As with any art or skill, some people are more naturally gifted as writers than others. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to improve your skills through hard work and dedication! Honing the craft of writing can take time and many learning experiences before you fully find your groove.
Whether you are looking to launch a blog, write more creative letters to loved ones or are expected to draft copy at work, these four tips are here to help get you on your way – today. Because there is no time like the present to get started!
1) Write like you speak – at least for the first draft!
The reason a blank page can feel so intimidating is that you are already trying to imagine the final result. Rather than worrying about what you will actually end up publishing, first focus on getting your thoughts down on paper. Don’t worry about the “voice” that needs to be used – you can finesse that during your editing and revision process. Writing down everything you want to say at once, however scrambled it may be, is a great way to see the outline of your work begin to form, and let the pressure of the blank page fade away.
2) Keep like concepts in similar “chunks”
When writing down all your initial ideas, you may find your mind going back and forth between various thoughts and tangents. That’s okay! Let your mind wander. Leaving spaces between the different “chunks” of your thought process on paper allows you to fill in more details as they come to you. Once everything has been dumped onto the page, you can begin to connect the dots and expand on that first rough draft.
3) Don’t wait to read it out loud
Many writers wait and read a final, or near-final, draft out loud just to make sure it flows. But what happens if it doesn’t? If you wait until the final stages of your draft to test how it will sound to a reader, you may find yourself already so tied to this version that you have trouble seeing how things can be moved around. Instead, once you have your main ideas down and a general order in place, start reading your rough notes to yourself to see if the connections make sense. A bonus is that you might find ways to start smoothing those rough points into elegant sentences as you test out the flow!
4) Read good writing
This is a fun one, and is especially helpful if you are experiencing writer’s block! There’s no better way to write like a great writer than to read like one. If there are specific authors whose work you especially admire, take the time to reflect on why that is. Do they have really deep character development? Are they creative with their word choice? Make notes about what great writing means to you so that you can begin building those values into your own work.
Looking for more writing advice? From tips on subjects like how to avoid writer’s block, getting your work published and increasing your productivity, check out these past articles on the Endpaper Blog.