Part of being a writer comes from raw talent, but there are many elements of writing that can be learned and honed over time to improve your skills. Explore the list below for ways to take your writing skills to a new level.
Read, read, and read some more
Stephen King once said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Reading is crucial to learning new ways of using language, it is imperative for researching the topics you plan to write about. Finally, it is the single most useful tool for getting your mind rolling with plans and ideas, and learning what writing you appreciate and find to be effective.
Write every day
The second part of King’s quote was to write a lot. This may seem obvious, but some writers don’t take it as seriously as they should. Just as a pro tennis player needs to practice several hours a week – putting hours in on the court daily, especially leading up to a big match, a writer must practice and train their brain for the stories they wish to share. It doesn’t matter what you write, how you write, or the quality of the product, just get something down.
Always have an outline
It is way easier to get out a story if you have an idea of what you’re supposed to be doing. An outline can be a total brain dump of what you want to include in each chapter or section of the book. When you go in and actually write the thing, you can include all the extra information and detail. Before then, the outline will help keep you on track and make it easier to organize your story.
Get your spelling and grammar sorted out
Although books go through a ton of editing and revisions, if you’re starting from bad grammar and spelling, it can be very difficult or even impossible to fix. It can also be a lot more time consuming and costly. To be a good writer, you have to have these essentials down pat before you can start trying to share your stories with the world.
Attend workshops, conferences, and other events
Writing is a never-ending learning process. Workshops, conferences, peer review groups, readings, and other events that revolve around writing can be incredibly helpful for improving your skills. These events bring writers together, so they can share with their peers what works and what doesn’t. Writing does not exist in a box of logic or knowledge, it is an ever-evolving, malleable skill that can be shared, adjusted, and played with. Events like this open your mind to new methods and ways of thinking.
Ask yourself this one question
Before you sit down to write, you should ask yourself: why am I writing? Above all, this will help you to clarify in your own mind what your purpose is. What message are you trying to share? What goal are you trying to accomplish? When your writing has a clear focus, you’ll find it will improve by leaps and bounds.
Need some help?
Writing alone can be a challenge, but writing with a writing coach can be invigorating. Get a little support and encouragement from one of our writing coaches, and finish your book.