How to Become a Better Writer

better writer

How to become a better writer.

There’s more to writing than pushing a pen across a piece of paper, and there’s more to being a writer than having written.

These days, everyone’s a writer. We write emails, text messages, and lists. A free blog is just a few clicks away. Self-publishing has drawn tens of thousands of dreamers who have scrawled stories and uploaded them to the web for all to read.

Everyone’s a writer, including you. But how do you differentiate yourself? How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you make your words and ideas resonate with a reading audience?

Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

There’s more to becoming a better writer than improving your writing, although that’s certainly part of it. Here are a few ways you can become a better writer:

1. Make the commitment: sometimes the difference between a working writer and would-be writer is as simple as making a commitment to writing (and then sticking with it).


2. Do the work: write as often as you can, every day if possible. Spend more time writing than talking about writing or thinking about writing.

3. Engage with other writers: they will keep your fire burning, and they can help you with your writing. Find a writing buddy or group of writers and swap critiques.

4. Study the craft: there’s always more to learn. Writing is a complex and intricate field. I don’t think anyone can learn it all in one lifetime, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying!

5. Read: the single best way to become a better writer is to simply read.

6. Know the industry: if you plan on being a professional writer, you should familiarize yourself with the business side of things. Become knowledgeable about submitting your work, publishing, and marketing.

7. Be diligent: rewrite, edit, proof, repeat. Nobody wants to read your rough drafts, including agents, editors, and fellow writers who are critiquing your work or helping you with proofreading and editing.

8. Build a platform: thanks to the Internet, it is cheaper and easier to build a platform today than it ever was before. Learn how to market yourself: find your readers, connect with them, and sell your books!

9. Know your audience: I like to think of a reading audience as a group of people connected by a common interest or passion. Who are your readers?

10. Be yourself: don’t write what’s hot, write what’s in your heart.

How much effort do you invest in improving your writing? Do you take steps every day to become a better writer? What steps have you taken to develop your craft and grow as a writer? Do you have any tips to add to this list? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep writing!

10 Core Practices for Better Writing

About Melissa Donovan
Melissa Donovan is a website designer and copywriter. She writes fiction and poetry and is the founder and editor of Writing Forward, a blog packed with creative writing tips and ideas.

Comments

20 Responses to “How to Become a Better Writer”

  1. Peter Minj says:

    I don’t exactly have a buddy group of writers.I have embarked on writing the first draft of my first novel.I have kept a few friends to provide me feedback on my writing so that i can get more on what the readers would like.I plan to complete my novice novel’s maiden rough draft by October. I dream of becoming more than a mediocre writer and have become a frequent dreamer of late.Thanks to the encouragement the beginners find in this wonderful site.

  2. Kat Collins says:

    Excellent advice! Being a writer is hard work. It’s something we have to work at every single day. I find if I don’t make a time commitment and deadline with myself, I’ll keep pushing it off to do other things…none of them necessarily more important, but maybe more fun on certain days. Thanks for the reminders that writing is something I have to do daily.

  3. RICH SATTANNI says:

    very helpful info.

  4. not_a_writer says:

    A fascinating piece, as always, Melissa. It’s a bit like losing weight in a way; we all know HOW to do it but want someone to make it easier than eating less and exercising more! In short, we want a Fairy Godmother to turn us into writers! Somehow, I think that’s unlikely – don’t you?

    By the way, I loved the sense of fun in the picture to this post – it’s generally thought of as the worst first line in history! Thank you for reminding me of it.

    • I don’t think it’s the worst first line. I think that it was popular and got repeated so much that it became a cliché. It’s actually the first line of one of my favorite childhood books (A Wrinkle in Time), so maybe I’m biased ;)

      Yes, writing is a LOT of work. I find it to be more work and more exhausting than most other work that I’ve done. I think that the process of using both sides of your brain is quite taxing (but in a good way).

      • not_a_writer says:

        Hello again, Melissa. I didn’t/don’t know the book ‘A Wrinkle in Time’, and I certainly didn’t want to cast aspersions on your favourite children’s book. The infamous line was the opening to Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1830 novel, Paul Clifford, and in full is here, for the benefit of those who haven’t come across it:

        It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

        I defy you to say that’s not pretty dire!

        • I think it’s a pretty good opening for a novel, and yes, it is dire indeed! I know that it’s seen as a cliché line; I just wanted to point out that it has been used effectively ;)

  5. I am yet to find a post of yours that’s not beneficial or influential to my writing. You have my most sincere gratitude for the abundance of advice available through this website.

  6. Aziza says:

    Thanks for this reminder to keep sharpening and working.

  7. Great list. #2 is easily the most important. The best way to improve your writing is to just write. And write often! Another tip to add to your list (which may contradict #10) is to write something different. Try a different writing style (funny if you’re always serious), or write about a topic you’re not too familiar with. Even if it’s just a blog post or something no one will see. It’s a great exercise to shake your creative juices up.

    • Hm. I actually think that reading is even more important than writing, but there comes a point when we are well read and need to turn our attention to writing. I always say that reading and writing are the two most important activities for a writer. Can’t have one without the other! I agree that writers will benefit from exploring different forms, genres, and styles. It’s a great way to get your creativity flowing :)

  8. Matthew says:

    Thanks for the tips! I have been struggling with my first novel of late and I have been worried that its becoming more of what I usually write so your tips are going to help me greatly. Thanks again.

  9. Markie says:

    Just stumbled upon your site and appreciated it greatly. Have printed the above ten steps and posted them near my desk. I especially took note of your emphasis on reading – something I’ve always thought true but don’t hear often. Anyway, I’ll be looking at the rest of your work, and thank you very much.

    By the way, regarding opening lines: some decades ago, while passing through the empty writing room of a “blocked” writer/friend, I noticed just one line written on the page in his typewriter.
    It read: The night was moist.