Sadie Holloway is a writer and artist who uses the power of journaling to bring more peace, serenity, and joy into her life.
Staying motivated to write is the number one thing most popular bloggers and best-selling authors will tell you is key to their success. Unfortunately, many aspiring writers give up on their publishing dreams after their first letter of rejection. Some bloggers abandon their sites after a few months when they don’t get the traffic they were hoping for. For others, family commitments, health issues and stress from their day jobs can pose barriers to reaching their long-term writing goals.
Then there are writers like me, who, over the years, have ridden a wave of writing highs and lows; we write furiously for months on end, get burned out and then take a hiatus for a few months or, sadly, even years.
Do you want to stop wrestling with your writing demons and become a highly sought-after freelancer who turns down writing assignments, instead of just settling for any old project? Then these fun ways to become a better writer might be just what you need!
I hate writing, I love having written.
— Dorothy Parker
Set achievable writing goals. Before you set any writing goals for yourself, track your current writing habits for two weeks, hour by hour. How often do you write? What time of day do you write? How many words do you write per hour? How much time do you spend doing these writing-related tasks:
- Reading other writing blogs
- Commenting on blogs and articles and participating in writing forums
- Editing your work and/or rewriting or re-purposing old content
- Reading books on writing, editing, blogging, and social media marketing
- Reading books, magazines and blogs that represent a high-quality of writing you aspire to
Make note of other writing tasks you work on that aren't included in the list above. For the next two weeks, pay attention to what you're doing when you're working on your freelancing career. Don’t judge or assess whether what you are doing is right or wrong at this point, just take note of where you're putting your creative energy.
Be honest with yourself when you track your writing habits for two weeks. After all, you won’t be able to set realistic writing goals if you don’t have a strong sense of how you're currently spending (or wasting) your time trying to be a writer.
There are so many simple things you can do to stay intimately connected with your storytelling muse so that you can become a better writer. Here are a few more fun ways to become a better writer
Become an avid reader. The best writers, storytellers, and speakers are extremely well-read. Reading for pleasure, for work, for research purposes—it doesn’t matter what your intention is, reading feeds your creative spirit. It develops your sense of empathy. It expands your factual knowledge base.
Make every writing task an adventure. From grocery lists to thank you letters, inject everyday writing tasks with a spark of creativity. We’re bombarded with bullets points, teeny-tiny tweets and short text messages stripped of vibrant and colorful language. It’s time to rekindle our love affair with words and start using them again. The next time you make a grocery list, add a few yummy adjectives to your items. Instead of listing “milk. bread. cereal,” throw in a few evocative words that make your mouth water: “fresh, nourishing milk” or “soft yet deliciously crusty, oven-baked bread.”
Read stories aloud to your loved ones, even the adults in your life! The best storytellers have a strong sense of rhythm. They know the right time to pause when telling a story. They know when their words should flow slowly and softly from their mouths. Or when the words should spill out at a fast and frenetic pace. Reading aloud improves your storytelling voice because it’s a constant reminder of the impact that sentence length has on how a story unfolds. Long rambling sentences will take your breath away (and not in a good way). But a variety of short, medium and long sentences keeps you in touch with your breath and creates a better storytelling experience for both you and your audience.
You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.
— Dr. Seuss
Writing is hard work. It takes focus, discipline and creativity, not to mention a strong vocabulary, attention to detail and a good grasp of proper grammar and usage. But sometimes when we get wrapped up in the mechanics of putting together a well-written blog post, article or report, we lose touch with our primary purpose: to tell a meaningful and compelling story that challenges people’s perception of the world. That’s why finding and staying in touch with your storytelling muse is critical to your success as an influential writer.
© 2016 Sadie Holloway
RTalloni on November 12, 2016:
This is superb. Thanks for a practical and expressive post. I enjoyed the read, learned more about my needs as a writer and will be back to read again, as well as sharing. I will also be looking for more of your work.
So, I visited my grands late summer and had an amazing trip. One evening I babysat one group so parents could go out. Tough job, but somebody's gotta… Any old ways, after we partied hearty with pizza, ice cream, cookies, and popcorn, it was requested that I read to them. Their choice? The Declaration of Independence. It was from a poster in the original script, no less. I promise that at no time in history has it been read with more expression and passion because to my amazement those little ones listen with wide eyes. I did it because I agree with Dr. Seuss.
Must run, but I'll be back. :)