“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” - Ernest Hemingway
When it comes to writing, there’s never a finish line.
You will never take a step back, smile, and whisper to yourself, “Ahh. I’ve made it.” Sorry, it just won’t happen.
It is possible, however, to improve your writing skills.
Since I started writing seriously, I have incorporated distinct strategies into my writing routine. Here are the four things that have worked for me.
Write Every Single day
I write every single day.
Regardless of how tired I am, how uninspired I feel, and how much other work that needs to be done, I sit at my desk every single morning and write for at least two hours.
Inch by inch, I’ve seen incremental progress.
It’s not much. In fact, if you blink you might miss it. But it’s there. For the taking. And I’ll only keep progressing if I keep up my daily writing routine.
It does not matter if what you write never gets an audience. It does not matter if what you write goes viral. External factors do not matter. There are some terrible books on the New York Times’ Best Sellers List.
Write every single day because you respect the craft and want to become better than you were yesterday.
Put Your Writing Out There
We do not improve without the help of others.
We might think that we’re writing the next Catcher in the Rye but for all we know it might be complete garbage.
It is absolutely crucial that you put your writing out there for people to read. You need feedback — especially from your target audience. What hits home with them? What misses the mark?
Not only are you collecting data about your writing, but you are also creating a dialogue with your readership. You’re building a platform. Let them grow with you. You don’t have to be perfect right away.
It is a mutually beneficial relationship.
Read, Read, Read
All great writers are voracious readers.
I read for two main reasons.
First, to find inspiration. You do not have to exclusively read about the Art of Writing. In fact, you should read books from a wide array of genres. The wider amount of topics that you pull from, the more of a well-rounded person you will be. I read both fiction and non-fiction — both are equally important to the development of my writing. Inspiration is everywhere.
Second, to keep me motivated. I enjoy reading autobiographies from the greatest minds of the 20th and 21st century — especially artists, philosophers or entrepreneurs — and learning from their failures and successes. Often, these Leaders had humble beginnings and failed before they “made it.” These stories remind me that success never comes without sacrifice.
Experience As Much As Possible
Take a walk.
Eat dinner alone at a restaurant.
Travel somewhere new.
Go to an art gallery.
Visit a cemetery.
Have coffee with someone you have nothing in common with.
You get the point.
In order to be a great writer, it’s not enough to just have the technical skills.
You must generate quality content that your audience wants to read.
You have to share engaging stories, lessons and vulnerability.
You may be able to structure your sentences, but if you don’t have any great stories when you pick up your pen, you’re toast.
The more you throw yourself into new, exciting and uncomfortable experiences, the more you will open yourself up to different values, cultures, and lifestyles. This is an asset.
Respect the writing process with patience, persistence and commitment. By incorporating these four strategies, it will be unfathomable to not see progress in both your technical skills and the stories that you share.
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this story, you should check out www.jenonmoney.com where I write about the intersection of money, work and happiness. — Jen