Improving your writing skills can be overwhelming, not least due to the abundance of suggestions and areas to focus on.
This comprehensive guide looks at five straightforward methods to enhance your creative writing abilities.
These techniques encompass everyday practices like reading, regularly practicing, and joining writing groups.
Although these suggestions may appear obvious, it is crucial not to disregard them. Each approach can be tailored to extract maximum benefit. For example, reading analytically can yield valuable insights, and practicing different styles of writing prose can unlock new skills.
Let’s dive in.
1. Read Everything You Can
Legendary author Stephen King said,”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
And there’s a lot of truth in what he says. Reading hones writing skills by imparting vocabulary, diverse viewpoints, sentence structure, pacing, character development, plot strategies, and world-building methods. It familiarizes you with writing conventions and their potential deviations, empowering you with firsthand knowledge.
Another world-famous author, George RR Martin, has also spoken about the importance of reading. He said, “The most important thing for any aspiring writer, I think, is to read!
He says writing anything, from magazines to blog posts, is worthwhile. “Every writer has something to teach you, for good or ill,” he says, and that’s the key point we wish to make here—read everything because there’s a lesson to be learned from the bad and good.
2. Study The Craft Of Writing
It’s important to acknowledge that everyone possesses some knowledge you lack. Listening and therefore studying are crucial to success when it comes to improving your writing skills.
Start with the fundamentals and progress. Explore writing books (like “A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook” or “On Writing”), watch YouTube lectures, and enroll in webinars, courses, and workshops. Engage in forums and writing groups for discussions, sharing, and critiquing.
Learning a new craft requires time and dedication—unless you possess extraordinary talent. Just as carpenters, electricians, doctors, and lawyers undergo years of training, so must you.
It is said that mastery demands 10,000 hours of practice, equivalent to around 90 minutes daily for 20 years. Although daunting, this goal is attainable. Put in the necessary effort and have faith that success will follow.
In fact, after a short time, you should start noticing improvements in your prose writing, character creation, plotting, and overall quality of storytelling.
3. Practice As Often As You Can
Make time and muster the motivation to practice your craft, despite life’s challenges. Even if it’s difficult, any amount of writing is progress. Each word is a step forward.
Learn from Joanna Cannon’s example. While juggling a demanding job as a psychiatric nurse in an underfunded NHS, she managed to write her debut novel, which became a bestseller. She squeezed in writing sessions before, after, and during breaks.
Keep in mind that you’re in a phase of practice and improvement. Avoid burdening yourself with the pressure of writing a perfect book. Grant yourself the freedom to experiment and explore.
As George RR Martin said, “If you don’t exercise those “literary muscles,” you’ll never develop them.”
4. Don’t Fear Rejection
Failure allows us to recognize our weaknesses and gain deeper self-awareness. It is an integral part of the creative journey. Embrace it wholeheartedly and absorb all the feedback you receive from editors or beta readers.
Never allow rejections or setbacks to diminish your passion and enthusiasm. Remember, you possess the ability to write, and you have stories within you that deserve to be shared. Acknowledge that perfection may not be attained on the first attempt, but remain determined to persist and succeed. When you eventually accomplish your goal, the sense of fulfillment will surpass any intoxicating experience.
So, do not let rejection dampen your spirits. Instead, utilize it as a catalyst to enhance your writing skills.
5. Get Feedback From Others
Collaborating and partnering with fellow writers is an exceptionally effective and easy method for enhancing your writing abilities.
These writers can offer valuable insights and unbiased feedback on various aspects of your story, such as its structure, characters, theme, and premise. Their input is essential for elevating your storytelling to new heights.
Personally, I’ve found that working with someone who provides feedback consistently improves my writing skills. It exposes me to fresh perspectives, encourages me to explore new techniques, and instills greater confidence in my own voice.
There are lots of writing communities out there to join. You can find them on Facebook, Reddit, or Discord. And check out the websites of authors like myself. We have writing groups and communities that you can join and benefit from.