Are you brand new to the wonderful world of writing? Then welcome! You’re in for a mighty wild ride. If you think you’re going to just be able to sit down and write the next great American novel in one sitting, then you’ve definitely been lied to.
I’m a doubter. I’ve always discredited my God-given talents, and that includes writing. However, self doubt is something every writer struggles with at one time or another. That little worm weaves its way into our thoughts, adding discouragement and fear into the rotation.
STOP! Don’t let that little worm ruin any writing aspirations you have! Take a breath. Think what’s missing from your routine. As such, I realized three things missing were missing from mine. So here are the three things (because everything, it seems, comes in threes or fives on this site) I’m doing to improve my writing.
1. Reading more fiction AND non-fiction.
Do. Not. Forget. To. READ. And not just fiction. Find some informative non-fiction pertinent to your content and run with it. To be completely honest, I didn’t read for nearly a year. What happened? I nearly lost interest entirely.
The combination of reading, writing, and learning brings out the perfect storm of productivity, and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed that missing piece to the puzzle.
There was also a time when I didn’t want to read. I was afraid other stories would influence my own, and I’d somehow be accused of stealing someone else’s idea. Not only that, but I didn’t want to find my own story within another. As the saying goes, there’s “nothing new under the sun.” However, we can’t, as writers, be afraid to explore other stories, characters and worlds.
2. Writing longer blog posts.
If you maintain a website, you know how hard it can be sometimes to come up with content and keep things fresh. A website is also a very public extension of yourself, so it’s best to be as professional as possible when communicating with your readers and anyone else you may connect with. In 2016 I had very little to say. Let’s bring in some stats. For the past four years, my average word count per post was less than 900. I plan to change that for 2020.
“Why?” you ask.
Because I want to learn more, and hone this content creator skill that fell into my lap when I decided to share my journey with you. And yes, I am aware that longer posts don’t always equal great content. I’ve needed to push myself out of my comfort zone for a long time, and 2020 is the year of change, so why not?
3. Learning more grammar.
American grammar is no laughing matter. My eyes still glaze over whenever I read phrases like “past participles” and “perfect continuous,” and see warnings to not use too many adjectives, too many verbs, or too much of everything else. Did you know there are, technically, twelve tenses in the English language?
Even though my writing journey resurfaced in late 2016, I had admit to myself that I needed to learn the basics of grammar all over again. You wouldn’t believe this, but there’s also an ongoing debate over how commas should/shouldn’t be used online. I may be in the minority here, but both methods have merit. (Oxford comma vs. no Oxford comma).
Personally, I try my best to not get involved in such debates. It’s all part of the learning process, and you must learn for yourself what’s best for your own writing journey.
Did you catch on to a word used the most in this post? If you thought “learn,” then you’re correct. Writing is a learning process. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked on your own craft; there will always be something you don’t know right around the corner.
What are the things you’re doing to improve your craft? Leave them in the comments below!