If you ask an experienced writer about the techniques they use to become better, they will probably tell you to read more. This actually makes a lot of sense. As with any other creative profession, one must be aware of the culture and history of the discipline to become an original, conscious, and progressive artist.
“What about inspiration?” you might ask. Of course, it’s very important to have that, too. In fact, Jack London once famously said that every writer who wants to be great shouldn’t wait for inspiration, but “go after it with a club.” He couldn’t be more right. If you want to become a great writer, you have to do so many things to ensure that you’re producing something good.
Here are a few quick tips to help boost your writing skill:
Look for Inspiration. Don’t wait for it.
Coming up with an awesome book idea can be a challenge both for beginners and experienced writers. While looking for ideas in other books is okay, the best ones come from within.
Here are some techniques that can help you get the creative juices going:
- Write about something you feel strongly about. Is there something that you’ve been advocating for your entire life? If there is, and it could serve as a topic, it’ll work great to enhance your motivation.
- Write about something that pisses you off, gets you heated. For example, you can write about a mistake people keep making even though they know how to avoid it. Take that topic into consideration and start writing without any creative restraints. If you want, you can also write about something that makes you laugh!
- Write about what you’ve learned from others. This is great especially if you have a blog. Many writers have blogs they use to share their experiences and exchange ideas. A discussion with readers can be a good tool for discovering new topics!
Try to write something every day.
Don’t forget that writing is a profession. Like any other skill, it should be practiced on a regular basis, because the more you do it, the better you’ll become. So, develop a writing routine and stick to it. Even a few paragraphs will do.
Read a lot.
If you ask an experienced writer what’s the best piece of advice they can give you, chances are high they’ll tell you to read more. J.K. Rowling, for example, has this to say about reading:
“Read as much as you possibly can. Nothing will help you as much as reading and you’ll go through a phase where you will imitate your favorite writers and that’s fine because that’s a learning experience too.”
Here are some ideas how you can use conscious reading to improve your writing.
- Pay attention to structure. As an exercise, choose one book you think has a good structure, write summaries of each chapter and identify major plot points and how the author introduced them.
- See how other writers describe and use settings. For example, in historical fiction, the setting is a key element of the plot, so you can start by reading works written in this genre.
- Learn how to build better characters by reading how the pros did it. Pay attention to how their characters speak, the character’s background and backstory, and the techniques used to reveal the character’s personality.
Don’t be afraid to edit.
To create a truly great book, you should pay attention to every detail. If you don’t, a critic will do it for you, and you don’t want that.
How many times do famous authors revise their books? Well, the best answer to this question is: as many times as it takes.
Read more. Write more. Edit more. And don’t wait for inspiration! These top tips will help keep you moving forward. Good luck!