I constantly see this question “How can I become a good/better writer?” and I thought it would be a good idea to discuss this. I’ve read quite a few blog posts, books, and essays discussing creative writing over the years and I always find the same bottom line: write.
While that piece of advice is extremely important, it isn’t the only advice young writers need to hone their craft. You can write all day, every day, but still stay the same. Therefore, I’ve compiled a few tips that I’ve personally used to help improve writing!
1. Join a creative writing club/community.
The best way to improve your writing is to expose it to the writing community. It’s terrifying to do so, but absolutely necessary. By allowing yourself to share your work and read other peoples work, you can develop your skills in editing, world building, character creation, and plot.
Whether or not you decide to follow this tip or not, I do strongly recommend that you have people (who aren’t your friends or family) read your novel/short stories/poetry before you consider it done. They’ll definitely help you with making your writing concise!
2. Take creative writing classes.
If you’re a high school or a college student, you should absolutely sign up for any and all creative writing courses available (and don’t forget affordable!) to you. If you’ve aren’t either, then I strongly recommend you look up what kind of writer’s workshops that are being held in your area. For those of you who are online learners, then Writer’s Digest has excellent courses ranging from fiction to screenwriting to marketing.
I recommend creative writing classes because it specifically ties back to the first tip: expose yourself and your writing! I’ve taken many a creative writing courses – and I’m definitely going on to get my M.F.A. in creative writing – and I can attest to its madness. Creative writing courses usually force you to not only critique others work but to critique your own. It teaches you the necessary skills to become better writers.
3. Read! Everything! A lot!
It’s safe to say that there’s a direct correlation between being an avid reader and being a good writer. Reading, after all, exposes the writer to the styles and ideas already out there. It’s also important to read as many new novels/short stories/poetry as possible, in every genre. That’s right! Every single genre. Don’t limit yourself to just the one you enjoy the most.
After all, how will you know how to write a romantic scene if you never read a single romance novel? Or how your sci-fi loving character imagines himself as Han Solo flying the Millenium Falcon? Read everything, as much as physically possible, from as many genres as possible.
4. Experience story-telling in every medium.
Piggy-backing off of the last tip, it’s also important to expose yourself to other story-telling mediums. “What are story-telling mediums?” you ask. Well, comic books, cartoons, movies, TV shows, and video games are some examples. They’re mediums in which stories can be told, to be specific. While reading books will help you with grammar, “voice” (which I’ll discuss in another post), and style, other mediums can assist with an over-arching plot, character development, or even give you inspiration.
It’s important to note that you should spend more time taking in the story-telling medium you primarily work with and writing than doing anything else. For example, if you want to be a video-game writer, then spend the majority of your time playing different video-games and writing scripts. Want to be a novelist? Read and write as much as possible. Whatever your medium is, take in as much of it as possible and then write.
I know, I know, I criticized this very tip at the beginning, but it’s still an important tip! Writing every day is the best way to become a better writer. Keep a journal or a diary and write in it daily about characters you came up with, plot ideas, the dialogue you’ve heard throughout the day, or thoughts you may have about a topic. This journal will eventually become an essential part of your writer’s toolbox.
If you don’t want to keep a journal, then put your effort into writing your next piece of poetry, your next short story, or the next chapter of your novel. It doesn’t matter what you decide to put your effort into, as long as you make sure you write every single day. It’s important to build up that habit.
So there you have it! Those are some tips that will hopefully help you become stronger, better, more concise writers. If you’ve got any other tips you think are helpful or just wanna let me know if any of my tips helped you out, why not leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to see what y’all have to say!