By: Dani Kessel
When it comes to a new skill or job, there’s a natural fear of failing. We all want to succeed. But, everybody is a novice at some point. There is zero shame in admitting that you’re just starting out. As a professional writer with a Bachelor’s degree and a vast writing and editing background, I have a lot that I can share with beginning writers.
If you’re looking to grow as a writer, here are tips I’d recommend:
- Write every day
Whether it is journaling, blogging, or writing fiction, writing every single day will get you in the practice of writing even when it’s difficult. Furthermore, writing on a regular basis will strengthen the pathways which translate thoughts to words to your hand (if writing longhand or typing) or your mouth (if using talk to text software).
- Read regularly
Reading and writing go hand in hand. When we read, we absorb the art of language, expand our vocabularies, increase our imaginations, and learn from the successes and mistakes of other writers. It is important that writers of any skill level stay avid readers. When you read on a regular basis, you’ll allow yourself a break while also keeping your brain attuned to writing.
- Study your craft
Writing is a skill. It is something you can learn and refine over time. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s purely talent-based. You can have the best idea, but if you don’t know how to build a story arch or how to show readers a setting with just words you will not create a good piece of writing. Study these things. Also, we don’t write the way we speak, and vice versa. You need to practice writing in different tenses, points of view, and pacing speeds. It is important to learn the craft. One of the biggest downfalls of self-published books is that these writers tend not to focus on grammar, structure, or punctuation. They tend to have frequent errors because the craft wasn’t ever a focus. Give yourself the best bedrock possible by making your craft a priority.
- Learn how to identify and utilize ethos, pathos, and logos
In every story, a writer must convince the readers why they should care enough about the characters and plot to keep reading. Ethos, pathos, and logos are tools that help achieve this goal. These three components are included in virtually every form of writing.
Ethos – appealing to authority and qualifications
Pathos – appealing to emotion
Logos – appealing to logic
Examples of these can be seen in the very first paragraph of this article. I used the natural human fear of failing (pathos), the logic that every writer was a beginner once (logos), and my education and experience as a professional in this field (ethos) to convince you to consider these tips. In the end, the use of these tools can determine the success of any piece of writing.
- Don’t limit yourself to one genre or style of writing
When you’re first starting out as a writer, you don’t know exactly what you’ll be good at. You might have preferences and ideas, but by exploring you allow yourself to grow. You might discover you have a real penchant for poetry or flash fiction, etc. You might read YA Realistic Fiction but be talented at writing Sci-Fi/Fantasy. You open up the possibilities by choosing not to limit your writing.
- Separate your writing sessions from your editing sessions.
Do not try to write and edit at the same time! I cannot stress this enough. If you attempt it, you’ll end up interrupting your thoughts and the flow of writing. You’ll lose great ideas while revising phrases. Plus, your editing will not be as good as you’d like it to be. Take the time you need for writing. Only when you’re done should you edit anything. I even recommend putting a good half hour to an hour between these tasks. This allows your eyes a break. You will be in the best shape for revisions if you aren’t fatigued.
All in all, these tips will help create a solid foundation from which you can build your writing skills. As you work out the kinks, you’ll find what works for you personally. You’ll find schedules and routines that fit best with your desired goals. It may take some time, but with enough determination and practice, you’ll notice your writing improving. Don’t lose hope! I believe in you, and I hope that someday I’ll get to read something written by each and every one of you.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you found the tips to be helpful, please like and share the article. And, don’t forget to subscribe before you leave!