- Books, Literature, and Writing
In Search Of Writing Excellence
Read No Further
If you are only interested in increasing your online views, then do not read any further. This article is definitely not for you.
If you are only interested in churning out one bland article after another, then do not read any further. This article is also not for you.
If, however, you seek excellence; if you desire to reach your potential as a writer; if you believe that writing is a craft and should be treated as such then please, continue reading.
This one is for you, and all like you, who are fed by the passion to become the best writer you can possibly be.
As a teacher, I refused to accept half-assed efforts from my students. Mankind has been given incredible gifts, gifts that make it possible to soar to lofty levels. Why, then, would I give affirmation to efforts more suitable to a lower-level being crawling through primordial mud?
I feel the same way about writing. The writers who I follow are people who seek excellence. They may have improvements to make, but they are more than willing to undertake those improvements because to do less means they expect less of themselves, and I don’t dance with people who have low expectations.
So, what kind of writer are you?
How can anyone write without this book?
How Do You Achieve Excellence?
Quite simply through hard work!
I have seen writers who continually write recipes the same, exact way each and every time. This is my recipe for dumplings. I hope you enjoy it. This is my recipe for roast pork. I hope you enjoy it. I have to tell you, I could be starving and I wouldn’t enjoy those recipes because their mind-numbing writing style has completely killed my appetite.
But Bill, I’ll never be an excellent writer! Maybe not, voice in the wilderness, but you can be a better one, and quite frankly I can’t understand any writer who does not want to improve their writing skills.
Quite simply through hard work!
It’s a matter of perspective now isn’t it? I may never reach the excellence of Shakespeare or Blake or even Thoreau, but I can and will reach a new level of excellence based on my previous abilities. That is my goal as a writer, to be the best writer named Bill Holland.
Is your goal a similar one? If so then let’s get started….today….right now. Sit down at your computer and do the little things that will propel you to personal stardom as a writer.
And what are those little things? Well let’s take a brief and hectic look at some of the things you can be doing to improve each and every day of your writing journey.
OPEN UP THAT DICTIONARY AND THESAURUS AND SOAR
So many words to choose from; it boggles the mind that so many mediocre writers never use a dictionary or thesaurus as a writing aid. You can spot those writers almost immediately. They will continue to use the same word three, four or five times in an article. Word variation is a mystery to them, but it is only a mystery because they have not used the key to open doors that will forever remain shut and locked to them.
IF IT QUACKS LIKE A DUCK
Similes and metaphors are some of the greatest tools we have as writers, but how many articles do you read in a day that uses these tools? Not many I would guess, and I would guess that because I read quite a few online articles daily and I might see one or two similes if I’m lucky.
If you want your readers to relate to the message you are delivering, then I strongly suggest you learn to write with similes and metaphors.
Do you have the tools?
So young but she speaks truths here
Work on pace; work on rhythm; work on sentence structure and work on word sounds. They all are tools that affect the speed of your article; they are all tools that affect the “sound” of your article; they are all tools that will make you better as a writer.
Changing gears refers to a willingness to try new styles of writing and to try new genres. Try new methods of delivering the same message. Try new…try new…try new….my goodness gracious, try something new!!!!!!!!!
DO YOU EVEN HAVE A VOICE?
Well of course you do; all writers have a writing voice. Perhaps a better question, one that should concern you greatly as a writer, is whether your writing voice is welcoming and attention-grabbing, or is it like listening to a four-speaker stereo system that is missing three of the speakers?
In case you weren’t paying attention, that was a simile. J
THE QUEST FOR UNIQUE
This just might be my number one complaint about so many writers. Let us return to the example I gave earlier about the recipe-writer who wants to share a recipe for dumplings. Go do a Google search right now for dumpling recipes and tell me what you find. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to return.
Now, I just did my own search and I found 2.5 million dumpling recipes online. Go ahead, write your recipe and dump it online and then settle down and wait for someone to find it. Get comfortable because you are in for a long, long, long wait.
What makes your dumpling recipe unique? If you can answer that then you need to market it based on that unique quality; otherwise, how do you expect to ever be seen?
Now I have written about this to infinity and beyond and yet daily I see writers doing the same old thing the same old way and my goodness gracious I just want to upchuck.
Become unique or embrace mundane. Your choice!
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Do you try to improve your writing every single day?
Now It’s Time for a Quiz
Honestly, how many of you try to improve your writing daily? This is just a guess based on my eighteen years of teaching, but I think it might be fairly accurate: I would be blown away if more than 25% of you actually try to improve your writing in a specific way every time you sit down to write. By that I mean that when you start a new article you actually say to yourself that you are going to try and include more metaphors that day, or you are going to experiment with your voice or rhythm that day.
Now I say that with some certainty because that is just human nature. We get distracted and we get in a hurry, and we tend to skip over the little stuff that might improve our writing. We just want to get the article done, dammit; that learning and experimenting stuff can wait for another day.
And another day….and another day…..
How about now?
Here is what I want: I want you all to succeed. I love reading success stories online. I love it when one of my writing friends gets published and is paid for their work. I love it when excitement spreads across the internet as another writer reaches the Promised Land. I have experienced it and it is a high unlike any I have ever known, and believe me I know a thing or two about getting high.
That is what I want for all of you. I want you to experience success, no matter how you define success in writing, and that is why I keep harping on improving your writing.
If I’m becoming a bit annoying then just toss this article in the recycle bin like so much cardboard and shattered glass (oops, another simile).
Have you ever noticed that the word “simile” looks a lot like “smile”?
That’s what I’m sending you right now….a smile from one writer to another.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”