I started blogging consistently in January of 2010, with a goal of becoming a better communicator over the course of the year. I still have a LONG way to go, but have picked up a few tips along the way. Writing is a skill that can be developed significantly over time with intent and a little bit of practice.
If you are a casual writer, author, blogger or maybe you just journal or dream about writing, this post is for you! Here are 8 Things You Can Do Today To Be a Better Writer:
Write. Just write. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you don’t think you have anything to say. You think pro athletes feel like working out every day? Heck no, but they do it anyway, even when they don’t feel like it! Writing is the same way. Sure, you will have moments when you are completely inspired to write, but probably not every day. The best way to get better at writing is to…write.
Get a platform. Find a way to get your writing out so that others can read it. Start a blog, join a writer’s group, utilize social media. Once you have a platform, you can truly begin to have fun and grow as you write more and more (Check out Why I Blog- a short video from Seth Godin on blogging and growing as a writer). When you get a platform, your audience and their level of interaction will help you determine the level of effectiveness in your writing.
Clarify your values and write from these values. Planted deep within you are certain values. These values affect your decisions, relationships, and how you decide to spend your time here on earth (An example of a value- family. Family is the most important thing in the world to me. If I succeed at everything else in life, but fail my family, I consider my life a failure. Therefore, my value of family affects the way I view the world and the way I write). Some of your values have been there a lifetime, others you have developed over the span of your life. Identify these values and allow them to serve as a backbone for your writing. Here is a post on identifying values.
Tap into your passions. Passions and values overlap. Values are the non-negotiable, most important things in your life. Passions are what you love to do. What are you most passionate about? Write about that. Wind sailing? Photography? Investing in leaders? Write about your passions (Ex. If one of your core values is family, and you love photography- perhaps those are connected. You can capture families with your pictures. I know a guy that recently quit his job to focus on his photography business, so he could spend more time with his family). Whether it’s photography or anything else, write about what you are passionate about!
Write about your struggles or interests. If you write about something that you are genuinely interested in or concerned about, you will have a blast writing about it! Also, your readers will sense your interest and stay engaged with you. If you write about something that will help a lot of other people solve a problem, then you are really on to something!
Determine your intent. As you write through your core values and passions, what is it that you are hoping to accomplish? Are your writing to create awareness about a particular passion? To earn an income and drive traffic to your blog? To inspire others to action? What is your purpose for writing? Clarify your intent. Beginning with the end in mind will allow you to gain focus and be a more effective writer.
Ask for involvement from readers. Don’t just write your opinions. Engage people, ask questions. Hear what people are saying and even give them a voice every so often by posting their responses. You’ll gain an edge when your writing becomes about THEM, and not about YOU. Ask for this involvement by seeking feedback and comments when you write.
Call for action. Write in way that calls people to action. Challenge readers to do something as a result of what they’ve read. This is when your writing has the opportunity for serious impact. Think about how your words can actually inspire someone to be different, to live differently- pretty powerful stuff!
Writers, which of these 8 things do you connect with the most? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments! I’d like to challenge you to pick one or two things to work on, then develop a few action steps that you can take to grow in that area. What are other things we can do to be better writers? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments!