Everyone wants to be successful in the work they do that brings them pleasure. If your path is writing, and you want to achieve success in this field, then it’s important to check your daily habits and how they contribute to improving your writing practice.
Writing is a rather complicated business in that it requires considerable preparation, focus, and technical know-how. You don’t just become a great writer. You have to learn the tools of trade, practice the craft, and make an effort to glean lessons from the best writers.
While innate writing talent or a knack for writing is important, it is not enough. You need to constantly develop your talent and professionalism in writings to win in this business.
Do not wait for writing success to comes automatically by itself—it probably won’t. Instead, be proactive and go get it by doing what’s necessary to improve your writing skills and business.
Best Ways to Develop & Improve Your Writing
Here're some daily habits that will help develop your writing skills and improve your chances of success in the highly competitive writing business:
1. Read daily
One of the most effective ways for self-development is to read widely and study the experiences and work of already successful people in different fields through reading their writings and biographies.
By reading the works of other authors you can see the special way that they put together words, including figures of speech and tone. You can immerse in their style of writing and learn a lot about how good and effective writing looks like. The more you read others’ works, the more examples you see, and the more sides of the writing practice you understand.
You can then use or adapt the different styles you encounter yourself to improve your writing and learn the best ways to present your own thoughts. Reading daily, you will have the opportunity to quickly learn new writing techniques and perceive what constitutes great writing.
2. Enrich your vocabulary
Eloquence and the ability to express your thoughts competently and beautifully in writing is directly dependent on the author's vocabulary. So, how can you enrich your vocabulary?
Aside from reading widely to see new vocabulary in action, install writing applications that can help you learn and memorize several new words every day, such as PowerVocab app.
Ideally, learn anywhere from 5-10 new words per day to grow your vocabulary. Do not forget to also repeat the words already learned every day so that you can consolidate and keep them in memory long-term.
3. Write every day
Write every day is probably advice you have heard before. When writing every day, there some things you can do to ensure it is as pleasurable and productive as possible:
- Create a comfortable routine for writing: Choose the time in which it will be most convenient for you to spend an hour or more for writing.
- Prepare a cozy place and atmosphere for writing: It can be a kitchen where you can go deeper into your own thoughts with a cup of coffee, or it can be a veranda on the balcony so that the morning air freshens pleasantly and gives additional inspiration.
The benefits of daily writing?
First of all, you develop the main habit that is central to the practice for anyone who claims to be a writer—a writing habit. Having developed this habit, you will be less dependent on inspiration. You will be able to “call on” inspiration, and not sit agonizingly waiting for inspiration to come in order to write.
Now, use the following tips and writing advice to develop and strengthen the habit of writing daily:
- Set a reminder. For example, you may use an application like ToDoist.com for this. It will notify you at the set time that it is now time for writing. The application is also installed as an extension for the browser, so by completing this item, you tick off that the action has now been completed.
- Set a limit for writing. No need to strain yourself too much writing every day. Set a limit for daily writing, such as a minimum of one full chapter of the story or one or two blog posts a day. Setting a manageable time limit with regular breaks from writing will help to improve focus, avert burnout, and develop a daily writing habit that sticks.
- Eliminate distractions. Too often our thoughts are interrupted by an incoming call or notification. Move to a quiet workstation and switch your phone to “do not disturb” mode so you are not disturbed and distracted when writing. It may also be necessary to warn family and friends that at certain hours of the day you will be working and unavailable.
4. Employ simple words
Write in a way that is simple to understand. Avoid writing using complex words, sentence structures, and expressions every time. Doing so makes readers unnecessarily stumble when reading your words and can even make comprehension harder than it needs to be. Write simply without dumbing down. This is often the mark of great writing and the key to writing success.
In addition, it is important that after you have written your story, blog post, or article to check the text for mistakes. Read the text out loud to check for errors and areas of improvement, both in how it appears visually with the eye and is audibly heard with ear.
5. Rewrite the words of your favorite authors
Another daily practices to improve your skills is to write from memory the best passages, paragraphs, and expressions of your favorite authors. This way you will be able to internalize the standout skills of your beloved writers and recognize that their choice of words and way with words is within your reach too.
Rewriting affecting passages from your favorite authors from memory is also a good way to practice writing even when there is no inspiration and your thoughts and ideas are not fully formed yet. It jogs your creative mind and stirs up your writing muse.
6. Study established theories and standards of the practice
As mentioned earlier, a writer's natural talent falls short in the absence of a firm grasp of writing techniques, styles, and best practices of the genre and type of writing involved.
Study and understand the established norms in the specific writing field you are in, and in the general writing practice as a whole. Only then can you navigate the practice like a professional and even competently know when to break the established norms, if and when necessary.
Read something about the best theories and instructions in particular genres, leading style guides, accepted rules of grammar and punctuation, and research other pertinent issues every day to improve your overall theoretical and practical understanding of the craft.
Classic books on writing like “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynne Truss and The Elements of Style by W. Strunk and E.B White are a good place to start learning about the established norms, theories, and fundamentals of writing well to improve the standard of your own writing.
It is important to put into practice the ideas and rules read for a better understanding of the basics of writing and assimilation of the information provided.
7. Convey thoughts and ideas succinctly
It is considered a mark of high expertise when an author is able to clearly convey the story, thoughts, observations and or feelings not in long, meandering texts, but in a short and sweet manner.
Rewrite long sentences to shorten them and try to deliver more substance in fewer words. For example, re-read what you wrote yesterday, packing all the information and meaning in a brief and more impactful way. Doing this every day is good practice for your application of proper synonyms and vocabulary, and also for conveying info and stories as succinctly as possible.
Having mastered this technique, it will be easier for you to express your thoughts and ideas in a way that will be most accessible and understandable to the reader. Keep in mind that the longer the wording, the greater the chance that the meaning of what is being said will be lost.
8. Jot down ideas and structure your notes
Your daily writing practice should also include recording the ideas that pop in your mind and queries you may want to look up later in a notebook. Jotting down ideas is a great way to ensure your creative thoughts are recorded and preserved for future use in your writings.
Your notes will already contain some kind of order when you write them down, but to better understand them you’ll need to ensure you structure your own notes correctly. For example, every day go back and read through your notes from the previous day.
Try to look at them with a fresh eye and to combine them depending on their meaning or correlation to come up with more coherent and well-developed ideas. This can be a great way to never run out of ideas for writing and to refine any theories and concepts you may have.
It may also be necessary to rewrite some points to get a clearer picture of concepts. One paragraph or sentence can be related to another or completely different. Identify the connections, organize them properly, and join the dots for more thoughtful writing.
9. Add your daily notes, sketches of thoughts in your writings
The daily practice of immediately writing down all the thoughts that suddenly pop in your head will not be useful if you just let them lie there in your notebook unused.
For this reason, see how you can use the notes you have in your notebook or smartphone note-taking app. This practice will not only help you to remember all the fresh and interesting thoughts and ideas that have arisen in your head, but also add a little spice to your writing.
You have to remember that oftentimes spontaneous ideas are usually the most creative and interesting. At the end of the day, you can review all the notes and structure them. This can make good ideas for a book or for a new story.
10. Look at the story anew from a different angle
Once you have your ideas well-organized and written in a draft, an excellent method to improve and enhance your creative work before presenting it to the world is to consider the story from a different angle. Doing this often can help you cover all the bases in your narrative.
For example, if you wrote a story from the point of view of a girl. She talks about her relationships with her family, with animals, or just about her adventures. Try to describe the same events, only this time from the perspective of another character in this story.
When you look at the story from different angles day after day in this way, it can help you sort out the characters and plot, opening new boundaries for a very interesting and solid story.
Sometimes, when you use this method, something new, unexpected, and more exciting can emerge, making your story a big hit when it is finally published to the public.