Practice Makes Perfect…err…Better
By Duke Greenhill, Chief Marketing Officer
3 Simple Hacks to Quickly Become a Better Writer
Let’s face it: most of us will never be Hemingway, Pynchon, Capote, King or even Seuss… but we can be much better writers if we adopt certain practices — hear that? Practices — to become a little better each day.
1. WRITE EVERY DAY
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice every day. Whether that’s journaling, blogging, or just taking the time to really craft a single, special email each day, the habit of daily practice will make you a better writer. And, don’t worry, Gladwell’s “10,000 Hours to Greatness” has been many times debunked. It won’t take anywhere near that long to see improvement. Just a little each day, and you’ll recognize that you’re quickly, incrementally, growing stronger and stronger as a writer.
2. READ AS MUCH AS YOU WRITE, AND WRITE WITH THE “READER’S MIND”
In his book, On Writing, Stephen King said, “If you want to be a great writer, you have to do two things: write a lot and read a lot.” Writing a lot, we took care of in hack number one, but reading a lot is just as important — especially reading the authors, styles and types of stories you want most to write yourself. Reading a lot is critical because it helps us to form what’s called our “Reader’s Mind.” The Reader’s Mind is that voice that activates when we’re writing and reminds us: “What does your reader need and want from this?” “What does your reader expect that we have to give them, and what expectations do they have that we can thwart to create intrigue?” “What tropes do we have to satisfy, and which ones can we cleverly disrupt?” And most importantly, “What is the “voice” — or language style — of my reader?” Once you’ve read enough, and consistently, to write with your Reader’s Mind, you’ll be sure to surprise and delight your audience at each and every turn.
3. WRITE (AND READ) NO MATTER WHAT
E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web and the seminal Strunk and White text on writing style, said, “A writer who waits on the perfect conditions in which to work will die before ever putting a single word on a page.” Regardless of how you feel, whether it’s a busy day, or whether you think you just don’t have anything to say… WRITE AND READ ANYWAY. As Guardian’s “best living novelist,” Haruki Murakami said: “The repetition itself — not even the reading or the writing — becomes the important thing.”
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