Writing strategies for people who say they can’t write

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Skills and aptitudes are not evenly distributed. While some people are more inclined towards athleticism or languages, some may have an affinity for painting or writing. If you think that you do not have what it takes to be a successful writer, this article is meant to change your mind.

Sure, you may not write for Essayexaminer any time soon, but these tips will put you on the path towards success.

1.  Treat writing like a craft, as well as an art form

The idea of a writer that most people hold is a stereotype: A pretentious, artsy type who is also a social recluse. Although there are elements of truth in that generalization, writing is a very practical craft. Instead of focusing on how you can get inspiration to write the next great novel of the century, practice writing basics first.

As with any craft, practicing the basics will ultimately produce the best results. You will have time to explore your artistic side after you practice how to write a coherent paragraph.

The mentality of treating writing like a profession such as wood carving or welding will help you. Re-learning the fundamentals will make your work seem more professional, and it will also save you a ton of money on editing.

2.  Read, read, read

By far, the best strategy for improving a skill is to watch a master at work. Thankfully, you have a few millennia of humanity’s best literature at your fingertips. Pick your favorites, and devour each line. Do so not only for entertainment value but also as training.

You will find that specific skills will simply rub-off on you by merely reading frequently. Reading is by far the easiest and most entertaining way to improve your writing aptitude.

Your vocabulary will expand passively, almost as by osmosis. It is incredible just how many things your mind will pick up unconsciously.

As you get better and better, graduate to denser, more abstract materials. It’s like working out: you have to increase the weights as you get stronger.

3.  Outlining

When it comes to successful authors, some of them have chaotic methods of writing. On rare occasions, a talented writer will just write whatever comes into mind, translating the stream of consciousness into words.

After, they make order out of this chaos by trimming and adjusting the content until it matches an ideal vision. Many know this as the “gardening” approach to authorship.

I would not recommend this method for many reasons that we’re not going to analyze here.

By far, the best method for writing anything is to have a complete outline before you start writing. Outlining is ideal for any sort of task, from writing essays to publishing news articles or ebooks.

4.  Never skip a day

I once read the biography of a famous author in which he recalled forcing himself to write daily. It didn’t matter if he didn’t know what to write or that he simply didn’t feel like doing the work. As an act of willpower and habit formation, he did it anyway.

This behavior aided in his development as an artist and a wordsmith.  I recommend that you do the same.

If daily sessions seem a little extreme for you, at least try to write as often as possible. In the long run, it will make writing more pleasurable.

As a beginner, you are worrying about the syntax and spelling, in addition to the creativity of the content itself. By writing daily, the process will be ingrained in your consciousness. Putting words on paper will be pedaling or running: it will happen automatically.

This method frees up your mind to think more creatively instead of having to worry about grammar.

5.  Form a support group

When thinking too hard for a long time, you enter a zone where you lose touch with reality. The creative process often involves bending words, ideas, and events into an entertaining story. Do this for a long enough time, and you lose track of what works and what doesn’t.

This creative blur is why you will need someone from whom to bounce off your ideas. Ideally, this would be someone you know and can meet regularly.

Book clubs used to be more common, yet you can still find interested communities online.

No matter how you do it, you will need feedback for your content to sharpen it.

Conclusion

Becoming a better writer is all about habit formation. It’s all about repeating something so often that it doesn’t require much intellectual effort or willpower to accomplish.

You can achieve this by practicing the basics, reading, and writing as much as possible, learning to do an outline, and getting honest feedback.

I saved the most important tip for the conclusion: take everything each step at a time. If you start visualizing the mountain of work you will have to do, you will lose hope. Takes each day as it comes, step by step.

In no time at all, you will be a better writer.

Story by Laura Fields


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