By Justin H.
As with all things in life, becoming a great writer takes a lot of time and effort. We’re talking about practice.
Anyone can put words on a page, but not all can tell a story. A select few have the ability to weave a web of verbal art that fully grabs a reader’s attention, while others have to put in overtime to reach that level.
Fortunately, there are many ways to go about improving those skills. Some of the most correctable mistakes are oftentimes what hold back writers from reaching their full potential. It takes much more than just paying attention to your 8th-grade English teacher blathering on about structured paragraphs, conclusions and grammatical mumbo jumbo.
As if you remember what conjugates and relative clauses are anyway.
Whether you are a blogger, author, screenwriter, or any other verbal wizard, keep these tips in mind next time you work on your craft.
Do You Really Need all That?
After you finish writing your piece, press “Ctrl-F” and search for the word “that.”
Go through each sentence and try saying it in your head without “that” in it. Sounds better, no?
You’d be surprised how often people toss in "that" when there’s really no need. The word “that” is like the honeydew in the fruit salad. No one really likes it, but we all just throw it in there to take up space.
Dumb it Down
If you can’t explain what you’re writing to a child, you might need to change your approach. Obviously if you are writing a case study on quantum mechanics, the child might not understand it. However, you should still be able to give him the elevator pitch before he loses interest and goes back to playing with his yo-yo (or, given the times, his iPad).
Kids don’t have time for your small talk. You can get to the point quicker by hitting on simple points, such as:
- The reason you are writing
- What you want the reader to know
- What you want the reader to do
While we all love to believe we are great multitaskers, it is a ridiculous notion. Nothing gets done when trying to juggle multiple tasks at once, and whatever actually does get done is rarely as good as it would have been had you focused on only one task.
This idea applies to writing more than anything else. Trying to write while amongst a large group of people or with the television on does nothing but impede progress and stagnate creativity.
Crank up the Mozart
A handful of studies detailed by NextShark revealed the benefits of listening to classical music. It is recommended for students trying to study, as those soothing violins and pianos have been found to help fight depression, relieve stress levels, improve sleep quality, and promote honest communication of your emotions.
As inspiring as the wise words of Lil’ Wayne and Taylor Swift may be, there’s a reason guys like Mozart and Beethoven are still crushing sound systems centuries after their deaths. Give it a shot!
Nothing is worse than being that guy who doesn’t take a stance on anything. You ask him where he wants to go to dinner, and he replies with “I don’t care, whatever you want.” You ask him who he is voting for, and he says “Eh, I could go either way.”
Take a unique stance in your work and defend it to the grave. You can be open-minded without waffling back and forth with what you believe in. Being opinionated opens the door for conversation and reader engagement, while also establishing your voice as a writer.
Write with the Same Voice you Speak in
This one is crucial. So, what if you speak in long sentences? Who cares if you joke around too much? Does it matter if you are overly expressive?
Your voice is what makes you you. Embrace your way of speaking and eventually, you will find your niche and figure out how to make things work for you.
Hopefully these tips help you on the path to becoming a better writer. Just remember the most important rule of all: keep at it! Stephen King didn’t become Stephen King in one day!