How to become a better writer is one of the things some aspiring and even actual authors want.
Below are 10 ways to make it happen
I cannot get over anyone who doesn’t read especially when they can. And writers who have the nerve to say, “Ooooh, I don’t read”, yet hope to be published someday.
Seriously, what’s wrong with you? You think you know so much, you don’t need to read? Lol.
That means write. Write in your journal. Write a story. Blog. Submit something to a publication for free or not. Just write. You become better at something by practising.
And how are you going to know if you’re a better writer today than you were last year if you don’t have anything with which to gauge your progress?
There’s no shame in taking a writing class; not everyone has the same kind and level of talent. And even those who have a lot of it may find they need training on techniques.
Another thing I find surprising is that some people who want to be writers, won’t outline their thoughts.
And they won’t learn how to. They actually believe it hinders them from being authentic writers. But if you’re unable to write anyway, how can an outline keep you from being an authentic writer?
Another thing you need to learn to do if you’re to become a better writer is research. If you don’t research – no matter how much you think you know about a subject – it’ll show. And readers and critics will be brutal.
4) Practise writing some more
This should go without saying.
5) Stop procrastinating
If you procrastinate, you don’t write. And if you don’t write, you don’t become a better writer. Simple as that.
6) Stay focused and consistent
Develop and stick to a writing routine. It doesn’t matter whether it’s one, two or five hours a day, focus and consistency will make you a better writer.
7) Watch people and take note of your surroundings
I find this is one of the best ways to do research. I often go to places where I’m sure I won’t be recognised, just to observe.
Especially when working on a storyline and I want authentic material.
I have even ‘lived’ in places that are not part of my normal.
You don’t need to go that far, but people are creatures of habit. It would surprise you to see how unrestrained we are when we’ve no reason to think that we’re being observed.
Open your eyes and notice things and people. How they really feel about something, what they believe will play out in their actions – no matter what they say.
There was a time I’d text people questions that sounded really personal.
So, something like, “What if your brother’s fiancee lost her womb in a botched abortion many years ago and you know about it because you took her to the clinic? But this was way before she met your brother, and she hasn’t told him she has no womb?”
I got horrified, indignant “I will tell” responses from ladies whom I know have no brothers. There’s a way people behave when something touches them personally; for the most part, it tends to be different from what they advise a stranger to accept or endure.
And that’s what you’re looking for: authentic reactions you inflict on your characters that in turn, make your readers feel something – shock, outrage, called out, whatever.
Because they recognise themselves in the characters even in the privacy of wherever they’re reading your story.
Your ability to do that even from a distance is part of what proves you’ve become a better writer.
8) Write about what you care about
I cannot stress this enough.
If it’s something you don’t care about, why bother? It doesn’t prove that you’re versatile; someone will pick up on the fact that you don’t care.
Plus you’re not done when you finish writing. Someone might see it and is that piece of writing what you really want to be known for?
9) Market yourself but don’t be too fussed about branding yet
I hear a lot of people who are still at the start of or haven’t even begun their writing careers yet, talk about branding. And I feel like that’s a huge mistake for two reasons.
It’s also why I laugh at some so-called rebranding drives; if the core is some type of way, then what’s the point of trying to convince people otherwise by changing the outside?
One, what you care about and do consistently will become what you are known for – even if there’s no conscious effort to brand yourself that way.
Two, when you’re just starting out, trying to brand yourself with external markers can close doors that should be open cos you put yourself in a box. I’m not saying “Say Yes” to everything – I’ve said No more times than I’ve said Yes.
But even when you think you’re prepared, you don’t know what life has for you. Like there are some opportunities that I didn’t anticipate or think were an option. And they turned out to be really good for me.
Yet, they would probably never have come my way if I’d specialised too quickly and too early.
Because that’s what many end up doing when they brand without marketing: specialising too early, too quickly. If you’re just starting out, focus on marketing yourself and your writing.
10) Eat, stay hydrated, sleep and live
When you are consumed with writing a book, you might forget to do certain things. But ironically, one way to become a better writer is to recognise it’s not that deep.
Yes, writing is a serious career.
However, nobody but you cares about your book. People buy your book because of what they think it can do for them. The value that the contents adds to them – whether it’s in the pleasure it gives or pain it helps them avoid.
That’s what they’re really paying for. So, why risk your physical and mental health to become a better writer?
Have you downloaded your novel outline cheat sheet, ordered your “Banish to Finish” guide, and registered for the “Become A Better Writer” email course? They’re all free!