece or developing synopsis or content ideas. If there is no commitment, you can’t see growth. Your subconscious should recognize you as a writer such that when you don’t write in a day, your body feels like something is missing. Show up whether or not you feel like writing.
2. Build deliberate consistency.
Did you notice that I didn’t just say consistency? I have discovered that a person can write consistency for five years and not be proficient. Your commitment to writing may result in a quick flow of your thoughts but the usage of words would remain poor.
If you want to write well, you can’t avoid deliberate consistency. What exactly does deliberate consistency mean?
Read quality books while you practice writing consistently. Read like a writer, with your eyes ruminating over phrases or sentences that holds your attention. Pick specific books you want to read in a month and skim through many others. Reading must be your culture. I was shocked when someone told me he does not like to read and yet he was a writer. When I flipped through the book he wrote, it was evident from the poor usage of words. Reading is our tool.
3. Be courageous to share your work. Get your writing in front of people.
Fear will keep you from reaching your writing dream. It almost did for me at some point but I’m glad I was able to push the fear of people’s opinion and share my thoughts on different platforms. Be opened to honest criticism and encourage feed backs. Don’t be deterred by the naysayers.
4. Train yourself to self-edit.
Recently, a friend who is a professional editor complained about how some authors who call themselves writers dump pages of unedited work on editors and expect magic to happen. You can’t call yourself a writer and think after your first draft, that is it. Every first draft is usually a mess. Successful writers know that their work is not complete until they have reviewed their work over and over.
Editing helps you to write better because at that level, you’ll be interacting with words. While writing your first draft, don’t be tempted to edit but when you are done, don’t immediately start to look for an editor.
Learn to self-edit. Cut down passive words, get out superfluous words and rewrite if you need to, Again, you won’t be able to notice all of these if you don’t read voraciously.
5. Master the art of storytelling.
Storytelling may be tough for a new writer but it can be mastered. By mastering the art of storytelling, you will learn how to chronologically tell stories such that they do not drag or confuse your reader. This is a huge skill. You can master storytelling by reading good fiction. Observe how the writer moved from one point to another quickly and with aptness.
6. Stay with the process.
Be passionate about quality than just scribbling words to make money. Excellence will take you far. You may do a shoddy work and earn a few hundred box now but remember your work can outlive you. Give time to producing quality work this year. Don’t settle for less.
6. Read everyday.
The way to inculcate reading into your life is by creating daily reading schedules. Commit to reading at least a chapter daily. Read books that center around the areas you are seeking improvement in your life. Read books around the genre you write.
7. Don’t wait to feel inspired to write.
There will be times when you don’t feel inspired to write but you have to write anyway. If you build your career on writing only when you feel inspired, you will not see the growth you desire. The way to constantly feel inspired to write is by having days of regular creative process and thinking retreats, carving out times in the week where you just research on topics and draw knowledge from what others have written.
Are you a writer? How have you been able to improve your writing skills?
I’ll end with this big secret that has helped my writing career so far. How much of quality information you digest from books and educative videos plays a major role in your progress as a writer.