Most people can write. But does that mean we all have the abilities and professional skills to do so successfully?
Many people have the misconception that as long as they have a college degree, they have all it takes to be a good writer. Some folks even believe that all the proficient writers you see out there are all born to be writers.
However, while most people can write, few can do so to the required professional standard without going out of their way to learn the tools of trade.
Like any other professional pursuit, becoming a good writer requires its own quota of diligence and learning.
You actually need to cultivate some essential skills to be a good writer.
There are a number of essential skills needed to be a good writer. Luckily, most of the top skills essential to becoming a good writer are not so difficult to cultivate.
Some of those top skills include:
1. Reading skills
When you write, you are making some mental outputs. An output can only be possible if you have meaningful input. And the way to make inputs for your mental resourcefulness is to simply read.
You have probably heard people say, “reading brings out the star in you” That is exactly right. Every writer is a product of what they feed their minds with, oftentimes by way of reading.
2. Branding skills
Many successful writers have linked their success stories to their abilities to brand themselves and market their work properly. This is what draws a large audience to a writer and makes the audience loyal to the writer. You need to offer people something they love and that makes them feel loyal to you.
3. “Writing” skills
I hope it does not surprise you that I’m recommending writing as a basic skill you need to write well. I actually mean the habit of writing here. To become a great writer, you have got to make it a constant practice – you may choose to do it every day. Yeah! Without consistently writing, you might end up not maximizing your potentials as a writer.
4. Confidence skills
Here, it's about how much you are ready and willing to put yourself and your work out there in public. You do not have to wait forever to make your debut. This has been the challenge with many prospective writers. They do not have the temerity to publish for the world to see.
You need to cultivate the boldness and confidence to spread your work for everyone to see. Set aside your fear of opprobrium by, say, reading in public if you want to move forward in your writing career.
5. Editing skills
This is another critical skill for writers. You should be able to edit and proffread your texts to weed out all those obnoxious words and phrases that may distract and bore your readers, or are otherwise incorrect.
As a writer, you shouldn’t always compare yourself with other writers, but do learn from them on how they edit their work.
Also, separate the writing and editing processes. Cultivate the habit of editing after writing until your piece is ready for public consumption.
And always be proactive to develop and grow your skills.
After identifying the skills you need to become a good writer, continously learn and improve those skills to grow as a writer.
Here are some tips to enhance those essential skills and become a better writer.
The most effective way to develop your skills in the art and science of writing is to make a habit of it. Practice it—write, write, and write some more! There is no better advice than that. Keep practicing and you'll improve.
If you see an acclaimed cook today, they must have been cooking for some time. If you see a master-painter now, he/she did not just begin today. They’ve been doing it for a while, perfecting their skills.
So, practice by writing every day. Prepare your mind for the habit of writing by acknowledging your initial write-ups may not be that fascinating, but you will improve as time goes on. Rome was not built in a day.
A most essential trait to exhibit when practicing and honing your writing skills is to always be consistent at writing – make a good habit of it. Before you realize it, you’ll be a well sought-after writer.
Another key factor to pay attention to when you are developing yourself to write skillfully is self-improvement. Of course, you might say that consistent practice is a way of self-improvement, but you need to also realize that this is only one of the many viable ways of self-improvement in writing.
Self-improvement in writing actually encompasses a wide array of things and activities you can do with a view to bring out the best in yourself. For example, each writing event, program or course you enroll in to sharpen your skills as a writer is also a form of self-improvement.
If you download some YouTube videos to watch and you make use of the lessons learned, you are improving yourself as well. If you decide to give each piece you write to an editor or writing partner for review and further enhancements, you are also developing and improving your writing skills.
Always be on the lookout for new ways to improve yourself as a writer and to grow as a person. The more knowledgeable and well-rounded you are, the more likely you are to be a great thinker and writer.