How to become a better writer (Quarantine Edition)?
In the words of Stephen King himself “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work”. Writing is like any other skill that if you are working on today will build over time and you cannot even imagine how much further you will be in 6 months if you remain dedicated. And is there a time better time than during the quarantine? Whether it is a book you want to write or a blog you want to make money by putting up great content, here are a few things you can do today to become a better writer.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King
Buy yourself a journal
There is something about the written word that hours spent on the laptop cannot substitute. Journals are great to sit in front of and coax yourself out of a writer’s block. Whether you like a plain black one, a leather-bound one or a confetti storm, get yourself a journal and start writing. Write your favourite character names, outline your stories, pen down random ideas and jot down tweaks you think you should make in existing drafts. If you haven’t already read my blog post about bullet journaling and writer’s notebooks, read it now.
Read (a lot)
The best thing you can do to improve your writing is to pick up a book and start reading. As a writer, you read books differently. You enjoy the stories and relate to characters, but you also look out for the specific writing techniques that are used to start chapters and how it compels you to read further. You keep an eye for how the writer creates imaginary worlds, characters, backstories. You read to get to know the craft. Reading as a writer is a kind of research.
I suggest picking up a book that you enjoyed and re-reading but this time as a writer and making notes of everything that you
Write every day
Building any skill, be it writing, be it world domination, requires practice. To become a better writer, create a schedule for writing every day. Set a goal today of writing every day or completing a certain word limit every day. You might think that writing is just a skill that you are just born with, but you’d be surprised to know how much these ‘talented’ people struggle coming up with new ideas, plotting and keeping a writing schedule.
Alongside writing every day, get into the habit of going through what you have already written as if you were a merciless editor with only 20 minutes in the day to decide if your submission is going up or not. That means skimming through and putting it in the reject pile as soon as you get bored. Proofreading and editing your work will help you understand what to not write in the first place.
Boredom and isolation are always a writer’s best friend besides gel pens that don’t bleed through paper and autosave. When you are bored you get into the head space when you write your most original work. And being alone with your writing means you get to experiment, and your work is free of influence. You might not realise how important this is for writing great fiction or poetry, but it is the secret ingredient for writing something unique and timeless. So make the most of the quarantine and start writing.