Whether you are aspiring to be a freelance writer, writing short stories and essays, or just exercising your hobby of creative writing, reaching to improve your abilities is forward movement in a positive direction. It is always gratifying to imagine yourself when you first starting plying some craft or trade, and after some time of maximizing your potential, look back and see the path of improvement you’ve taken to become more proficient and practiced at that craft or trade. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to better your writing abilities that are specific enough to apply to most any reader’s interpretation, as well as pliable enough to apply to most any type of writing.
1. Read : Architects study structure and architecture, whereas artists spend a great deal of time exploring works of art, so it is safe to say, writers often find themselves spending time reading works of literature that interest them. This is a tip that creates a natural bank of literary devices, vocabulary, and creative styles in the mind. The more you read, the more easily you will be able to convey your ideas and thoughts into solid writing.
2. Structure : Instead of trying to imagine an entire work of literature at one time, first imagine the general idea of it. Perhaps write the first half of the idea at the top of a page, and the resulting part of the idea at the bottom. You can then think about the individual aspects that your generalized idea is comprised of, and fill them in as bullets in the middle. Making an outline is crucial in developing and maintaining continuity in a piece of writing, and will alleviate the pain of being flustered and lost under the weight of an entire work’s compilation of ideas.
3. START! : One of the aspects of “writer’s block”, the worst symptom known to authors, is not being able to begin a work of literature, a chapter, or perhaps even an idea. Once you have structure, this should be easily avoidable by just STARTING somewhere, ANYwhere. Pick any single idea and write SOMETHING about it. Writing flows, and putting anything down on paper helps open the tap, so instead of just staring at an empty sheet or a screen, write something, even if it will be later edited or deleted.
4. Proofread : In many cases, everyone has a worst critic. Themselves! As you reread your material you will notice things that don’t make much sense compared to how you thought it out, are misspelled, or perhaps things that don’t show up on spellcheck like skipped or duplicated words. Proofreading multiple times, and even having someone else who might spot different things can vastly improve written work.
5. Pace Yourself : Rome wasn’t built in a day. Know that the longer your expected piece of literature is, the more time you are going to have to spend on it. By pacing yourself you can avoid burnout, allow writing to draw out the creative mindset you want to have while writing, and inversely, allow yourself to be in the creative mindset you need to write effectively with your style. Creating your entire piece of work while drafting little pieces at a time may seem insurmountable, but it helps to remember that most books started out as a single idea, and were written one page at a time.