So you have the gift of writing, but do you have what it takes to be a great writer? Writing is a skill that takes time, practice and dedication. You didn’t just expect them to hand you the Pulitzer Prize, did you? You need to work for it!
It is vital in this industry to always challenge yourself to be better by enhancing your writing skills. Don’t just be a writer. Be an effective writer and master your craft. Here are the main components to a great writer, and a few tips on how to be a successful writer.
Read like never before. Reading is the second best exercise for your brain after writing itself. Whether it’s reading for your favorite authors, the newspaper, or online articles, it will always help. You get familiar with different writing styles, improve your vocabulary skills, and increase your overall knowledge.
If you’re writing a novel, you can get inspiration from other great writers. Try reading books in the same genre you’re interested in to get an insight on their impact. Read as much as possible, whenever you can. Make it a habit to read whenever you get a chance. Better yet, join a book club!
Practice makes perfect. Put writing into your daily routine, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day. Writing is a skill that requires daily practice, even if it’s just writing in your journal or a blog, it doesn’t matter. You need to keep your creative juices running and stay in the writing zone even if you’re not working on your novel.
Inspiration can be in all forms around you. It can be an ice cream truck, your favorite song, or just a street sign. I advise you to carry around a handy notebook (or you can use your phone’s notepad) to write down anything and everything you think may lead to an idea.
Be an organized thinker. Have a concept and a plot for what you want to write, before writing. You can even write an outline and the synopsis if needed to organize your thoughts. When you start writing, you shouldn’t be all over the place bouncing between thirty theories. All your thoughts should be focused and well strategized.
Use simple structure. The shorter the sentence, the better. Try replacing any adverbs with strong verbs and being concise. Of course, there will be a variety of long and short sentences and that’s okay as long as it doesn’t turn too long and boring to read.
Most importantly, use the active voice instead of the passive voice because it’s more direct and gets the meaning across faster. Every sentence and every scene you write needs to be essential. If it isn’t, cut it.
The dictionary is your best friend. Don’t overdress your writing with big fancy words. Keep things simple and clear so that anyone can read and quickly understand it.
The more words you know, the easier it is for you to express yourself through writing. Pick up your dictionary and skim through it, find a word then look at its synonyms and antonyms just to know how to use them correctly.
Whenever you’re reading, or watching TV and hear a word you don’t know, look it up! There are many vocabulary websites to look into and quizzes you can take to increase your vocabulary, or you can simply randomly open the dictionary every day and learn a new word, so one word in one day. Simple, right?
Proofread everything. Proofread everything and anything you write by running spelling, punctuation, grammar, and plagiarism checks. Don’t fully rely on online checkers either. Read your material yourself and fix any typos, spelling or grammar mistakes. Revise your work once and then revise it again. Having error-free and clear content makes your writing competent and polished.
Accept feedback gracefully. A good writer knows how to take criticism – the good and the bad. Once you finalize your book, story, or article send it out to a group of close friends to read (like your book club for example) and see what they think.
Be professional about all feedback given, the good you can focus on and try to do more of and the bad you work on and improve. All feedback is good feedback for a writer because it pushes you to do better and fix any weaknesses in your writing.
Work on deadlines: Writing is a creative practice, but you can’t undergo deadlines because you don’t really know when your “muse” will come along, right? We’ve already agreed that you need to make a routine of writing at least 30 minutes a day. This means no distractions, just you and your notebook (or laptop). Set goals for yourself with deadlines and challenge yourself to meet them.
As long as you’re persistent and sticking with your writing routine, you’ll get things done faster.
Now that you have this handy list of writing tips, you are ready to conquer the writing world. Remember, there is no such thing as a bad writer, just an ordinary writer who is plain and a great writer who gets things done!