I have read so many great posts lately about how to be a better writer. My recent posting of a James Clear article helped to crystalize quite a few ideas for me. There are so many obstacles that could get in our way to becoming the writer we want to be.
So here are my top ten tips for sidestepping those obstacles and becoming the best writer you can be. And best of all – they are all completely down to you. They don’t rely on you being ‘appreciated’ or ‘discovered’ or ‘supported’ or a ‘bestselling author’. They are just about you being able to tap into your own resources to become the best writer you can be. Some of that other stuff may come, but the important thing is that you give this your best shot. Because if you don’t start and keep persisting, you will never get there…
- BE CONSISTENT: Be consistent – just do it. Don’t get distracted or derailed by trivialities. Set up habits that you can repeat every day – habits that will help you to make progress on whatever you most want to achieve.
- EMBRACE BOREDOM: Expect that you will sometimes be bored or uninspired. Embrace it and harness it – it is part of being consistent. When you do something regularly – when you show up EVERY DAY – then you can’t expect that every day will be extraordinary.
- ACCEPT THAT SOMETIMES IT WILL BE HARD: Find ways to get things done – even when it is not easy. Don’t expect things will always come easily. Some of the best things come after you win a hard-fought battle
- TURN UP EVERY DAY: Be someone who turns up every day and just gets on with it – no matter what. Let yourself be serious about what you do (a dilettante would only show up when they feel like it).
- CELEBRATE INCREMENTAL WINS: Take note of the small wins you achieve each day – they will help to buoy you up during the times when things are not going so well. I find a ‘Success diary’ works really well
- LEARN FROM OTHERS BUT DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO THEM: Don’t expect that your writer’s journey will be the same as anyone else’s. If someone you know is having huge success and you can’t seem to jump the first hurdle, don’t let it demotivate you. You are a different person and you will have your own journey. But if you are true to yourself and give yourself every opportunity to succeed, then why shouldn’t you get there in the end?
- DEVELOP GOOD HABITS: Set yourself realistic goals and then work on developing the habits to get you there. Instead of telling yourself you intend to write a great novel (which is pretty daunting), tell yourself that you will set aside x hours to write every day. That novel could still emerge – one day at a time. It will never be written all at once, so don’t expect that of yourself.
- GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO WRITE: Do you sometimes feel guilty when you take time out to write? Perhaps you should be cleaning the house, playing with the kids, taking the dog for a walk… The list could be endless. But remember, if you are a writer, then you need to have time to write. It needs to become a part of your schedule. You are not just being indulgent, you are doing what you are supposed to do. So don’t feel guilty – write!
- NURTURE YOUR CREATIVITY: Don’t overanalyze your writing until you have finished the first draft. Allow yourself to develop your stories and let the creative juices flow. There will be plenty of time for agonizing and reviewing and editing and reworking later. But first, harness your ideas.
- EXEMPLIFY PERPETUAL MOTION: This is a bit like number one, but with a different spin. Think about the cycle of your work. Start – Continue – Don’t stop… Your writing will be a constant force. You will sit down and start something – just start it and see where it goes. You will keep at it, adding, expanding until you have developed it into a story you are happy with. You will aim to finish something that you can share with others – to prove you are not just talking about being a writer, you are actually doing it. This may only be a chapter or a short story, or it may be an epic novel. Whatever it is, know that you can finish it… BUT and this is the important bit, don’t think the end of the story is the end of your effort. It is just the beginning. Don’t lose heart, just keep on polishing that gem and starting some new ones.
I hope these tips help you to improve and perhaps even transform your writing habits. I would love to hear how your journey progresses, so please leave me a comment!