2 Daily Practices to Become A Great Writer

by | Jan 22, 2019 | Essays

I take it as a compliment when people tell me they want to be a writer.  It implies that they see me as a writer.  Being recognized as a writer feels good because I have worked hard at it.  When people ask me for writing advice, I give them two tips.  These two daily practices will make you a better writer, whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned professional.

1) Write Three Pages Into a Journal Every Day

Write three pages into a journal every day.  Handwrite it, and write stream of consciousness.  It doesn’t matter what you write.  Write the first thing that comes to mind.  If you’re thinking about dinosaurs, write about dinosaurs.  If your mind jumps from one topic to the next, let it.  The point is to get the words flowing every day.  Writing is like a muscle, and by training it every day, the muscle gets stronger and stronger.  Write three pages into a journal daily, stream consciousness, and watch your writing and creativity improve.  Writing is often a discovery process; you discover what you think by writing your ideas down.

This stream-of-consciousness technique is at the heart of The Artist’s Way, which I have used and would recommend to any writer or artist who wants to boost their creativity.  I have done it, and it works.  Give it a shot if you are feeling stuck.

2) Read Great Writing

If you want to be a great writer, then read great writing. You know the old saying, ”Garbage in, garbage out.”  Well, it applies to writing.  If you are reading garbage, then your writing will be garbage.  To be a great writer, read the work of the masters.

Pick five or ten of your favorite authors – real masters of their craft – and immerse yourself in their work.  Read everything they’ve ever written. Read books by writers who you admire and want to write like.  If all you read are gossip columns, you will write like a gossip columnist.  If you want to write like a masterful novelist, you must read expert novelists’ work.  Find people who you want to write like and read their work.

If you’re wondering what qualifies as ”great writing,” the answer is: great writing stands the test of time.  Read the classics and read books that are destined to become classics.

The quality of the content you write will resemble the quality of the content you read – so read great writing!  Being a great reader is essential to being a great writer.  Show me a writer who doesn’t read, and I will show you a poor writer.

Reading is learning, and you get to choose who you learn from.  Learn from the best.

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