Sally is a writer, speaker, and communications coach. She teaches her clients how to express themselves with power and impact.
These four ways to become a better writer will not only improve your writing, they'll help you become more productive, more creative and more confident in your abilities. Whether you are just starting out as a writer, whether your boss has told you that you'll be doing more copy writing for work, or whether you just want to enjoy the creative process more deeply. these tips can help you achieve your goals!
1. Write every day, even when you don’t want to. People go to work every day. And sometimes they have to do tasks at work that they aren't "in the mood to do." Does that mean they can just skip out on work? No. People who want to make a living writing don’t get a free pass just because they are part of the "creative class." If you want to become a better writer, get over the idea that you "have to be in the mood to write" before you can get any work done. That's just nonsense. Your job is to write. So show up and write.
2. Forget trying to reinvent the wheel all the time. Find a style of writing that you admire and then study it thoroughly. You don’t need to create a fancy new model to write an article, a blog post, or a self-help book. Find a piece of writing you really like—a short story, an article or a blog post—and then study its basic structure and stylistic elements carefully. Use this structure as a framework for your own creative ideas. You don’t have to be an inventor to be a good writer. Focus your energy on creating compelling, imaginative images for your readers, while taking architectural inspiration from storytelling structures that are timeless and loved the world-over.
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3. Don’t edit while you write. Your brain can’t edit and write at the same time. Divide your writing work into clear blocks of time strictly devoted to drafting and strictly devoted to editing. Turn off your word processor's spell-check function when you're in the drafting stage; those screaming red and green squiggly lines are too distracting! Turn the spell-check function on only after you've finished your first draft and you're ready to edit your grammar and correct your spelling.
Here's a bold strategy for keeping your internal critic at bay during the drafting phase: turn your monitor off. Just type on your keyboard. You might be surprised at how easy it is to compose your first draft when you aren’t correcting yourself all the time.
4. Find a writing companion. Do you know someone else who also wants to become a better writer? Invite them to join you for a casual writing session over coffee. Set personal writing goals, share them with your writing buddy and then hold each other accountable for reaching those goals. Give each other supportive but meaningful feedback on your writing projects. Then you'll both be on your way to becoming better writers. You might enjoy writing with your companion so much that the two of you might want to collaborate on a new creative project.
Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.
— Julia Cameron
© 2016 Sally Hayes