Becoming a writer is an often cited dream of many talented teenagers and adults. With its perceived air of elusiveness and chic grandeur, the writer’s life can seem eminently desirable and enjoyable to those who have a way with words.
But how can a budding new talent set themselves up to become the best writer in this mysterious sector? Or, if not the best (we know that artistic judgement is subjective, after all!), at least in with a chance of being noticed in this thoroughly saturated section of the jobs market?
To help unlock your full writing potential, we’ve drawn up the following tips about how to become the best writer you can be. While you’re reading through them just remember that nurturing a skill such as writing takes commitment, energy and passion. Do not let negative thoughts or feedback crush your dreams. Even the best writers will have received negative feedback at some point in their lives and, most likely, will have used this experience to hone their craft.
So, without further ado, here are 9 tips for becoming the best writer:
1. Consider your reason for wanting to write
This may seem like an obvious question to ask yourself but it can also be surprisingly difficult to answer. Understanding your reasons for wanting to write can help you find a niche for yourself and guide you towards a suitable role.
For example, if you enjoy writing because it helps you explore abstract ideas, play with narrative fictions and craft aesthetically beautiful words, creative writing is likely to be perfectly suited to you. If, however, you enjoy writing because you enjoy using it to communicate to vast numbers of people in new and dynamic ways, copywriting may be more your cup of tea.
Once you’ve ascertained the sort of writing you’d like to pursue, practise building on your skills in this area. This article from Target Jobs is great for new graduates that have set their sights upon a particular writing profession and are looking for ways in.
2. Find your writing style
Writing is an incredibly personal process and everyone goes about it in a way that will differ at least slightly from their peers. Whether you’re a night owl who has their best ideas deep into the small hours or you have a penchant for writing in a certain position or place, finding your most productive habits is important to writing success. This hilarious article from Bustle may help you identify some of your more… idiosyncratic habits.
We shouldn’t need to tell you this, but becoming a great writer is impossible without reading some of the best writers out there. Indulge in long reading session to help nurture your writing skills, and don’t be afraid to cross genres, boundaries and centuries. Every novel, article or journal represents a potential learning experience and, best of all, can be great fun to get stuck into!
4. Practise, practise, practise
Getting in the zone to write can be difficult and many of us are prone to procrastination. However, writers cannot expect to get much better without a raft of experience under their belts.
To ensure you get into the habit, designate a particular part of the day purely for writing (mornings are popular amongst writers) and simply let your imagination flow. If you find getting into a state of flow difficult, this article from The Writing Cooperative may give you some useful hints and tips.
5. Carry a notebook with you at all times
As well as helping you look cool and interesting, carrying a pocket notebook will ensure that any fleeting moments of inspiration are not lost. The imagination is a strange and wonderful thing, and we often cannot predict when it will decide to come into its own. What’s more, having good ideas written down is a great motivator when it comes to sitting down at your desk and putting the hard work in.
6. Get rid of distractions
Our hyper-connected world is absolutely full of distractions, from our social media pages and our emails to the countless news sites offering reams of fascinating articles. To eliminate these distractions, it may be a good idea to turn off your WiFi during periods of concentration, or placing your smartphone out of reach. Writing without interruption is fantastic for productivity, and can also drastically improve the quality of your work.
7. Revise your work
While you may feel that the words you are producing are fantastic whilst you’re in the zone, it is always a good idea to revise and amend your work. Indeed, adequate revision can often mean the difference between making it in the world of writing and not quite being good enough.
Don’t just look for spelling and grammar mistakes, but scan your work for clarity of meaning and eloquence. It may even be a good idea to get your friends to help. A fresh eye will see problems you are unable to spot.
8. Get your name out there
It’s all very well writing reams of beautiful prose, but your talent will be wasted if you are not prepared to put yourself out there. Giving your work to others may feel embarrassing or even risky, but it is absolutely necessary if you ever want to get a word published. Start by blogging or sending your short stories out to small publications. This way, you will be able to receive feedback as well as start to make a name for yourself.
9. Think about beginnings and endings
Beginnings and endings can be the most important parts of a piece of writing. After all, you need to hook your reader in to encourage them to read the whole thing. Make sure you focus on beginnings and endings in particular when you’re revising your work, and don’t be afraid to completely rewrite them if necessary.
Main image credit: bruce mars
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