The truth is, writing isn’t as hard as it’s made out to be. Good writing however… well, that’s a topic for another time. There’s a huge difference between writing and good writing, but that’s not what we’re here to discuss today.
Today we shall cover writing at its most basic form.
People like to think of writing as this difficult task that cannot be performed unless you are under the writing spell, fully inspired and motivated to string words together in wonderful fashion. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
No great writer in the world became great by only writing when they felt like it. That’s just the way it is. If you want to improve in your craft, you should really focus on dedicating yourself to it each and every day.
And remember, before you complain that you don’t have enough time: there are eighteen hours after your minimum sleep requirements – make the most of them.
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Don’t Take It So Literally
There are many writers out there who simply cannot manage to write every single day – and that’s fine. Just because you can’t write every day, doesn’t mean you can’t devote an hour every day toward improving your writing.
But how is that possible if you don’t write each day? Well that’s simple. Who said it had to involve writing?
There are many different things you could do on a daily basis to improve your capabilities as a writer – that’s the beauty of writing in general. There are so many tools at your disposal; so many different forms of exploration and release, and you’d be a fool if you didn’t make the most of them.
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Read, Read; Read
Stephen King said it best: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” And he’s right, you know. It really is that simple.
You’d be surprised at the results you could achieve. An hour of reading a day over a six month period would show in your writing in the form of a better-flowing narrative and a conciser sentence structure. In fact, reading can improve your writing so much that you could not write a single word in those six months, and you’d still notice a difference when you returned to the keyboard.
The lesson in all this? If you don’t have the discipline to write (let’s call it what it is here,) the very least you could do is read.
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Plan, Outline; Plot
Would you look at that… three words that mean the exact same thing that are placed beside one another to create a better sub-heading. Go ahead. Sue us.
This is another great way to improve your writing abilities. If you find yourself lacking that creative spark, and don’t have the sort of mindset to push on and write anyway, you could try writing in a different sort of way.
One of the toughest parts of writing fiction is creating a narrative that works; that flows well and twists and changes at all the right times. And what better way to practice this fine art than to write lots of outlines over and over again?
Sure, it may seem a little mundane, but the more you understand the mechanics of storytelling the better your story will be. Thanks for that, Captain Obvious. Now get back to your hiding-hole.
Look on the bright side – it wouldn’t be a total waste of time. You could always store those outlines somewhere and bring them to life at a later date. The purpose of this exercise isn’t centered around how many story ideas you can come up with, but rather, how many of them function as powerful narratives.
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Combine The Three
Between reading, outlining, and actual writing, you’ve got a great little system going on.
These three things, when done regularly, will act as the foundation of your improvement as a writer. No matter how much you grow or which direction you grow in, these three things will always be there to fall back on.
Give them a try. Work them into your routine at various times, making sure you at spend an hour a day on one of them. If you can’t spare an hour a day, you may want to rethink your career choice.
Writing isn’t just an appreciation of words, it’s a whole new way of life.
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