- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing
4 Easy Ways to Become a Better Writer
Don't let the title fool you. This isn't a crash course in how to become a best-selling author over night. It's not a list of guidelines to writing the perfect novel. And it's certainly not a cheat-sheet that will speed up your road to becoming a best-seller. Becoming a good writer isn't easy. Becoming good at anything is hard, harder than one might think. And I won't call myself a good writer, that would be extremely arrogant of me. What I am though is experienced. And my experience has helped me get to where I am today. Certain things that I have done have improved my writing and will continue to do so for the rest of my days because we never truly stop learning.
There is no recipe to writing the perfect book and there is no easy way of getting good at writing. But knowing what it is you do that helps you develop your writing will make it a little bit easier.
So without further ado, here's a list:
Write Every Day
The person who said that practice makes perfect wasn't wrong. Of course achieving perfect demands a lot of practice and you probably won't notice any changes overnight but they will come. If you stick with a craft you will in time come to master it and writing is no exception. It doesn't matter how much you write and it's not the end of the world if you are forced to skip writing for a couple of days due to a busy schedule but try to squeeze in a little writing time as often as possible to stay sharp. It doesn't matter if you only write one page or twenty or even just one paragraph. Any progress is still progress.
Read a Lot
If you want to be a writer you must first become a reader. Reading books will not only improve your vocabulary but it will also give you a better understanding of the craft of writing. A good book is a demonstration of how it should be done. It will also give you another perspective on writing. When writing you have to think like two different kinds of people. You have to think like a writer but also a reader. Looking at your writing through the eyes of a reader will help you determine how other readers would see it. If what you've written so far doesn't please your inner reader then fix it until it does. Because the finished product is for the reader and not just for you if you have any hopes of selling it. A huge bonus is that reading is entertaining as well.
Write Fan Fiction
Okay, maybe you're not into that. Maybe you have never read or written any fan fiction in your life and you don't want to either. Then skip this step and just continue to write your own stories. But fan fiction is good practice and there's a bigger chance of getting lots of feedback for your work when it's published in a fan fiction archive. Now there are other places you can post original work but your story has a bigger chance of being read if it's a fan fiction because you're writing about something, which the reader already knows and if they love the characters you're writing about they are going to want to read your story. And when they do they'll leave a review and you'll know whether or not they liked your writing. Fan fiction is a good way to practice your writing. You already have a fictional world with its own norms and rules and you already have a set of characters with their own personalities and you have to write something new using all that material. It is a great way to develop your writing skills.
Listen to Critics
Whether it's your editor, a friend or someone else whom you've asked to read your story, or an anonymous reviewer on the internet, you need to listen to them. Even if you don't like what they're telling you, you still need to listen. Now of course there will be some whose criticism won't be helpful at all and there will be some who just don't like what you've written because of taste and not your lack of talent. But you are not always qualified to judge your own work. Or maybe you are but you still need someone who thinks differently to give you a new perspective. They might give you an idea that you haven't even thought of. The most important thing is that instead of getting upset about not being good enough take the critic's words to heart and use them to improve your writing rather than to let them discourage you.