Nothing ever starts out perfect. Perfection is something most of us claim to strive for but none of us will ever achieve it, because it doesn’t exist. We often let ourselves down by our own lofty expectations, however it doesn’t need to be this way. You might look at the page you’ve just written and feel frustrated, but what you’ve just written, my friend, is only the beginning. Here are seven handy ways to turn what you currently perceive as bad writing, into good writing.
1. Keep Going
As we just mentioned, everything starts out bad. The main way you can turn bad into good is to keep going. Keep writing, keep adjusting, keep tweaking, keep creating. Let it all out onto the page, you can fix it later. But just keep going. No book was ever written perfectly on the first draft. When you’re creating, it takes time to draw out the true form of your work via your creative energy. Lower your expectations and just write.
2. Ask For Feedback
And actually listen. If someone has taken their valuable time and invested it into reviewing your work just to give you feedback, be grateful and apply their suggestions. It’s often difficult to remove yourself from your work, especially while you’re creating it, so to have an outside perspective is incredibly helpful. It can assist you in trimming the fat, wording things a little better, or even completely rearranging things so the work just flows.
3. Analyze Your Work
Try and take a step back and look at what you’ve written, preferably with fresh eyes. If you can take a break and come back to it, or even sleep on it for a couple of days, it can help shed a lot of familiarity. This should help you approach your work with a new energy – it can often feel like you’re reading something another person wrote, which is the optimal position to be in. Logic over emotion is what you’re looking for at this stage.
4. Edit, Edit, Edit
This really should be #1. Editing is everything. It’s always better to just write until you can’t write any more, and then edit until you have a cohesive piece of work that flows as you intended. Any first draft will generally be pretty bad. Heck, even third and fourth drafts can still need a ton of work. But there’s almost nothing that can’t be saved or improved by some vigorous editing.
5. No Fear
Don’t be afraid. As creatives, we tend to get so emotionally invested in our work that we let it cloud our judgement. The beauty of creativity is there are no rules, so there’s nothing to be afraid of. You can’t fail; your only job is to create a piece of work that you’re satisfied with, and the only way to do that is to just keep going and to not think about what anyone else will say. Worry about that later – for now, just create.
The term “Real artists ship” originated from Steve Jobs, and essentially he’s saying don’t be a perfectionist, don’t procrastinate – just get your work out there. Nothing you create will be perfect anyway, so get it as close as it can be and let it flow out to the world. Don’t hesitate, don’t try and “fix this one last thing”; just let it go. You’ll know when it’s ready, you just have to fight the fear.
7. Be Different
Actually pay attention to these steps and follow them. All of them. Google other ways to improve your writing, and actually do it. Focus. Follow through. You can be the difference by just doing these things, as the vast, vast majority of writers don’t even come close. We all have our off days, we all get caught up in fear, we all feel like what we’re doing isn’t good enough. But you need to beat that because you ARE good enough. Now go out there and get ’em.