“To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself…Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.” – Mark Twain
It’s true – even the greatest of writers have their moments of weakness. Writing, like other art forms, can be challenging to do well, especially when you have a passion for it. Let’s face it. A blank page can seem like a death sentence. To boost your confidence and hone your skills, here are five easy tips for you to try on your next adventure with the written word.
PS – If you’re looking for more ways to improve your skills, I’d suggest paying a visit to Copyblogger. Oftentimes, working writers like Sean Platt (aka Writer Dad) write guest posts on ways to combat writers block, the difficulty of finding inspiration, and creating a technique that’s all your own. Back to the tips – enjoy!
Thou Shalt Not Be Wordy
It doesn’t have to be the most magnificent expression your pen has ever writ, but it does have to be good writing. Wordiness is a trap that many writers fall into when feeling insure about the work. While using long words and stringing together adverbs may seem like a good idea, in the end it ruins the entire flow of what you’re working on. Sometimes it helps to be blunt and say exactly what’s on your mind, without having to be poetic (unless of course you’re writing poetry.)
Listen to Feedback
This is one of the most valuable skills you’ll ever learn. Listening to feedback allows for you to improve your writing skills. Though criticism can be hard to accept at first, it’s an invaluable tool. Start sharing your writing with others and see how they feel about it. Are you missing grammatical errors? Is your tone too stiff? How’s the length? Remember, a writer can’t ever reach his or her potential without being willing to share.
Practice Makes Perfect
Write often! This is quite possibly one of the easiest ways to gain confidence in your abilities as a writer. The more you write, the better you will become. It’s that simple. Part of it is because you’re putting your skills to work. Another part is that you are showing a commitment to your work, which can boost your confidence.
If you’re writing anything from a news story to a blog post to a paper for a class, make sure your facts are well-researched. Having confidence in your information can lead to a higher comfort level in what you are writing. Not to mention, it raises your credibility and is good ethical practice. Research your topics before you unleash your pen.
Reading is Key
It’s true, good readers are often good writers. The more you read, the more likely your mind is to develop ideas using words – so get those pages turning. It helps to see an issue from all sides, so try to open up to new styles or avenues of writing. If you’re a poetry person, try some non-fiction. If you’re a newspaper reader, try a novel. You’ll also find that a new type of reading can help influence your own style of writing.