What part of writing is difficult for you? What are you bad at doing and have always wanted to get better at? What are you okay at, but you could improve on? Well, now’s your chance. September is National Self-Improvement Month, and I want to talk about how we can improve as writers.
If you’ve done any amount of writing, you know that it’s challenging. Many writers struggle with dialogue, while others have trouble coming up with great ideas. Some have difficulty describing character actions and reactions, and more are confused about grammar. We all have trouble with certain aspects of writing. We could all work on writing better first drafts, and we could all improve on managing quicker edits. So how do you get better?
1. You practice
You practice a lot. In honor of self-improvement month, I’m going to be posting tons of writing exercises you can try to improve your skills. I want you to seriously commit to trying the exercises and sharing your results so that we can grow as a community of writers. Additionally, I’m going to create a series of workbooks to help you improve your writing, the first of which will be available for free this month. Give it a try to see how you can work on your writing.
2. Understand what needs improvement
I want you to really focus your thoughts this month on your weaknesses as a writer. Once you’ve identified a few aspects you can improve on, I want you to pick two that you can focus on improving this month. Try to think about why these are weaknesses and how you can improve them.
3. Make a plan
Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, I want you to make a plan to improve two of them. This may include writing exercises, asking another writer for help on a specific aspect of your work, reading books on craft, or researching tips on that element of your work. For example, if you struggle with grammar, you may decide to read a few books on grammar to improve or invest in a manual. If you struggle with character development, you may want to invest in a book on craft. If you have trouble coming up with ideas, you may spend time on writing prompts or spending ten minutes a day brainstorming ideas.
You don’t have to come up with ideas that will take a ton of time. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. The only plans worth having are plans you can actually stick to, so don’t come up with a huge multi-step plan that you’ll quit working on after two days. Come up with a few small steps you can take to get better. Small improvement is better than none, and committing to the work will help you improve.
I hope you’ll share your plans here on the site so that we can support each other as a community of writers. We’re all going to focusing on improving, so don’t be shy. Help each other. Give each other support. Writers tend to be loners, but the support of peers in similar situations is hugely valuable when you’re making changes. Try to build a network of writers you can commiserate with and that can help motivate you.
Don’t forget to reach out to me as a resource if you need help. I may not be the greatest writing expert, but I am a writer, and I do have experience practicing. At the very least, I understand where you’re coming from, so feel free to reach out.
Already have some ideas about how you want to improve? Let’s talk about them and your plans in the comments.