How does one become a better writer?
Folks, there’s little mystery here. Either you are a writer or you’re not. You can be taught lots of techniques, hire a great editor, and write about something that’s so powerful that your quality of writing will not matter. But, at your core, either you think, live, and dream like a writer -- or you don’t.
So, this is not advice on how to be a writer. I will assume that you are one. The only question is how do we get the most out of your talent, experience, and imagination? You are a rough diamond, so how do we polish you to be a designed jewel?
Below are 10 things to consider.
1. Write. Often. Practice makes perfect. By writing often, you develop your genius muscle. Not all that you write will be for public consumption. Assume it’s no better than good until you have a chance to compare one piece of writing to another. Compete with yourself to produce the best possible piece.
2. Expect to edit, re-write, and recycle what you penned. No matter how perfect that first draft seems, you can make it better. Even just 10% better. Don’t accept mere A’s and B+’s. You want to do your best to be the best. Go for the A++.
3. Set a litmus test for yourself. By what standard or filter will you judge your writing by? Set it high. Don’t just strive to be good enough or no worse than anyone else. Your bar must be raised, so even if you fall shirt, your failure can still be a victory.
4. Don’t believe that you’ll never be as good as certain writers. You have no idea how great you can be. Don’t get psyched out. There are many best-selling or award-winning authors out there. So what? That’s all history. Can you deliver something spectacular today? That’s all that you need to concern yourself with.
5. Be a better writer by:
· Growing your vocabulary
· Skimming reference books on varied topics that you know little about
· Talking to other writers about the craft
· Experiencing things worth writing about
· Hanging out with comedians and philosophers
· Taking writing breaks to do something fun
· Tapping into your emotions rather than medicating them with alcohol, narcotics, and food
· Associating with people who are very different form you
· Developing your writing voice -- a persona or attitude that infiltrates your writing
· Having a muse
· Using short paragraphs, short sentences, short words -- and strong adjectives, active verbs, and bastardized language at times.
6. Be opinionated, controversial, and contradictory.
7. Tap into feelings and emotions. Make people laugh, feel, think, or want something from reading your words.
8. Write in a way that allows people to see themselves in a way they had not thought about or about people they never think about.
9. Generally avoid jargon, cliches, or PC lingo, but know that sometimes it is not only permissible, but necessary.
10. But strive to be original. Be led by your curiosity, by the unknown, by the rare.
Are you a good writer? Can you be better? Show me.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by www.WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.