John is a connoisseur of words who is currently on a journey to fully understand what it means to become a true wordsmith and marketer.
Improving Your Writing Skillls
Yes, you read it right – write to learn writing.
I know it’s quite a tongue twister, but it’s the shortest and most straightforward way of actually learning how to write.
Think about LeBron James. He’s considered by many as the greatest basketball player of all time – but did you honestly think that he attained such a feat by watching talented ballers perform explosive slam dunks?
No, no, Sir, he did not.
He dribbled, shot, and ran around the court day and night to be great.
Well, he did study how basketball works, its statistics, and the science of it all. But what truly improved his performance was the practice.
The same philosophy applies to writing.
I’m not saying that reading several books and learning the rules of grammar aren’t crucial—because they are. They only make a difference, however, if you apply them in your writing.
Write to Learn Writing – But Where to Begin?
For a total newbie, someone who’s never written about anything, it can be daunting to think about writing.
The judgment, the criticism, and the feedback; it is there no matter what piece you write. Heck, the grammar police can’t even spare Facebook comments, so what makes you think your essay is safe from their critiques?
But here’s the deal; it’s not them that’s stopping you.
It’s your mindset.
Look, no matter what you do on this planet, people are going to judge you just because they can.
So, writing to learn writing doesn’t start by sitting in front of your computer, using your smartphone, or opting for the traditional way of pen and paper – writing begins with acceptance.
It begins when you’re okay with people attacking your work. It’s when you’re brave enough to start typing without being bothered by criticism.
Because you’ll have peace, and you can finally focus on what you want to express.
Don’t take my word for it; take Stephen King’s: “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
Got the Mindset – So Now What?
Write a piece, an essay, a review, a rant, or a love letter to your first crush.
Begin by just doing it.
If you can’t think of a topic, try asking yourself the Five Ws:
Ask yourself one of these four questions and then add why. For example: What do you want most in the world, and why?
There you go, a topic to kick-start your wordsmithing adventure.
How about the word count?
At the moment, it doesn’t matter. As long as you answer the question, that’s it.
What matters is that you start stitching words together.
For the first part of this long wordsmith journey, you have to muster some courage and do it without overthinking.
Don’t bother making it perfect because you can’t, and no one can.
|WH Questions||Possible Topics|
Who should be the president?
What qualities does he/she need to have?
When should we vote?
Where should the president stay?
Why do we need a president?
How do you become the country's president?
Making Writing a Hobby
Now that you’ve tried writing, it’s time to understand that writing one piece isn’t taking you anywhere.
You have to make it a hobby. Doing so is what improves your writing.
So how do you make it a hobby?
Four Surefire Ways to Get into Writing
1. Find Time
It starts with you looking for free time in your schedule.
Writing is not just an art but a discipline. You can't do it impromptu or whenever you want. Why? That's because it's very unlikely to happen.
The right thing to do is to schedule your writing sessions throughout the week. You don't have to do it every day. Thrice or four times a week can make all the difference.
The only thing you have to ensure is that you stick to it.
How do you do that?
I recommend allocating an hour or two every other day before you do anything exhausting or stressful. When you're new to wordsmithing, it can be pretty uncomfortable during the first few tries, like working out. So you shouldn't do it at the end of the day when your energy levels are low.
2. Start Small
I can't stress this enough. Do not make goals you can't achieve; it'll only burn you out.
Instead of telling yourself to write a whole article in one session, spread it out. Don't push yourself to write 500 words in each session.
You're new. And that's why you're reading this piece. So why would you punish yourself?
Instead, write only 300 words maximum per session. For the first month or two, do not exceed 300 words every time you write.
It may be tempting to go beyond 300, and it is possible. However, your next session becomes a lot tougher -- decreasing your motivation and likely causing you to deviate from your schedule.
It's better to have four sessions in a week producing 1,200 words than two sessions of 900 words (500 and 400).
For newbies, disciplining yourself to pause and rest is part of the work. It keeps you excited and lets you think about what you want to write in your next session.
The goal here is to develop a habit through consistency.
Once you have that, you can set a higher limit.
Extra tip: If you’re interested in trying your hand at fiction, instead of starting out to write a 300-page novel or even a 10-page short story, try writing a piece of flash fiction—a story that is under 1,000 words in length. Here are 62 flash fiction prompts to help kickstart your journey!
3. Find Topics You Know Well
You must have heard this a million times: write what you love or are interested in!
Yes and NO.
For now, it's the latter.
I recommend writing what you already know about. Whatever expertise you have, write about that.
The problem with writing about what you love or are interested in is that it can take too much time to research. For a beginner, it can take twice or thrice the time to accumulate the knowledge required to write about the topic.
However, by writing about what you are already good at, research becomes a breeze.
4. Set an End Goal
My last tip is to make sure that your writing isn't just random and for the sake of writing.
Explore why you want to write and what it's for at the end of the day.
Becoming a better communicator is excellent, but if you can find another reason, that'd be even better.
A few that may help you:
- Become a book author
- Become a copywriter
- Become a blogger/vlogger
- Become a journalist
There are so many more. Having this objective at the back of your mind drives you to learn more about the craft.
It gives you a reason to continue writing.
The Benefits of Writing
Apart from getting comfortable and motivated with the work itself, which is writing, there are plenty of other advantages that the “write-to-learn-writing discipline” provides.
1. You Get to Know Your Voice
Believe it or not, you have a voice in your literary works. Unfortunately, you won’t know it until you’ve written hundreds of articles.
Yes, I know it seems like a lot, but it’s not. If you write one 500-word article per day, you get a hundred before hitting four months. Do two, and you’ll cut that time in half.
Getting to know your writing style allows you to have control over it. You get to develop it or change it to your liking.
And in the world of freelancing, changing it to adapt to your clients’ needs is an in-demand skill.
2. You Become an Exceptional Learner
Writing is merely the conversion of knowledge. It’s organizing what you have in your brain into something that can be digested by someone else through reading.
During this conversion, you get to review your thoughts and see if they’re accurate through research.
You get to ask more questions, which makes you seek more answers.
Eventually, it becomes a mantra that you apply to everything you’re unfamiliar with.
In a nutshell, you become a skeptic – but in a positive way.
Not surprisingly, writing actually helps your brain grow by creating more neural connections. A healthy dose of skepticism and a more interconnected brain are awesome benefits of a good writing habit!
3. You Communicate Better
By writing, you enhance your verbal skills as well.
There’s something about perfection in the world of wordsmithing. You get to revise your work over and over again until you’re satisfied.
You tend to look for the most accurate words to deliver your message, thus, expanding your vocabulary.
The more words at your disposal, the easier it is to express yourself – even when talking about sophisticated ideas.
4. You Become More Relaxed
By writing, you get to have a positive outlet.
It’s almost the same as venting to a friend – but without the person. So there is no unexpected, hurtful feedback.
Moreover, each time you finish a piece, you become fulfilled. The same as achieving anything in life, you get to enjoy this quick hint of dopamine that makes your day.
- How to Improve Your Writing: Four Easy Ways | Owlcation
Are you an aspiring writer? Do you want to make money out of your penned word? Here's a good start on how to improve your writing in four simple ways.
- How Reading Improves Your Writing | Owlcation
Trying to get better at writing, but don't know how? Has anyone ever told you that reading improves your writing? It's true: the easiest way to improve your writing is simply to read! Here's how reading can improve your writing!
- 50 Creative Nonfiction Prompts Guaranteed to Inspire | Bookfox
Explore this large list of helpful creative nonfiction writing prompts to get your pens moving or fingers tapping.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 John Emerson Conde