The thing is that you don’t have to be a great writer to write a book. Certainly there are many books out there that reek of bad quality. I would know because I’ve read some of them.
So the idea that you have to be a stunning wordsmith to write a book is false. You can even be a terrible writer and hire a great editor to get your ideas and grammar in line. That fact alone should help you when you’re stuck on how to get rid of writer’s block.
However, it certainly does help to be a good writer when you’re trying to connect with the readers and lead them to an insight or action step you want them to take.
Readers who have a great experience with your work will become hooked and desire more from you. That means they will read your other blog posts, buy your other books, or sign up for an online course.
Give them enough value, and they will be eating out of the palm of your hands each time you write something new.
On the other hand, people who read your writing and think “meh” will assume the rest of your content is also “meh.” With so much information online, they won’t bother giving you another chance.
Thus good writing means the difference between a loyal fan and a one-time viewer. Obviously you want to be a good writer with loyal fans, so let’s get to it.
Steps To Become A Good Writer
1. Read as much as you can.
For beginner writers, reading is paramount to your success. When you read you gain creative ideas for your own writing, sentence structures to try, and insights into different authors’ voices and your own writing voice. So a huge tip to becoming a good writer is to read as much as you can.
I’m sorry, but that means you need to cut off the time you normally would spend on television, Netflix, or video games. And instead read to fill your mind with language you can use for your writing. Don’t get too down though, they always say the book was better than the movie.
Start reading all types of books. It doesn’t have to only be non-fiction if you’re a non-fiction writer, or vice versa for fiction. And these books don’t have to be about writing or your career. (But if you’re looking for two books to read that will also improve your writing, start with The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield and On Writing by Stephen King.)
My only precaution is that you don’t let reading get in the way of your writing. Meaning if you only have a one hour window during the day and you need to decide between reading and writing, choose to write. You’ll see why in the next tip.
2. Write every day.
One of the most important habits of successful writers is they write every day, rain or shine. They recognize that writing is like working out. The more you do it, the easier it gets. But if you skip a few days, it’ll be painful to get back in a routine and you risk going a long stretch without doing it.
Besides being consistent, writing daily does two important things.
For one, you meet your draft deadlines sooner and crank out more books thanks to your daily output. And two, you get better at writing and gain confidence each time you sit down to type. This positive momentum snowballs into more action and greater results.
You can make money self publishing, and a lot of it, if you will continue to write and publish books. Those who do make a fortune writing (like the famous self published authors) are always honing their craft every single day, even when it’s not as fun as doing something else.
3. Get feedback and learn from your editor.
If you were a perfect writer (there’s no such thing), you wouldn’t need any feedback or outside edits. But since you’re not, a great way to improve your writing is to get regular feedback from those you trust.
Start by asking a close friend or professor to give an honest critique of your writing. Tell them the best way for you to improve is to know your weaknesses. Focus on the areas you can do better and then repeat this process of getting feedback with other peers.
For blog posts, you can self-edit and do your best to make sure your writing flows and has limited errors. But if you’re writing a book, then you’ll want to hire an editor. (The post how to edit a book walks you through what to do and how to hire an editor.)
During the editing phase, pay attention to what you do well and don’t do so well. Don’t just accept the change and move on. But analyze the edit and why it was made. Each edit you review is a chance to learn and become a stronger writer going forward.
4. Get inspired any way you can.
The easiest way to practice writing is when you’re inspired and have a lot of information to express. Unfortunately this inspiration doesn’t happen on its own, but you can find it.
I already mentioned reading is one way to capture inspiration. Other ways include keeping your eyes and ears open when you’re walking in a public park, hearing conversations at work (that’s one benefit of writing with a day job), or remembering funny stories from your social life.
Each person is different, so what inspires me is probably not going to inspire you. Your inspiration is for you to figure out. Once you do find some avenues that add to your creativity, use any and every writing inspiration you can get.
5. Rewrite with aggression.
The first draft is where you dump all the information from your head to the page. Anyone can do this. But rewriting is the tough work where you sort through the weeds to find the good crops.
During this stage it’s important you take an honest look at your work. Evaluate it for what it is, not how much time you spent on it or how much time it will take to rewrite.
Then cut what needs to go, and rewrite in a concise manner what is meaningful. (This step is critical in transforming your manuscript when you’re attempting to write a book.)
No matter if you’re writing a blog post or book, the goal is to keep the muscle and cut out the fat.
While all of these steps are beneficial, if you had to focus on two then you should give the most attention to #1 reading every day and #2 writing every day. By making these two activities a habit, your writing output and quality will soar.
With Writing, You Get What You Put In
Sports used to be my thing, and I excelled in basketball, baseball, and football. But sports are also unfair because there are many variables you can’t control that impact the game.
Specifically, your height matters a great deal in basketball, but you have no control over it. You can eat healthy, get enough sleep, and stretch, but if you’re destined to be 5’2’’ as an adult then you have virtually no shot of making it far on the hardwood.
In comparison, writing is the opposite. You get out of it what you put in. Meaning you can control your success to a certain degree. How much you read, how much you practice writing, and what you achieve are all up to you—not a predestined element like height.
And that’s the beauty of it. Progress is at your fingertips. So implement the steps outlined above and you will eventually become a good writer—maybe a great writer.
You’ll never know your potential if you don’t give it a try. I have faith in you!
What do you consider a good writer? Can you tell when you read bad writing?