Are you looking to improve your writing skills? If so, there is no shortage of seminars, courses, conferences, and workshops to help you learn the craft. Writing coaches can help you hone skills through one-on-one sessions or webinars, and YouTube has loads of videos from writing instructors that are helpful as well. You can download PDFs from other writers who will help you learn what they have learned and sign up for newsletters that will provide weekly or monthly writing tips.
These days, writing helps are everywhere, but we want to highlight three that don't get much attention. Imagine you are standing in front of a room filled with successful authors and seasoned writing instructors, and you ask for their top three writing tips. We guarantee this one would be at the top of their list. What is it?
Good writers are habitual readers. They don’t pick up a book once a year and groan their way through it. They set aside time and energy to read books, articles, essays, and especially work that is in the same genre they write in. If you are writing a memoir, how can you know what makes a good one if you have read no memoirs? If you write fiction, how can you structure a novel if you don’t read novels?
The more you read, the more you will see how stories fit together. If you’re reading quality work, you will learn how good sentence structure produces a readable paragraph, and how those paragraphs fit together to form a story arc. The more you read, the more naturally your brain will pick up on the rhythm of the writing, and this can’t help but improve your own creative project.
People lament lack of time as a reason they don’t read. But these days, audiobooks are easy to find, and just as helpful as a print or eBook. Your brain is still inputting the written word, even if you are hearing it instead of reading it. And if cost is a factor, the solution is as close as your local library. If you can’t fit in a trip to the library, most have apps you can download that will allow you to search and place a hold on a book. Still don’t want to make the trip to pick up that book? Those same library apps are often connected to online lending platforms where you can borrow eBooks or audiobooks. If you have an e-reader, carry that with you and take advantage of those moments when you are waiting for an appointment, in the school pick-up line, or during a solitary lunch hour. Put your earbuds in and open an audiobook during your morning run or afternoon walk.
Reading is fundamental, not just for our children, but for every aspiring writer or seasoned writer.
In November, we will send out our first Storia newsletter, which will have writing advice, inspiration for living a creative life, book recommendations, encouragement for creatives, and more! If you aren’t sure where to start, sign up for our newsletter here.
Now, go find a book, open it up, and improve your writing skills!