On Becoming a Better Writer


If I’m going to get to my More or Less list, and if I’m going to actually make a go of this writing thing, I need to write. But I also need to be a better writer.

Just before Christmas, I had an editor tell me that, while I was knowledgeable in the subject matter, they were looking for someone with a unique voice. I wanted to ask them why they had given me examples of their writers and asked me to match the style. But I didn’t. I just resolved to be better than that. As self-serving as it may seem, I think I already am.

Still, there’s room for improvement.

Over at Copy Blogger, Henneke writes:

Hard work is required, but you can write authoritative content — even if you feel like a beginner. But you need to start right now …

To do it, you need to learn these three essential skills:

  • How to create original content;
  • How to develop your own voice;
  • How to become an inspirational writer.

I need to work on all three of those if I want to be effective online.

But I also want to write novels. So I realize I need to work on writing skills and writing style.

Anyone can sit down and put words on a screen or words on paper. I do that all the time. But do I write words that inspire? Words that make readers hungry to come back for more?

I’m not there yet.

So along the way I listen to and follow people like Jeff Goins, Hope Clark and Chris Brogan, all offering different information and advice along the way.

I’ll also pick up things that I need to add to my personal library. My next purchase is Stephen King’s On Writing. After all, not many authors have had the long running success that King has had. So, while I’ll probably never match his collection, I look forward to reading King’s perspective.

In the few months were I’ve caused myself to really take this seriously, to really believe that I am going to make this happen, I’ve realized what I’ve known all along. Writing is hard. At least good writing is hard.

I haven’t even quit my day job yet and already I’ve realized that a full-time writing career isn’t going to be a matter of jumping out of bed, pouring the coffee and watching sparks fly out of the tips of my fingers as I fire off the next great American novel.

As an aside: I like that sparks out of the fingers thing. Expect to see that somewhere creative one day.

Are you a writer? If so, how do you work at improving your craft? Have you taken courses either online or real-time that made you a better writer? Is there a book that’s your manual for success as a writer?

Let me know if the comments below.

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