4 Things You Should Do Every Year To Improve Your Writing
If you’re having trouble with creativity in your writing, there are some things you should try that might help get you out of your funk. Obviously, there are probably more than these four tips you could try to do within a calendar year to help you develop as a writer, but I’m talking more in the broad sense of things. The things on this list are aimed at getting the most out of your writing life. So, let’s get right into it.
1. Do Some Bizarre S#!t Just To Write About It
Go on a road trip or try something you don’t normally do, like mountain climbing. I know you may think this will take time away from your writing, but these experiences will not only help you become a more complete writer, they’ll make you more complete as a person as well.
Get out there and meet some strange people. This might give you ideas for characters or help you come up with a great story idea. The more life experiences you have to pull from the more you can give back to your writing later on. A lot of writers are introverts, so this tip might be hard for you to follow. But just know, many writers have come up with their best work from crazy life experiences. Just look at the work of Hunter S. Thompson as a great example. He did crazy better and more frequently than just about anyone, and it really showed in his work. Especially the drug fueled hallucinogenic adventure known as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
2. Self-Publish Some Work
It might take you awhile to get your name out there; at least to the point of having a publisher want to take a look at your work. So, in the meantime, you should self publish some of your own material. Not only is it good practice, but depending on how you want to do it, it’s fairly affordable.
As an added bonus to getting all of the profits, if your work is good enough, you should be able to form a following which could help you land a big publishers since they’ll know your books can actually sell. Or with the way social media and everything is now, you can just expand that base and focus on being a lucrative self published author. There are a bunch of self published authors bringing in six figures. So making a living from your own work is very much doable.
3. Meet Other Successful Creators
People always say, figure out where you want to be in life, then find the person who is already there and do whatever they did to get in that position. I agree with that idea to a certain point, but I don’t like just copying what somebody else did. I do like meeting successful creators at conventions (those are the only places I’ve really got to meet any at this point) because it just gives the feeling that if you work hard enough and put enough into it, you too can get there. The added motivation really helps to keep you going.
It never hurts to do some networking, either. You can find a lot of paying gigs simply by speaking with various creators. Whether it’s a project they are doing, a job position one of their friends is looking to fill, or somebody who happens to be looking for the skills you possess for a project, it’s always a good idea to talk to people and make friends in the business. You never know when a contact will hook you up with a great opportunity. Even if it’s hard, don’t let fear stop you from talking to other creators. Especially if they are where you want to be someday.
4. Edit The Work Of Writers You Like
No, I’m not saying you have to break out the red pen and write down every little thing you think is a mistake, because who am I to tell Stephen King he made writing errors in the Dark Tower series? But you can break down the story and try to figure out how your favorite author might’ve pulled off the surprise ending or a cool storytelling device.
The writers in that upper echelon—or the masters, if you will—are where they are for a reason; learn from them. You can also do this with movies and television. Just make sure you’re paying attention to the story’s plot points and how they progressed the narrative as it moves forward. Another tool many writers have used when they first started out is to simply copy one of their favorite stories word-for-word. This helps you understand pacing and good writing structure. The main thing to do is learn everything you can from your favorite writers and try to improve on the things they do well with your own work. Before long you’ll develop your own unique writing style and author’s voice.
Hopefully this article is able to help you get out of a slump or motivate you to get some more work done. The most important part of being a writer is actually writing. Everything else is just noise. But that noise does contain the fragments which you build your stories from. So don’t ignore it completely. As always, if you have your own suggestions on something that might help improve one’s writing, feel free to leave them down in the comments section.
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