There are thousands of fantastic articles that deliver advice on how to be a better writer, and while they’re all genuinely beneficial, they’re often just different versions of the same information. So we figured the best way to actually bring some value and help people improve their writing would be to think outside of the box – just like you should do when you write.
1. Read. A lot
This may be obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people actively avoid reading other work to stop any accidental plagiarism. But the complete opposite is often true. Inspiration can pop up at any time. Maybe something you read a decade ago could spring up some ideas today, or even a story in a newspaper could generate something inside you.
2. Write. A lot
Writers can be precious beings, only putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) when they feel they’re going to knock out some amazing material. But in reality, it’s rarely that way. You absolutely have to get out all the average (and let’s face it, below average) stuff to get to the gold. So just write. Every day. Multiple times a day. Even if 90% of it is sub-par, you’ll still have a ton of gems to work with.
3. No First & Last
This is a strange one, but just give it a crack. Write whatever you want, but the only rule is you need to remove the first and last paragraphs. It may not work all the time, but just try it. You might be surprised.
Writers have active minds that can truly benefit from being calmed once in a while. Meditation is used daily by almost every successful individual on the planet, as it brings a clarity to the mind, body and soul that helps you harness your true creative potential. There are a ton of free apps that can help you get going with meditation – start with a few minutes each day, and progress from there. Watch how much more creative you get.
5. Shock Value
Attention-grabbing titles can never be underestimated. In a world that is becoming noisier and noisier as more content is thrown out every day, you need to find a way to cut through. Try something that’s a little extra, a little outrageous. It just might inspire someone to read your work when they otherwise wouldn’t.
What’s that old saying? Good writers borrow, great writers steal? And it couldn’t be truer. Take anything and everything and make it your own. Think of it like sampling in music. Grab something old, put your own twist on it and it becomes a completely new piece of work.
7. Take Risks
Pedestrian writing is boring for everything. The writer doesn’t want to write it, the reader has no interest in consuming it. So take some risks. Tackle subject matter that you normally wouldn’t, or that a lot of other writers don’t. Be bold. Be brave. Go crazy. You just might enjoy it.
And not just your readers. If you can draw emotion when you write, actually cry or laugh or shake with anger or scare the crap out of yourself, then that will translate to your work. If you’re feeling something when you create, you’ll make your audience feel it too. And that’s the whole point of this writing thing, really.
Short sentences are key. Writers tend to be verbose (surprise, surprise) and sentences tend to run long and complicated. But if you can write in shorter sentences and make your readers pause at ever period to really think about what you’re saying, you’ll hold them deeper and longer.
10. Talk Write
Conversational writing is often the most engaging and easiest to read. If you try to write how you speak, that can very often translate to a wider audience gravitating to your work. The most successful books and pieces of writing in popular culture are all super conversational and easy to read. Give it a try.