Want to become a stronger writer? **
You should. We *all* should. There should always be a little discontent in your heart, a little nibbling gnaw, caused by the scope of your vision. I think it should feel like your ideas are always better than your toolbox. That’s growth, and that’s the point.
But don’t let your desire to become a stronger writer keep you from sharing your work with others. Perfectionism can be an enemy to creativity. If we feel paralyzed by the understanding that we’ll never be able to communicate our ideas perfectly, it can keep us from one of the most rewarding parts of being an artist who’s in love with words. Your writing will take on new meaning and purpose when you share it with others.
So, what’s the solution? I think it’s obvious. Write, share, learn, repeat. Write in the moment, but be willing and eager to grow your talent until you become a master! And you don’t have to slave away until it’s sheer drudgery. Here are a few enjoyable ways to improve and nurture your writing:
Poets have a way of hiding a brick inside a feather. Their word choices, rhythm, and formatting seem effortless and light, but the lines can pack a weighty punch. Read poetry for pleasure, but also watch the verbs, descriptors, and nouns. Notice which words are missing? The fluff. We should cut the fluff from our writing, too.
If you don’t know where to start, some of my favorites are Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, WV poet Sandra Bush, Rumi, and Chinese traditional poetry. These poets can tell a whole story in just a few lines. How!?
Dissect a Book
This will happen naturally as you study writing, but you can be intentional, too. Pick a book to dissect. If it’s one that you’ve read before, do you remember the exact moment you felt the ground fall away beneath you as you soared with the plot? Conversely, where did the action drop you? Where did the engines on the plane sputter, cough, and catch again?
Flip through your favorite books. How can you bring similar energy or tension to your work? Name three things you loved about the book. Can you weave those characteristics or themes into your own writing?
Try Writing Prompts
I find writing prompts can be super effective ways to jump start my creativity and flex my writing muscles. Writing prompts can also be supremely boring. Life’s too short to use boring writing prompts. I made a list of some of my favorites for you to download and use. Pick the ones you like and see if you can work up a poem, short story, or chapter of your memoir.
If you’ve been feeling overly busy this week, or like you’re stuck in a rut with your writing routine, try these tips. Sometimes we get so focused on our writing goals, we forget to enjoy the process, the pure miracle of writing words to transfer thoughts to paper. Take some time–soon, don’t wait–to refresh yourself and sharpen your skills.
NOW YOU: How do you stay sharp? Do you have tips to become a stronger writer?
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