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Take these Two Basic Steps to Become a Better Writer

You want to become a bestselling author or a celebrated poet. Or you just want to get better at reaching people with your writing. The reason for which you write, after all, is to be heard — to share your message with a particular audience. And you know to achieve your writing goals, you must simply get better at the art. You’ve come to this realization.
This post will provide you with just two basic steps to become a better write.
You might have heard some people say that writing is a talent and you must have the talent to be a great writer. But Scott Fitzgerald, one of the finest American writers of the 20th century has this to say on the issue of talent: “You have talent — which is the equivalent of a soldier having the right physical qualifications for entering West Point.”
Fitzgerald’s stance, in essence, is a reminder that talent alone is meaningless. Even if you feel you have the talent, or you actually do, there’s still substantial work to be done.
Writing, as much as it’s an art is a skill. In essence, having the knack for stringing words together is not a guarantee you’d be a great writer. Likewise, the good news is, even if you feel you don’t have the talent, writing — like any other skill — can be learnt and mastered.
This piece offers some insights that if acted upon accordingly can make your writing better. One thing you must know, however, is that writing — like any other worthy endeavour — takes a great deal of effort and commitment. You can’t become a great writer overnight!
Read
The importance of reading to a writer cannot be overemphasized. Reading is equivalent to going through the thought process of another writer. If you desire to get better as a writer, read extensively. Read in your genre and outside of it as well. Read anything you can lay your hands on.
When you want to read, I advise that you take the advice of Francine Prose in her book For Those Who Want to Write. Prose suggests that you read slowly so that you can pay attention to how the writer have carefully arrived at whatever it is you are reading.
The writing process is a painstaking one and a good writer will tell you how hard it can be sometimes to arrive at something as minute a singular word choice.
When you read other writers, either those you wish to emulate or those that are simply established and successful, you would learn a lot of things. You would learn how they write and you can always emulate them. You would learn about different styles and a whole lot of other things such as pacing and voice.
Before writing courses became popular, old writers learnt by imitating their predecessors and modern writers still continue to do so.
The other part of reading is to read on how to become a better writer. Many successful writers have now written books outlining their writing process. There are also tons of articles and essays you can read on how to get better as a writer.


Although you might not exactly do as these materials suggest, you are sure to gain something from each one of them. You can’t possibly exhaust all the writing resources out there these days but read as much as you can, nonetheless.
It’s likewise important to read books on the basics of writing as well. This includes books on such things as punctuation, grammar, lexis and structure and even style. Learning the basics will go a long way to help you lay a good foundation for your writing endeavour.
Write
“Write as often as possible, not with the idea at once of getting into print, but as if you were learning an instrument.” — J. B. Priestley.
The truth is, to get better at anything takes practice. As cliché as it sounds, practice does make perfect. In actual point of fact, practice makes everything. The only way to become a better writer is to actually write.


You could take a thousand courses on becoming a better write but you still need to actually write with some consistency to in reality get better. The ultimate way to become better is to write and to continue to improve as you do so. Whatever genre you write — either poetry or prose, either fiction or nonfiction — if you don’t write, you can’t get better. It’s as simple as that.
So, as you read and garner more knowledge and insights, you have to apply what you have learnt by actually writing. There is no way around it. Like Priestley said, forget that you want to get publish for a moment and actually get into the process of writing first.
Most writers advise that you have a certain amount of time every day to write. Most suggests that you should make it a morning ritual as this is the time that seems most perfect. For you, it might be in the evening or late at night but make sure you write consistently.
Consistency breeds confidence and the more you write, the more you get better at it. It’s just like learning an instrument. You get better by the day when you practise with some consistency. There are many writing resources and tools online these days that can help you keep a routine as a writer.
Note that what you write at a particular point doesn’t always have to make perfect sense. Just write, let the words flow. You can always make sense of it later. A renowned author once said that you can’t edit a blank page. So, go ahead and write.
Bestselling author, Stephen King once said: “it’s the amateur writer that waits for inspiration, the rest of us just go to work”. Picasso did put it this way: “Inspiration does exist, but it must find us working”. In other words, stop playing the ‘no inspiration’ card.
“Action is the foundational key to all success”, said Picasso. All the knowledge in the world without any action is naught. Stop giving yourself excuses and get to work already.
Cheerio!
cc: Olaidozen

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