One thing is for certain: to be an excellent writer, you can never rest on your laurels.
You need to be constantly working on your craft, practicing and improving every single day. But life isn’t a smooth cruise, is it? Finding time can be tough, and it can feel like getting those hours in the chair is an impossible task. The reality, though, is that it’s not too difficult at all – if you follow just a few simple rules and leave some room for compromise.
To help you get a handle on it, here are 10 ways you can improve as a writer and create excellent work every single day.
Read Every Day
This should go without saying, but every writer is a reader first. You should always be reading, whenever you have a spare moment. Read widely, too – stepping outside of your preferred genre whenever possible. Everything you take in is fuel for your own creativity, so ensure that you’re reading as much as possible.
Shut Out Distractions
“Many people never even start writing as they’re so distracted with other things,” says professional writer Katy Boson from Best Australian Writers. “If you’re letting yourself get distracted, then you’ll never improve as a writer.” Make time every day for writing. Turn off your phone, shut off the internet, and just write. The more time you can devote to your writing, the better.
Work With Others
Writing can feel like a lonely pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be. You can meet up with other writers online, and start improving by sharing your writing with them. There are plenty of online writing communities out there, such as Absolute Write, and sites like State Of Writing, which offer a wealth of links to resources such as writing guides as well. Sharing with others helps you obtain useful critiques of your work, and will help you to drastically improve your writing.
Don’t Let Writer’s Block Strike
Every writer has heard of the dreaded ‘writer’s block,’ but the good news is it’s probably not as terrible as you think. Sure, you’ll sometimes feel like you’ve hit a dead end and won’t know what to write about next, or where to go with a piece you’re currently writing – but there are plenty of ways to guide yourself out of the fog. For example, resources such as an online Plot Generator can help you conjure up some (potentially hilarious) ideas, and writing communities can offer suggestions and support when you’re stuck. Instead of lying back and punishing yourself for feeling stuck, reach out for help and you’re sure to find it.
Ignore Your Inner Editor
Many writers say it’s hard to write, as there’s the nagging doubt that what they’re writing isn’t good enough. That’s your ‘inner editor,’ and you need to learn to ignore them. When you sit down to write, just focus on getting as much down on paper as you possibly can. Once the piece is finished, you can then go back with your red pen and edit it into shape. Perfection doesn’t happen on the first run.
Look At Improving Your Grammar
Good grammar is the foundation of good writing. If you feel your grammar isn’t as good as it could be, now’s the time to look at improving it. You don’t have to go back to school, but you can take advantage of online resources that can help you out. Grammarly, for example, examines your writing and suggests changes you can make to improve your grammar. Use the resources out there to ensure your writing is as good as it could be.
Dissect Your Favorite Authors
Not literally! However, it’s well worth looking at why you keep going back to the same genres or authors. What is it about them that really grabs you, and keeps you reading? You can print out a piece of writing, and start marking sections that you like. What is it about the words, turns of phrase, or style that speaks to you? Start looking at how you can incorporate this into your own writing, with your own spin.
There’s nothing worse for a writer than a blank page. It’s intimidating, and you just don’t know where to start. Stop this happening to you by creating an outline for everything you write. It can be as minimalist or as detailed as you like, but create an outline that shows you what should happen at every step of your story. This will help you beat the dreaded blank page and get started.
Take A Look At Your Older Work
When you feel as though you’re not improving, take a look at your older work. Many writers cringe when they do this, as they feel their older work just isn’t up to the standard they expect of themselves now. However, it’s a very good reminder that you have improved… and will continue to improve in the future.
Always Edit And Proofread
Finally, you must ensure that you’re always editing and proofreading your work. No writer will get it totally right on their first try, so check your work once you’ve written it. For fiction, AutoCrit will help you edit to the highest standard, and you can check out some top tips for proofreading right here. Getting outside help is also essential once you enter the editing and proofreading arena – fresh eyes are often a blessing for your work.
Take these simple tips to heart, and start writing with purpose every day. You’ll see the improvement in your writing almost instantly.
Article by: Rachel Summers
Rachel works with students in many different capacities, including with Student Writing Services. Her writing is designed to help ambitious learners improve their writing and study skills, and get ahead at school.