Daily Writing Leads to Better Writing
Recently, we talked about developing better writing habits, and I shared a few writing tips to help you improve your writing habits over time.
Today, I want to talk about why the number one tip on that list was write every single day, and I’ll explain why it’s the best path to better writing.
Writing on a Whim
I started out writing poetry just before I hit my teens. Writing was a sacred outlet, and I poured my dreams, frustrations, and desires onto the pages of my notebook.
During those years, I developed an unhealthy attitude about writing, one that I believe many young or new writers cling to — that talent is all that matters. You had it or you didn’t, and it never occurred me that something that required talent would also benefit from hard work. So, I wrote, but only when I felt like it. Weeks would go by and I wouldn’t write a word, and then in just a few days, I’d half fill a notebook with my amateur poetry and angst-ridden tween rants.
By the time high school was over, my belief that good writing was all about talent talent and the habit I’d developed for writing only when the fancy struck me were embedded into my thinking and my behavior. Later, my whole perception of writing would be shaken.
Eventually, I entered the creative writing program at university. For the first time in my life, writing was more than a casual hobby; it became challenging. Surrounded by peers of equal or even greater talent, I started pushing myself. I suddenly realized that I wanted to produce better writing — I wanted to be a talented writer, yes, but also a developed one. My coursework required that I write constantly. In one semester I would have anywhere from two to four writing classes, with lots of homework and plenty of projects, which kept me busy writing every single day.
Immediately, I began to see a change in my own work, an improvement. The poetry I wrote was consistently better than what I’d written the day before. My short stories, once flat and lifeless, started to take on some energy, and my essays, which had always been strong, reached new heights.
There were many reasons for this rapid growth. I learned the value of editing, of being a choosy reader, of using resources, like books that were packed with writing exercises designed to improve different aspects of my writing or help me discover new terrain in my work. The feedback from peer reviews were invaluable.
One course would be laden with critiques, and other courses wouldn’t involve them at all. Some instructors liked to see the raw footage, the unedited stuff; others made you proofread and revise incessantly before turning anything in. One thing, however, was completely consistent: daily writing had become an ingrained habit for me.
Better Writing Happens When You Do it Every Day
It was making a habit out of writing daily, making it a priority in my life, that had the greatest impact on improving my writing.
There are thousands of tips out there for how to be a better writer. You’ve read the books or at least heard of them. There are articles and lists, websites (yes, like this one), and short courses that say do this, do that, write sideways or upside down. Write in a park, or try a café, use a thesaurus, make sure you use spell-check…
All of that advice does have value. Sometimes, you’ll find a golden writing tip that works perfectly for you, but it’s rare for those tips to prove helpful for everyone. Only a very few bits of advice are truly applicable for every writer across the board, and writing daily is first and foremost among them.
What are You Waiting For?
It almost seems obvious if you think about it. You want to be a writer, so uh, yeah, you should write. A lot. Yet many people who say they want to be writers don’t.
Daily writing is by far the best way to become better at your craft. Writing regularly will even increase your creativity. Some people worry that if they write too often, they’ll run out of ideas. But the truth is that the more you create, the more creative you become. Writing daily will only give you more writing ideas than ever before.
Are there a few extra-specially talented writers out there who can just produce mind-boggling work without practicing regularly? Of course; they’re prodigies. Should you let a day go by without writing a single word? Yes, occasionally, that’s probably a good thing to do. A little break now and then can give you some perspective. It can rejuvenate you.
If your goal is better writing, then commit to writing every single day. Whether you write for five minutes or an hour, doing it daily ingrains writing as a regular part of your life. Stick with it and eventually, you’ll master it.
So, keep on writing (every single day)!
Do you write every day? Occasionally? Only when you feel like it? How has your writing frequency improved or affected the quality of your writing? Do you have any tips to share that will help others produce better writing? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.