So here is a basic question that comes to mind, how does one get better at writing?
The basic answer you hear from many advice columns is by continuously writing. Which I do agree with to a certain degree. I keep getting better at writing all the time. With each new story I write, my level goes up. However, if I had it all to do over again, instead of making the same mistakes over and over again like I did when I first got started, I would have spent more time doing research on writing in between stories.
Especially for those of us who aren’t English or Creative Writing Majors, or have a background in teaching, we definitely have a steeper learning curve when it comes to writing. The later we start, the higher the curve.
So beyond telling everyone to just keeping writing, here is a list of some things that may help others climb that damn mountain of writing knowledge:
- Pick a book you’ve read many times before and read it again. But this time, don’t just read it for the story. Look at the sentence structure. Pay attention to how the characters are introduced. How the author describes people, places and events. While every writer does things differently, it’s a great place to start.
- Pick up a Grammar for Dummies book or something similar. Part of learning to write is learning to write properly.
- Look for resources. Websites like dictionary.com or thesaurus.com have saved me many times from using the wrong word or not repeating the same words over and over. Sites like writersdigest.com have mounds of great information, you just have to look for it.
- Don’t be afraid to read some books on writing or editing. I’m currently reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renne Browne and Dave King. It’s scary how much I’m learning that I’ve done wrong.
- Make friends with other writers. Whether they may be better than you, at the same level, it doesn’t really matter. You can learn a lot from each other.
- And because I have to add it or be thrown into Tartarus by the great gatekeepers of all things literary, keep writing.
Until next time…