Anyone who writes, as a hobby or professionally, dreams of getting better at it progressively. That is true for every form of art or expression, but especially so for writing because it offers the quickest and least expensive way to express ourselves, regardless of intention or prospect.
If you’re someone who wants to write, but you just can’t quite find the courage to, do it. Start writing right now. Write anything – one paragraph of that love story that’s been swirling around in your head ever since you read ‘Pride & Prejudice’ as a thirteen-year-old or an angry response to a bewilderingly insensitive article you read in the papers this morning. Write anything you want to write. Take the leap and keep pushing yourself forward and before you know it, it will be the most ordinary, easy thing you do.
If your writing is intended for people other than yourself, it is important to keep in mind the needs of the reader. This does not mean sticking to any one topic. It is important to maintain a certain standard or quality of writing so that it will keep the readers’ attention on the piece that you put out, be it fiction, non-fiction, a blog or a newsletter.
Improving takes time but here are five tips to help you start the process:
Never Back Down (From Trying)
Most novice writers mistakenly assume well-established writers have been “born” talented. This is harmful because it strips those veteran writers of their effort and discredits the time they diligently spent on getting better. No one is born with a genetic design constructed specifically to make them wonderful writers. It takes years of practice and education (formal or otherwise) to master any art, and that includes writing.
If you feel inadequately talented, know that most are not born being great at writing. It takes years of hard work and perseverance. Talent is better acquired than inherited. Grab a pen and a paper and write. Just do it. Once you’ve taken that first step, keep writing. This takes us to our next tip, which is,
Practise Makes Perfect
Similar to literally everything else in our lives, the more we write, the better we get at it. Perfection is probably out of reach for everyone, but it is the road you traverse trying to get to it is what pays. Write a little (or a lot) every single day.
Keep in mind that composing letters, emails, comments and text messages do not count as writing. Pick a direction and walk ahead. Try to make note of every bump in the road and work out the knots. Educating yourself on how to write is helpful, but the task of writing itself is of prime importance.
The Devil is (Indeed) In the Details
If you want what you’re writing to convey a message or relay a story, pay careful attention to the details. Upon completion, go over the entire piece with a fine comb and clear out the gnarls of too much or too little information. Use different tools in the English language to express yourselves. The Show, Don’t Tell advice is incredibly useful for writing.
Don’t tell your readers what they should or should not want; tell them what you want and by extension what you, as the writer, want your readers to want. Language is such that if used carefully, can be used to forge connections or destroy them. Recognize the power that you have as the writer and make the details work for you.
KISS (Keep it Short and Simple)
Always cut the clutter. It destroys the beauty of reading. Using long, complicated words to showcase your extensive vocabulary is utterly wasteful. One of the most important uses of expanding one’s vocabulary is to be able to use words smartly and economically. It’s not enough to know big words; gaining understanding of how to use a large range of words is of the essence when writing.
The great visionary George Orwell said, “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.” It is important to keep the attention of the readers. Eliminating unnecessary words and phrases to keep the text simple ensures the possibility of rapidly moving through it while reading. Use a simple style and keep it short.
Use the Internet to Your Advantage
Writing used to be significantly harder without the internet. For one thing, research meant poring over hundreds of books to unearth bits and pieces of information on any given topic. Search engines and web browsers have revolutionized research and analysis and democratized the entire process. Take full advantage of this.
If you are someone who has problems keeping your attention on one thing for an extended period of time, or need someone to discipline, the internet is there to help. Writing tools like https://writer.bighugelabs.com/ are there to help create a conducive environment for writers to feel comfortable in.
It is imperative for a writer to utilize this abundance of resources made available in this age of digitized progress. There’s no pride in being old-fashioned when it comes to art.