Many people dream of becoming writers. By one estimate, 200 million Americans want to write a book someday.
Whether you aspire to become an author, run a successful blog, or write in your spare time as a creative outlet, it all starts with simply dedicating the time to write.
Learning how to write is a skill that takes time to develop. Luckily, there are many techniques you can use to flex your writing muscles.
Here are some tips and advice for getting started.
Use writing prompts
Doing writing exercises is a really effective way to learn how to write more. The internet is filled with writing prompts you can use, whether it’s writing a letter to your younger self or writing about a once-in-a-lifetime destination you’d like to visit.
Sometimes, writing is more difficult because we don’t have an idea to start with. That’s where writing prompts can help. Check out Writer’s Digest, and Reedsy for creative writing prompts that can help you develop a healthy writing habit. The website 750 Words, which encourages writers to write three pages (or 750 words a day) and tracks their word count, is another great resource.
Write when you’re most productive
Some of us are morning people, while others are total night owls — and still others may find their productive peak at another time in the day. Whatever category you fall into, write when you have the most energy and your mind is the clearest.
Another thing that can boost your writing productivity is to set a timer. You may have small windows during the day to write, whether it’s 10 or 20 minutes. Set a timer and use these times to write. Having a very defined time to put pen to paper (or words on the screen) might inspire short bursts of creativity because you know the time commitment is minimal. And over time, writing 10 to 20 minutes a day adds up and can become a part of your daily or weekly routine.
Find an accountability buddy
We all need encouragement to achieve our goals. That’s why it helps to have someone to keep you accountable. If you want to write, find accountability and support in the form of a writing group or writing partner. You also can take a weekly writing class.
Do an online search to find local classes and in-person writing groups.
This may seem counterintuitive, but reading more can actually help you become a better writer.
We’ve all heard of writer’s block, but there’s also such a thing as “ideas’ block.” You can’t write if you have nothing to say. Reading more can open you up to a new world of ideas that may just inspire your own.
People often struggle to get into a regular habit of writing because they treat every word as precious and delicate. But writing is a messy, constantly evolving process — you won’t get it right the first time.
Rather than editing your work to oblivion as you write, focus on getting something on the page first. Then, you can improve it later. Just like they say in the 2000 film Finding Forrester, “You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is… to write, not to think.”
In the end, that’s great advice for any writer, whether professional or aspiring.
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, 34th Parallel Magazine, Off the Rocks, and others. I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of my stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of stories placed semi-finalist from Elixir Press.