It’s one thing to say you’re a writer. It’s another to take your craft seriously enough to constantly work to improve your writing skills.
Here are 20 ways to improve your writing and become the best writer you can be.
Compose with passion. I can’t imagine writing without passion. Writing is an art, an expression of thoughts and feelings and a reflection of life. Words allow us to alter or clarify reality so get excited about writing. Otherwise, it’s just scribbling.
Write about what you know. Everyone is an expert on something, whether it’s parenting or movies, running or playing the drums. Let the knowledge that comes with your life experiences fuel your next writing project.
Eliminate unnecessary words. Good writers are minimalists. They use just the right combination of words to make their point. If you choose your words properly, your work won’t be weighed down with unnecessary “fluff.”
Simple is always better. Don’t let the main points of your piece get lost in the language. Write what needs to be written in a simple, straightforward manner.
Paint a picture. As a writer, you use your words to paint a picture. They construct a scene, describe someone or something, create a feeling or emotion or share a part of yourself. If your reader can’t envision these things you haven’t done your job.
Don’t’ take criticism to heart. Instead, listen and learn from it. Doing so will make your writing better.
Be unique. There’s only one you so be yourself and develop your own style.
Find your own niche. Resist following the crowd and claim your own niche. In the words of Captain Kirk, “…boldly go where no man has gone before.”
Never edit your first draft. Look at your first draft as a test drive. It’s more important to get your ideas down on paper and then go back and rework the material.
Believe in yourself. The only one who needs to believe in you is you. You’re the one who sits in front of a screen hour after hour, day after day, week after week writing until you can’t type another word. You’re the one who deals with the rejections and self-doubt. If you don’t believe in yourself then what’s the point? You might as well put your pen away.
Read your work out loud. Read it like you have an audience. You’ll be amazed at the errors you’ll catch just by reading your words aloud. It’s also helpful to have someone else read your work. If they stumble over words, read hesitantly or lose their place, you might have to make some changes.
Write every day. Writing is a craft that needs to be worked on constantly. The only way to get better is to make time to write every day.
Carry a notebook and camera. Never leave home without a notebook so you can write down your thoughts, ideas and feelings—anything that might help your writing. In today’s digital world, most of us also are equipped with a camera. Both are essential tools of the trade.
Don’t overload on adjectives or adverbs. Both have been deemed the “crutch” of an inexperienced writer, who thinks these words make their prose more dramatic and meaningful. Truth is, they add little to what is already on the page. Most of the time these words aren’t important and generate lazy writing.
Learn from the pros. Famous writers are famous for a reason: they’re good. You can learn a lot about sentence structure, word choice and story/character development by reading their works.
Be a good reader. Individuals become good writers because they’re good readers. The more you read the more you learn and the better your writing becomes.
Grammar rules. Regardless of the country or the language, grammar is the foundation for all communication. The better your grammar, the clearer your message and the more likely that message’s intent and meaning will be understood.
Stop making excuses. You don’t have enough time. You don’t know what to write about. You can’t come up with a good ending. Just start writing. That’s what writers do.
Develop discipline. Life has a way of getting in the way of writing. That’s why it’s important to have a set schedule for when and where you’re going to write—every day. Sticking to that schedule is equally important, despite the distractions that want to derail you.
Block out negative thoughts. Positive in/positive out should be every writer’s credo. Armed with that outlook, you can’t help but succeed.
In the end, the best way to become a better writer is to sit yourself down and write…write…write.