How to be a better writer? It’s a question I get asked often, though I do not want to convey that I am a seasoned writer holding serious expertise in the field. I have done a reasonable amount of professional content writing for over four years now, but one can never be sure of being a great writer because of the dynamics of the field. What one might perceive as brilliant writing can seem laborious to another.
However, as an answer to the question asked to me, I have put together a list of things that I have done over the years to enhance my flow of thought and spontaneity in writing. I can say my EQ and a considerable portion of IQ lies in creative writing, so these points are specific to creative writing. Some points may seem obvious, but they are only here because they are tried and tested ways to be a better creative writer. And few of them may seem strange, they’re here because they have worked for me.
- Obvious point – read, read and read.
No writer has ever been a good writer without being a good reader, period. Just how your body responds to whatever you feed it, your mind responds to whatever you feed it too. Feed it quality content and you can produce quality content, simple as that. And read a large variety of books from fantasy fiction to non-fiction; do not stick to one genre.
Make a conscious effort to point out and observe certain things in your surroundings. From personal experience, I can say that pin pointing particular aspects can in fact be of great help, such as a neighbour’s daily morning routine, mood patterns of a friend, responses your teacher gives to a particular student, etc. As long as you don’t get caught for stalking, you’ll turn up with specific details, which make for quality content.
- Ask yourself intriguing questions
You must have heard of people say ‘I feel low, but I don’t know why’, or ‘I hate that person, I don’t know why’. Whenever you feel such things, ask yourself exactly why and you’ll see that as long as you’re honest with yourself, there’s always an answer. This small exercise of getting to the root of things helps you understand certain phenomena. You’ll generally know why people are behaving in a particular way around you and the empathetic quality is great for a creative writer.
- Watch movies for the dialogues
Watch movies with sub titles on and pay attention to the dialogues, narrations and idioms. Movies that have great storylines generally also have a load of literary intellect involved with regard to the above mentioned things. Don’t fail to notice how they strategically use humour.To give you a few very familiar examples – Life of Pi, Avatar, Interstellar, Saving Private Ryan and so on. The movies are great – but watch them again and again for the literary intellect involved. This is helpful for creative writers to understand the forms and levels of genius there is out there in the world, and build our own standards.
- There is no substitute for research
Study a topic in hand. Use that ridiculously comfortable tool named Google. Do not write just based on what you think you know; never.
- Start small, but start nonetheless
One does not become a good writer overnight. It takes months, if not years of practice to reach a point where you can be satisfied with your own work. Start with simple writing practices such as maintaining a journal or a private blog. The blog you are reading this article on is in fact a private blog that I created for this very purpose.
A lot of writings are found on the internet which say a lot but convey nothing, or convey pretty much what we already knew in different words. For a writer to stand out, it is important that we convey something new and convey it effectively. So when you have a topic in mind, see how far you can deconstruct it and how many different elements of it you can address. All the ‘how, why, where’ questions can be addressed sequentially and effectively and the more you do this, greater your skills will be.
Write every day. Every single day, without fail.
I’ve put this list together off the top of my head, as I asked myself the things that have helped me become a fairly confident writer. If it does not resonate with you, you are perhaps a different kind. If it does, feel free to let me know if you need more elaboration. I realize I can be rather reserved with my tone of writing, especially on my own blog.
Featured image taken via Google