by Leah Thurber
Being a writer, enjoying what you do and making a profit while doing it is one of the best feelings in the world. That is why more and more young and ambitious people tend to pick up their pens and start either writing short novels or texts or try their hands at freelancing.
Most people fail to understand however is that becoming an expert writer takes a lot of time and effort, not to mention the patience to go through the baby steps of writing short and unimportant pieces. But what are some of the essential steps in becoming a better writer and actually making a name for you in the process?
1) Outline your writing
Writing isn’t so different from other forms of day jobs such as graphic design, data mining, server management, etc. Most people think of writing as a majestic form of artistic expression that can take their creativity and personal satisfaction to the next level.
This is called creative writing and it’s what most people associate writing as a whole to – this is a huge mistake. Writing anything without thinking about it beforehand will not only burn you out but also make you think that you are not a good writer. It will take years before your writing skills are up to the task of writing something without outlining it clearly before doing so.
You can outline your writing by creating a simple grid of three, and naming them “introduction”, “body”, and “conclusion” respectively. As you can already see, these sections will serve as the main vessel of your writing, allowing you to easily jump back and forth between them.
Writing in a linear fashion is extremely difficult even for experienced writers and should be avoided whenever possible. Just like you would write a thesis or another form of academic paper, creating a clear outline every time you want to write will help you organize your thoughts clearly and write faster and with more focus on creativity.
2) Write in different styles
Getting out of your zone of comfort as a writer is essential in becoming better at what you do. This is because writing skills are often developed when you take up a style of a different writer and try to impersonate it while telling your own story.
This is something that students have done by writing a dissertation while impersonating their own professors, favorite writers or historic figures or even senior colleagues. Some of the most popular writing styles include:
- Expository – Aims to explain something in a logical and linear order by introducing facts and research as it progresses
- Descriptive – Helps readers visualize what the writer was trying to convey by describing sight, sound, smell, taste, etc.
- Persuasive – Serves the purpose of persuading the reader to think the way the writer thinks by justifying the writer’s point of view
- Narrative – It tells a story or an event through the perspective of a character or a narrator and is usually the style of writing we see in novels
There is no shame in impersonating someone else’s style if your goal is to learn more about your own. Writers at BestWritingAdvisor.com will gladly help you out if you have trouble developing your writing style by using someone else’s writing as a base.
For example, try writing the same sentence in four different styles and see if you can manage the same meaning in all four instances. This is the perfect example of how using different writing styles can help you develop your own writing voice and become distinguished by your readers.
3) Get a second opinion
Getting writing tips from someone who is a professional writer and has far more experience than you is a good way to get some actual feedback. Asking random people on the internet or your local acquaintances might not be the best idea because these people usually make up the majority of your readers – they are not writers themselves.
While they can comment on the content and formatting of your articles and papers they are in no position to give you factual thoughts on the writing itself. Even if you are writing a serious piece such as a dissertation or a thesis, asking for feedback through proper writing channels is always the smart move. This will help you detect the mistakes you make and help you become a much better writer in the long run.
4) Read as much as possible
The best way to become a better writer yourself is to understand how other writers work. You can do this by simply picking up the oldest and the most recent piece of writing that a certain author has made and start reading. This can be anything from a Stephen King novel to an academic dissertation published by your favorite professor.
The reason for doing something like this is very simple – you have to realize that no one is perfect. Even your own writing won’t be perfect when you realize that you have actually become pretty good at what you do. Reading is one of the best ways you can educate yourself and have a good time simultaneously as a writer, so why not give it a shot whenever you have a couple of hours to spare?
There will always be an over-saturation of writers on the market. Whether you are a blogger or a freelance writer, chances are that there are ten other writers that are doing something similar to what you are trying to accomplish.
It’s important to look at these writers as healthy competition and not someone who will steal your spotlight. Once you realize that you are your own writing master, becoming better at what you do will come organically and develop day after day. Don’t give up before you give writing a proper shot because even the best writers can fall on hard times and abandon their dream job completely.
Leah Thurber is an enthusiastic BestWritingAdvisor blogger with a background in education. She is an avid reader and practices her own fiction writing in her spare time, aiming to become published one day. Her main hobbies remain reading and writing, something she wishes she had more time for. You can follow her on Twitter @leahjthurber
Thanks for this! Just what I needed 🙂
Good advise, i particularly feel the second is massive. Every artist is looking to their unknown settlement. Where they can create art and the art style coincide to who they are as seamlessly as possible and producing art become like breathing. To do this, one must venture into the unknown art lands and make massive mistake, be critiqued most harshly.
Great tips! I’ve always read plenty of books from a variety of authors and genres, but never thought to read the oldest and most recent of any author and compare the two.