How I Got Better at Writing

How do I get better at writing?” is a question asked often in the comment sections of those blogs about promoting your page. This isn’t one of those blogs of course, but the subject of website growth interests me and so I occasionally write about it. As with anything, becoming a better writer takes practice and dedication (duh, tell us something we don’t know, Brian). Writing isn’t enough in itself, though. I’m no professional author, but I’ve been told over the years that I have some innate talent for it so I thought I’d share a simple list of the things I have done throughout my life that I think make me a decent writer. We all love lists, right?

Read

Reading is at least of equal importance to writing! The simple act of reading someone else’s words will give you ideas for formatting and structure, and will also improve your vocabulary. You don’t need to sit down with a notebook and pen and analyze every book you own, just read.

Sit with your finished writing

Something I struggle with as much as anyone is publishing my posts immediately upon finishing them. My better posts and essays are the ones I let sit for several days, editing them a couple of times before considering them “done”. You may not think of the best way to say something the first or second time you read through it. Sometimes you need to let your brain rest for a day and look at it with fresh eyes. I was skeptical of this until I started writing in college. You really do find dozens of things to edit 24 hours later.

Write every day

I don’t believe in writer’s block! Maybe on a particular day, working on your latest project sounds like less fun than jabbing butter knives under your fingernails. You should still write something.Β If your book or blog posts aren’t inspiring you that day, write about something new. Write a simple letter to yourself, write a journal entry about your day. It doesn’t really matter what you write as long as you sit down and do it. I believe that motivation comes from doing work, not the other way around.

Stay true to your style

When you read the really popular blogs out there, you may be tempted to emulate the way those authors write. This always comes across as fake. I don’t know how people can tell, but they can. Your writing should be like a conversation between you and your reader in a sense. Don’t reach for the thesaurus in order to wow people with an 8-syllable word for pizza, just write the way you speak. I sometimes come across like a pompous dick in my writing. That’s because when I talk to people, I sound like a pompous dick!

Optimize your work space

A cluttered desk creates a cluttered mind. I’ve spent a lot of time making my office an inspiring place that I want to be in. It’s filled with plants, natural light, and photographs that inspire me (none of those corny motivational posters, please). I make sure to clean up after every session so that the next time I sit down it’s tidy and ready for work. There are virtually no distractions which actually makes writing a relaxing experience for me.

Stay healthy

As with all things, a healthy body equals a healthy mind! If you neglect your well-being, your creative pursuits will suffer. We all have the image of the tortured artist secluded in a dark studio cranking out masterpiece after masterpiece, but this was rarely a reality. Artists mingle with other people, eat plenty of healthy fats and protein, and get out in the sunlight for a little while every day. I challenge you to find one successful artist who sits in a dark bedroom and eats potato chips all day! I used to think that I was unique in that I split my time between intellectual activities and physical activities like exercising and running. It turns out that’s what all successful people do.

Writing shouldn’t be a chore, it should bring you joy, but it does take some discipline to flourish. It’s a skill just like anything else so the more you do it, the more quickly you will improve!

20 thoughts on “How I Got Better at Writing

  1. Brian! Nice to know your name! 😊 And what does Ceponatia (your display name) mean, I wonder? πŸ§πŸ€“
    All good points here. 🀩I love the idea of sitting on writing and letting it get better over time. But my inner critic wouldn’t ever seem to let me publish it when I did that. Now I mostly hit publish right after writing. I’m hoping to evolve out of this soon. :))

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am about 50/50 with posting on a delay. If it’s a more personal post about my recovery or some other aspect of my life, I publish it right away. Stuff like this post, though, I’ll wait. This one took about three days which seems like a lot but in actuality I probably worked on it 10 minutes a day. Haha.
      Ceponatia doesn’t mean ANYTHING! Lol. Ok so, short version, waaay back in the 90s, the sci-fi channel had these unique commercials to advertise their station in between shows. One of them was this woman running through a hallway or something (it was a long time ago idk) and she got to a platform and at the end of it there were digits for a loading dock or something… C-3PD. I needed a unique name that I could use on any website I went to that nobody would think of so I translated that to Cepo. Ceponatia came from going to sites that needed usernames longer than 4 letters. I don’t know what made me think of that over something like Cepodonkulus but it has stuck for two decades!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow I love this story!! And imagining a woman running to the brink of the next platform! (btw when you first visited my blog I actually thought you were female, based only on your username, in the very beginning, before your posts made it more clear that you were male). “Cepodonkulus” OMG too funny πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Yes I like Ceponatia(/Ceponatio?) better. ;))

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Editing is truly what separates novices from intermediates. It’s a difficult habit to build because many people just want to publish and get feedback right away. My best work comes when I wait a few days though. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ll write a rough draft on my phone and edit it on the computer. Then I will publish it the next day. I care a lot about grammar and have read some poorly written books in my lifetime. The last thing I want is a poorly written blog post littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. The horror!😱

    If everyone followed the β€œ15 common grammar mistakes” list that every English teacher harps about in school, we would all be better writers. My mom, who is not an English teacher, used to write my essays for me in high school and university (embarrassing I know). Now, I can happily say that I write my own essays.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good stuff. An opportunity for me to share a few books about writing I’ve been meaning to pass on: On Writing Well; Zinsser. 30th Anniversary Edition is on Kindle. Writing Tools; Roy Peter Clark. Writing With Power; Peter Elbow. Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Why doesn’t that surprise me!? We seem somewhat connected. πŸ‘ Another classic you should probably read, if you haven’t already, is Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones….

        Liked by 1 person

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