Better writer — how to be one, is every writer’s coveted dream. For more than 20 years now I have been writing as a profession while teaching on the side. And for the countless classes, talks and conferences, there is always someone who will ask me, “How does one actually become one?”
And I’ll always answer the same thing: “To become a better writer, you should write every day, and then read and read to study how others write, every day.” And they dislike this answer.
They do not like this reply because one, people often demand for shortcuts, magic tricks and quick fixes that will help them become a better writer in just a few steps. They want something instant and short term. The other reason is that there are some people who seem to think they are legit writers already. What they need is just a key to unlock their magic powers and then voila a better writer they are.
But I’ll attempt anyway to give you here some basic guidelines on what are the things you can do in order to become one.
Tips on how to become a better writer
1) Write, write, write
One this is for sure, if you would really like to become a better writer, then there’s no other way to put it than to put your craft into practice. Write and write and write. Write everyday. Write every time you can. You can revise, revisit, rewrite every draft you make. Challenge yourself. Make deadlines. Join writing tilts. Push yourself to your writing limits. You can try rewriting or rewording a famous work from your favorite writer, and then follow it up with something you totally started yourself.
2) Read, read, read
Becoming a better writer also involves becoming a better reader. Find inspiration from others’ writing. Read, read and read. Read all genres as much as possible – there’s fiction, non-fictions, poetry, even songs. Read different types of writing like persuasion, argument, biographical, informative, fantasy, science, adventure. Read on expert writers and those just starting as well. Reading a lot will hopefully get you enough inspiration and build your confidence. It will help expand your vocabulary as well, and expand your writing tips and tricks. With reading, you will learn the different styles and strokes of writing, as well as different patterns and rhythms. Soon after reading and learning all these, hopefully you will develop your own writing style and be on the way to becoming a better writer.
3) Writing takes time
Becoming one does not happen over night. Not even a month or a quarter. It may probably need a whole lifetime to dedicate for it. But if you truly are a writer, you are willing to devote your whole life to writing, right? No writer would say, that this level of writing is already enough. Or that I’m okay now with this professional writing. Becoming a better writer means never stopping in developing one’s skills. If your goal is to be published just once, then stopping at that, then becoming a writer was your goal, but not a better one.
Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be on your way to becoming a better writer.