Most people can write, but how many can write well. The same goes for verbal storytelling, some people can tell a story to put you to sleep while others can tell one that keeps you at the edge of your seat. If you are reading this article, you are interested in learning how to grow as a writer and the answer you are seeking is both simple and complicated.
Just like anything else, to grow as a writer, you have to practice. A LOT! It is important to develop a routine around not only creating but improving your skills. Every day no matter what, you need to read and write something. What that something is, well that is totally up to you and your journey.
That’s right, it is more important than you can imagine! Read as much as possible if you want to become a better writer. You should read everything you can. Signs, books, news, magazines, things you don’t like, things you never knew existed. I would argue that it might almost be more important to read more than you write to become a good writer.
My reasoning is simple and can be adapted to any skill or task. If you want to write well, you need to take in good and bad writing.
If you were going to bake a cake, you could just guess what goes in it and how to do it, it might turn out well, or it might be a disaster. But if you read through a few different recipes, watch a couple videos, maybe get a lesson from a friend or a professional, you will have a much better chance at making a delicious cake.
The same goes for becoming a better writer! If you read as many types of work as you can, learn new vocabulary, writing techniques, and practice often, you will write a better story than someone who just sat down with a pen.
While reading, be attentive to what the author is trying to accomplish, what methods they use, and was it effective. I think that it is also important to balance your reading with authors that are unknown, “bad writers”, and “good writers”.
Obviously you can not grow as a writer if you never write. You need to develop a daily routine that allows you to write every day, no matter what. What you do in that time is up to you, but the more variation the better. Don’t just try to write a story. Find various writing prompts and use them to “work out your writing muscles”. Writing in different styles or trying different ways to organize your writing are two ways to become a strong writer quickly.
I think it is important to constantly stay out of your comfort zone. By this I mean if you think that you just want to write novels, spend time learning how to write better ad copy, articles, short stories, etc. Even if you don’t see a value to this in your everyday life, it will allow you to better write and understand characters.
Finally, remember that nobody wrote like Shakespear on their first draft. It is a long journey to be able to craft words in a way that not only makes sense, but that makes people want to keep reading.
Revision is another key to being able to grow as a writer. You should revise and edit as often as possible I think. I should clarify. I think your work should be edited and revised as often as possible. Too many people think that self-publishing means that they can do it all on their own.
Editors charge a bit of money because they realize the value of what they offer. If you can not afford to have your work looked at by an editor for feedback and corrections, develop a team of qualified beta readers.
The more eyes and perspectives that reach your work, the better it will become. Do not shy away from feedback in fear that your ego will be crushed. Instead remember that the reason you write is for it to be seen and that you should always give notice to what readers think.
Just like an athlete, a writer needs to rest and replenish too! If you spend all day, every day in a room writing, you will find writer’s block pretty quickly. Many writer’s overlook or undervalue their time not writing. I think the title kind of defines you if you are a writer, you feel you should write all the time.
When I say it is important to rest, I mean to manage your nutrition, exercise, sleep, and new experiences.
If you are well-rested, you can focus. When you eat a healthy diet, your mind and body work to their maximum abilities. Finally, if you spend time taking in new experiences ( doing, listening, watching, reading) you are able to then repurpose those memories into stories for books or character details.
Another word for repeat would be consistency. The key to so many things, growing as a writer included, is consistency. Getting up day in and day out and putting in the work. That workload will be a little different for all of you, but you have to be serious and work daily towards your goals.
If you get into a routine and it isn’t working, switch up a few things and keep fine-tuning it until you are where you want to be.