So you aspire to become a writer but scared of your own skills?
Have you picked a pen or open a Word document many times but got distracted by every other thing in the world?
And yet again you can’t sleep at night because the thoughts in your mind push you to pick a pen and write something?
You have bought every kind of stationery (pens and notebooks) to motivate yourself to write but the results are still nada.
You spend hours and hours googling such questions as: ‘How to Start Writing?’, ‘How to overcome writer’s block?’ etc. And still, the production is minimum.
I am here to help you to see the reasons you are not able to write and become a WRITER.
First question first!
Why Do You Want to Write?
Among the many reasons, some of the most common reasons can be as follows:
a. Your job demands it. You may have to write the reports, prepare presentations, write the minutes of a meeting, and prepare a decent resume or a press release.
b. If you are a student, you need this skill to write your projects, articles, presentation and even admission essays.
c. With an ever rising trend of Self-Help books in the market, you might be inspired to write a book of your own. But if you don’t have decent writing skills, you might end up asking/hiring someone to do your job. Sometimes the ‘ghost writer’ is not able to capture the essence of your thought processes.
d. Your mind is full of very creative ideas. You do write them but when the time comes to get the work published, the publishers keep on rejecting you. Reason? Too many grammatical mistakes. So you have to pay for an editing service to do YOUR job.
e. In these times of growing self-publications, we witness the very poor quality of written expressions, unfortunately.
f. And of course, the list can go on for various reasons. Just be honest with yourself and find the honest reason to improve your written expression.
What Steps Can be Taken to Improve your Writing Skills?
a. The first and the most important step to improve writing skills is through READING. You must have heard it from all around. But does it really work? What if you get headaches when you try to read something? What if you find reading boring? Well, you have to find your interest and your field of work. It might be strenuous in the beginning but slowly and gradually you will reach where you aspire to be.
The world is full self-help and easy-to-read books. Use them. In the beginning, you have to put in more effort to understand every word and sentence structure. What you can do is devise a system that works for you the best. I would recommend two options. Firstly, start a Writing & Vocabulary Journal. Use the journal to record whatever attracts you. It can be a line or expression or a phrase. Use the vocabulary section to write every word that is new for you, along with its meaning and a sentence of your own.
The next step will be to find a writing prompt. Take help from Google to search for prompts. (or wait for my Monster Book of Writing Prompts). Give yourself a target of writing at least 300-500 words every day with a prompt and use your writing & vocabulary journal.
b. Taking your writing from this basic level towards your requirement is to determine who your audience is. You can be a student in any field. You have to write a research paper. You have to write a report. You have to impress your prospective employer. You want to express your feelings and desires through poetry and stories. Whatever your field of interest is: determine your audience. Search for the samples for such audience and read the relevant material rigorously. Practice writing for such audience to sharpen your skills. My suggestion is to start your own Blog and practice writing a piece every other day.
c. Determine the medium you intend to publish your work. Be it a blog, a book, a presentation or a newspaper. This will help you to develop on formal or informal writing style. You cannot be casual when working on official reports, of course. Similarly, you cannot be very formal while writing a blog.
d. Above and foremost, after finishing your project, read and revise it. Nothing leaves a bad taste in the mouth than poor grammatical mistakes. There are many apps that help in fixing such problems (Grammarly). But they cannot be 100% accurate. If you can, find a writing/reading partner and help each other with the projects.
Finally, let’s see an example. My example . When I am hit with an idea, it takes me some time to put it on paper. I keep on playing with the idea for hours or days. Once I am ready with an opening (which normally happens in the middle of the night or in a dream) I plan a rough sketch of what should the whole content be about. I do not write an extensive outlining. A simple structure like this work for me:
If I am planning a short story then my plan can include more details. And lastly, I write/type down everything and proofread, of course.
Following is a very basic list that can improve your piece of writing greatly:
Correct and varied sentence structure
A good range of vocabulary
Coherence (linking the ideas sensibly throughout the piece)
Creative thinking to put forward an old idea in a new package
…feel free to add to this list.
A tweet wrongly structured can easily miscommunicate your intended meaning, thus breaking down the whole communication process. So you have to strive to put your meaning across effectively.
You might have also heard “experts” saying that ‘Just Write’, even if you are stuck. But No Sir. This is not a practical advice. Find the purpose and write even if its 10 words a day. Find your own pattern and routine that works best for you. (I have seen, by simply deactivating the Facebook for some time I get more productive)