The Secret to Better Writing is …
There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are. ~Somerset Maugham
How do you feel about writing? Is it a necessary evil, an inescapable part of your work that you dread … or do you find ways to avoid the activity all together by proclaiming that you’re just not a writer?
Maybe it’s not so much the writing itself that causes your brain to freeze, but the fear of being ridiculed, the pressure of all the rules and having to create “awesome content!” each and every time you set pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
Possibly you enjoy writing, but choose to reserve the activity for your own pleasure, telling stories or keeping a journal; writing simply because you love the self-discovery process, and the joy of finding just the right word. Or, maybe your dream is to finally write that book that’s been percolating in your mind and heart, and to one day become a published author.
Regardless of your motivation, and whether you write for work or pleasure, you should know that writers are both born and made. While it is true that some are blessed with a natural talent, those who are not shouldn’t assume that writing is not for them, because, contrary to popular belief, you can improve. More importantly, you can learn to find greater enjoyment in the process.
How? In the same way that you can learn and improve any other skill, be it acting, woodwork, cookery, dancing – whatever, you can learn to be a writer and then to be a better writer. And I firmly believe that if the desire to write is there, so too is the ability.
The secret to better writing is … “practice.”
It’s true … regardless of your level of expertise, the only way to improve your writing is to keep writing and stretching yourself.
For those who struggle with writing, try this. Just for awhile – forget the rules – forget hang-ups with punctuation, spelling, and grammar, forget the pressure of having to create a work of art, or awesome blog content … and simply commit to write whatever comes to mind for half an hour, every day, with one intention in mind … to begin strengthening your creative muscles. The rules and the skills are important to be sure, but to begin to fully appreciate how writing can enhance your life, first give yourself the freedom to focus only on expressing yourself.
And to get you started it just so happens, this Thursday, November 15th is the 10th anniversary of I Love To Write Day! This is an official event, with nearly 30,000 schools across the U.S. participating, along with bookstores, libraries, writing and book club groups, and people who simply love to write.
My goal for I Love To Write Day is to inspire people of all ages spend time writing,” says John Riddle, Founder. “They can write a poem, a love letter, a greeting card, an essay, a short story, start a novel, finish a novel…the possibilities are endless. The goal is simply to take the time to put your thoughts down on paper. You will be amazed at the results!
To provide a little extra inspiration, I’d like to share with you some of my very favorite quotes on writing and the writer’s life. If you enjoy these, I have a couple of additional treats for you at the end.
A good writing quote can literally give me goose bumps …
- I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged…I had poems which were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out. ~Erica Jong
- For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that she has come upon the right word. ~Catherine Drinker Bowen
- It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. ~Ernest Hemingway
- It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous. ~Robert Benchley
- The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought by editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home. ~John Campbell
- To be a writer is to sit down at one’s desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone – just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over. ~John Hersey
- I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I’m one of the world’s great re-writers. ~James A. Michener
- The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ~Robert Cormier
- Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. ~Bonnie Friedman
- A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. ~Sidney Smith
- Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up. ~Jane Yolen
- Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose…not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember. ~Anne Sullivan Macy
- Start before you’re ready. ~Steven Pressfield
- A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. ~Richard Bach
For those inspired by these quotations, I’ve prepared a list of 100 writing prompts and quotations about writing for you to keep. To grab your free PDF copy simply click here.
To learn more about I Love to Write Day, you can visit the official website here http://www.ilovetowriteday.org If you’d like to share your writing or thoughts on writing this Thursday, the Twitter hashtag is #ilovetowriteday.
Finally, as my contribution to I Love to Write Day, I’ve populated my Amazon slide show (right hand sidebar) with books by fellow Indie Authors. I’ve read and reviewed each of these books, so I am happy to recommend them!
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