For the first couple of decades, I had one goal as a writer: to write faster. Over time I wrote with increased speed and could crank out articles and blog posts quickly. For longer works I simply broke them into bite-sized chunks and knocked them off one at a time. Easy peasy.
The problem was that my writing was not getting better – at least not much better. Yes, it was quicker and easier but improvements were a slow byproduct.
About five years ago, I made a U-turn. I ceased pursuing speed to focus on quality. I sought to improve. I wanted to write with more punch; I wanted to make my words count.
When I first started this quest, my speed dropped significantly. Then, after a couple of years of focusing on improvement, my writing rate rebounded. But I deem it secondary to quality.
The odd thing about striving to improve as a writer is that the better I become, the more I realize I need to learn. In fact, there is so much to master, so many skills to hone, that it overwhelms me at times. I will never complete this journey.
Yet I can’t look at the end goal for it is too big; I must attend to each small stride, taking my writing journey step by step, day by day.
To do this I read books, blogs, and magazines about writing; I listen to writing and publishing podcasts, I take online classes, and I go to conferences. I apply what I learn, but most importantly, I write every day. Practice may not make perfect, but it moves me in that direction.
Each day I walk towards my goal. Each day I improve as a writer. That’s all we can do; that’s the best we can do.
My journey is different from yours. You need to do what’s right for you. Start today.
What are you doing to improve as a writer? What is your next step?