10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

Notes_from_AshleyWriting can be a gateway to escaping the chaos of everyday life. There is comfort in working on a novel or writing a poem. That said, and as all writers know, writing can sometimes be difficult. We writers can be overtaken by “writer’s block” moments that interrupt our flow and take us out of the joy of creating. Here are some tips for beating writer’s block and producing your best work, whether for fun or professionally.

  1. READ. Read as much as you can, and read a wide variety of authors. Everyone writes differently, and it’s good to remember there is no wrong (or right) way to create. Everyone has their own writing style, and reading other authors just might help you to find yours.
  1. BRAINSTORM. Write something down—ideas, sentences, words—anything, whether it makes sense or not. Get your pen on paper and you will be amazed at how quickly ideas start to flow. Brainstorm for as long as you need; something will be sure to spark your interest.
  1. SIMPLIFY. Using big words to sound smarter is not always the best idea. Instead of sounding well educated, you’re just confusing the message for the reader and overcompensating for your lack of vocabulary. When in doubt, write what you know using words you understand.
  1. DETERMINE YOUR AUDIENCE. This should be one of your first steps when starting a new writing project. Figuring out whom you’re writing for is essential in conveying your message. Plus, determining your audience will help you find your writing style for that particular project.
  1. TAKE A BREAK. That halting stop that occurs in the brains of writers, the ever-looming writer’s block, is as common as it is annoying. Sometimes it’s best to step away from your work and allow yourself to get a fresh perspective. Come back when you’re ready with new ideas and a clear head.
  1. REWRITE. There’s no such thing as too many drafts (though I’m not at all suggesting you let perfect be the enemy of good!). You should never submit a first draft as your final work. When you’re working on a big project with professional editors looking at your work, you can expect to rewrite—a lot. Which leads us to the next tip…
  1. EDIT, EDIT, and EDIT SOME MORE. You can never be too careful when trusting yourself to edit your own work. When you’ve been staring at the same pages or computer screen for hours, days, or even months, it’s easy to overlook simple mistakes. Never underestimate the power of an editor. An extra set of eyes will catch the mistakes you might have missed.
  1. FEEDBACK. Ask for feedback from colleagues or friends. They will be able to tell you what does or doesn’t make sense and call out areas that may need additional work. Feedback can support you in making your content the best it can be, and in clarifying your main ideas.
  1. MAKE CONNECTIONS. The biggest way to connect with your reader is to tug at their emotions. Write in a way that will get your reader’s attention and hold it. This will ensure satisfaction on both parts—yours and the audience’s.
  1. DON’T GIVE UP. Writing doesn’t come naturally to all of us, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be a great writer one day. Take classes; you can meet other people in the same boat and encourage each other. Just keep writing! You can’t expect to be a best-selling author after one piece. Let your writing abilities will develop over time, and enjoy yourself in the process.

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