If you want to get better at writing as quickly as possible, take a look at the tried and tested strategies that have worked well for so many others!
So your writing sucks, and you want to get better. Here are the leading strategies to improve: write what you know, co-write, avoid burnout, develop better focus, write by hand, get better writing tools, get off social media, reduce toxic influences, join a writers group, teach, and write reviews.
What Does ‘Write What You Know’ Mean?
Share your experiences with your audience, and you’ve got the best chance of accurately representing reality, and making a valuable comment. When you write what you know it means you have to do less research too, leading to faster and more detailed stories with higher verisimilitude.
Should I Write Comedy or Tragedy?
The best writers use both to great effect. If you’re writing a tragedy don’t forget to get an hilarious ‘fool’ or jester in there, and if you’re writing comedy balance it out with a character who feels glum about things!
Should I Experiment with Different Forms and Genres?
Maybe you’re actually better at comedy than tragedy? Maybe you’re better at screenplays than poems. Who knows? Give it a go. By trying everything, especially when starting out, you can discover your strengths and weaknesses. Do more of what gives you energy!
Is Co-writing a Good Idea?
If you’re running out of energy and motivation, consider finding a writing partner, and borrowing a little enthusiasm from them. Try to find people with lots of motivation though – otherwise you might end up doing all the work!
How do I Avoid Burnout While Writing?
Maintain balance in your life. Don’t burn out! Writing is great, but listen to the inner screech of burnout when it appears. If you need to rest, rest. If you really don’t want to write, then don’t! Always look after your own health when writing.
How do I Focus Better While Writing?
Writing requires a lot of stillness and focus. Writers famously self medicate with alcohol or other substances to achieve this state, but a non medical way of accessing focus is meditation. 10-20 mins of meditation prior to writing can settle you physically and mentally.
What Tools do I Need to Write Well?
Try to get access to a comfortable writing environment and reliable computer. Technical difficulties are really going to slow you down. Make sure that your chair looks after your posture, because those hours pile up! If you write by hand, make sure you are happy with your pens and pencils, and get a great notebook. Making sure you have tools you are happy with is important over the long term!
Should I Write by Hand?
Lots of famous authors describe how they write the first draft of everything by hand. Hemingway said he liked this technique because it allowed him an opportunity to rewrite as he typed everything into the typewriter. Many writers say they feel closer to the work when it’s hand written. It’s slower, but that reduced pace gives more time for thought.
Should I Read Other Writers?
If you figure out exactly what you like, and exactly why you like it, it’s going to make you a much better writer. Interrogate the work of your favorite writers endlessly. Don’t give up until you feel you have learned everything you have to learn from the greats. If there’s more to learn, keep going!
Should I Read and See Plays and Films?
You gotta. Especially if you are writing in these forms! Be honest, you still going to see plays? Bet you stopped because it’s too expensive and the thought of trying to convince someone to come with you makes you want to internally combust. Also covid. You’re probably still watching lots of films and TV online. How much are you actually reading though? Less than you did, right? Perhaps nothing at all? If the cost is slowing you down, get back into that library. There’s also ‘library genesis’ but you didn’t hear about it here.
Should I Get Off Social Media to be a Better Writer?
You will be amazed how many extra hours you get back by disconnecting. Feeling tired and rushed all the time? See if your phone or computer can tell you how long you’ve spent looking at them. Shutting down social media, or limiting it to one check a day, can make you feel like you’re living in 2003 again, if you remember such a time.
What Should I do About Toxic People and my Writing?
If you limit your contact with toxic people you will free up so much time and mental real estate! Just do it. In the long run it’s better. Toxic people are the people who want you to apologise to them right now (think about it), and the people who would laugh if you told them what you most want to achieve in life.
The best people are the people who say ‘How can I help you to achieve that?’ and the good people are the ones who say ‘Good on you.’ If someone tries to help you, hold on to that person!
Should I Join a Writers’ Group?
Yep! Pretty self explanatory. Friends who like the things you do! Be generous to the group and share what you know, and they may share some secrets with you. Elevator to the top!
Should I Teach Writing?
Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach. Students can teach their tutors a lot. And while you are preparing your class, you’ll have to learn the material yourself too. Plus it’s a rewarding experience for the soul.
Should I Write Reviews?
See if you can get paid to write reviews of plays / films / novels. This will force you to think deeply about the works you’re reviewing, and research them thoroughly. Plus you get to actually see plays, and get a little money.
Should I Study Creative Writing?
Treat yourself to a creative writing course. There are loads of great ones out there and plenty that don’t cost all that much. Try to join ones that have lots of people, perhaps online. They can be very cheap. There’s also BAs, MFAs, Masters courses, and PhDs! Lots of options to consider.
Should I get a Writing Mentor?
Maybe consider hiring a mentor. Word of caution though, sometimes mentors don’t know all that much. But there’s got to be some good ones out there. The best are probably those that have done it themselves. Get a novelist to teach you how to write a novel, not a publisher. Get a publisher to teach you how to publish.
Should I Write While Drunk and Edit While Sober?
You should definitely edit while sober. Depending on alcohol for any activity isn’t a long term and sustainable plan. However, this saying indicates that you want to be loose and indulgent when writing! Bring a free spirit to the first draft. Don’t be too critical. If a glass of wine helps you get to this state, then so be it!
Will Exercise Make Me a Better Writer?
Advice to get exercise is much better than advice to always write while drunk! Remember to get out for an hour or two of exercise per day, if you can. It’s a stress reliever and replenisher of the creative juices and the soul. Try not to slump into the tortured artist role. You want to produce good writing over the long term, and physical stamina will help with that. If you can’t exercise outside, find ways to do it inside. Any don’t worry if you can’t exercise at all, there are plenty of brilliant writers who don’t. Nothing will stop you!
Should I set Long Term Goals for my Writing Career?
Sadly, nothing in the traditional publishing world happens fast! Make a five year plan – and try to have a novel published, or screenplay sold, or play commissioned in that time frame! Or, if you self publish that means that you can publish your work as soon as you are ready to, and get working on the next project right away. Self published works are being taken more seriously all the time, and get considered for major awards.
We hope these tips were helpful, that you have fast and rewarding success in your writing journey! Thanks for reading this far! Check out our writing competitions and submission portal above for publication opportunities.