Jun 17, 2010

7 Ways to Become a Better Writer

Write constantly.
The easiest way to get better is simply just to write. Becoming a good writer requires practice. If you’re not constantly in practice then you’re not developing your writing skills. Practicing is the only way to develop your own unique voice.

"The scariest moment is always just before you start.” - Stephen King

Have a special time reserved for writing.
There are times when life is so hectic you just don’t have time for writing. Your kid needs to be brought to the dentist, your fridge is empty and you need to go grocery shopping, or you’re just feeling really sick. Set a certain amount of time just for writing, whether it’s a short or long period of time.

"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." – Stephen King

Finish what you start.
You start a book because you’re really hyped about your idea. You get halfway through it and get stuck, meanwhile other ideas are creeping in and you want to work on those instead. Finish what you started and save those new ideas in a file for later. Unfinished books don’t get published, completed ones do. Even if you’re book isn’t as good as you wanted it to be, finish it so that you learn something from it. Maybe it’ll give you idea of where you went wrong so that in your next book you’ll be prepared not to make the same mistake again.

“We rate ability in men by what they finish, not by what they attempt”-Anonymous

Read a book you love.
Writers are readers. We learn our craft through what we read. So not only should you write regularly, but also read. Read a book you love. Read a book you hate. Figure out what works and what doesn’t work and why; and incorporate it into your own work.

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." –Stephen King

Beware of adverbs.
To make this short and simple—do not use them.

"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." –Stephen King

Your work in progress could go easily wrong if the pacing is not done correctly. Go back and make sure everything happens at the time it’s supposed to. Go with a pace that’s somewhere between a dash and a slow crawl.

"Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.” –Stephen King

Always be ready for new ideas.
You could get an idea at the train station, at the doctor’s office, or in a line waiting for coffee. Ideas or inspiration could come at any moment. So be prepared. Have a notebook or notepad at hand to jot down any burning ideas. It could be an important plot twister—and you wouldn’t want to forget that.

“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.” -Wayne Dyer



  1. Thanks! it's the first article I wrote specifically on novel writing.

  2. These are great tips Ezmirelda! Some of them I typically don't worry about until editing (pace and adverbs, in particular) because that FINISHING this is the hard part, but the writing often and making time for it are SO KEY. Great article!

  3. Thanks tart! I do the same thing too.

  4. Those are all great tips for writing! I popped over from Karen Hooper's blog to say hello, and I'm a new follower. I love making new blog buddies! :-)

  5. Thanks shannon! Nice to have you here. :)

  6. Great list of tips!
    It's interesting to see that King's moment of anxiety is at the before he starts writing. I tend to just jump in, excited to start getting it down. For me the scariest part is letting go when it's done!

  7. Ummm, yah, about that jumping in... I forgot to actually edit what I said before I posted! I meant to say King's "moment of anxiety happens before he starts writing."
    Maybe I should rethink my jumping in strategy...

    Anyway, enjoying the blog!

  8. I feel the same way! Getting exited about writing a new idea is fun, it's just those moments when you get stuck that you're afraid to start writing. :)

  9. How do you get a blog award?

  10. You can get a blog award if someone things your blog is great and gives it to you. It depends on what the award is for. :)

  11. These are excellent tips! I'm particularly fond of the "write constantly" tip. I think too often writers simply don't write, and then how on earth can we perfect our craft? Thanks for a great post.

  12. Thanks Julie & Lisa! Glad I could help.


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