5 Quick Tips for Writing Better

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writingIf you are like me, the amount of material on how to write better can be overwhelming. Bookstores, websites, blogs, seminars, etc. make it hard to choose which direction to go, especially when there seems to be a media format for just about every imaginable genre.

The wise King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 12:12, “My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (ESV)

So, here are five quick tips, in no particular order, to help you write better.

1. Write for yourself!

You MUST like what you write. I love watching cooking shows like Top Chef. One of the maxims food critics and judges live by is that a chef must stand behind his or her dish. Stand behind what you write because your words should be a reflection of YOU!

2. Don’t imitate others!

You will NEVER write like Tom Clancy, James Michener, or J.K. Rowling. The simple reason is this — YOU are not Tom Clancy, James Michener, or J.K. Rowling. If you are ever going to be successful as a writer, set your own rules that define what you are or what you want to become. Be yourself.

3. Use available tools!

You do NOT have to spend large amounts of money to purchase specialized software, to go to seminars, or to take advanced classes on writing. Research what is available. For example, Open Office is a free word processing software that includes spell and grammar checkers. Use them liberally. There is little that is hard to endure than glaring spelling or grammatical errors that could have been easily fixed with an extra minute using a free available tool.

4. Write, write, write!

This should be self-explanatory, but it seems that some who want to be a writer think that staring at a screen will improve their chances of making a best seller list. Write on paper, computer, clay tablet, or even paper napkins at your favorite restaurant. Write on a mountain, on a train, or in a box. Write in English, Hindi, Russian, or Mandarin. JUST WRITE!

5. Be a drudge!

Ignacy Paderewski was a master concert pianist. It is said that at one concert, a woman was enamored with him and his playing. After several minutes of this unwanted attention, the great pianist is said to have stopped her and said, “Madame, before I was a genius, I was a drudge!”

Don’t worry about whether you are good right now. Write and write — going from drudge to genius will take care of itself.

Empowering Blogs

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These few thoughts are true. When I read a blog, I want to read something that has inspired you. I want to know what makes you tick and what is important. For example, if writing about horses is what you REALLY want to do, then don’t care about how many or how how few want to read about horses. If you want to write about writing, or blogging, or learning languages, then just do it.

Whatever you do, DO NOT write just what you think other people want to read. This is especially true if it is a subject matter that has no interest to you. It will show up in your writing.

Do write a blog though. It is a great experience in writing. Others will be encouraged to write themselves, and you may even pick up a few followers here and there.