Are You Seeking to Improve as a Writer?

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?

7 thoughts on “Are You Seeking to Improve as a Writer?

  1. Peter, I thought you had it all together a long time ago 🙂

    When I look back to the time I began writing my book, I laugh with my self and my ignorance to see that it was in its primitive state. I was so eager and confident that I gave it to an editor. Thank God, she was a good and tactful friend and editor.

    Since then, I keep learning and moving forward in a similar way you do: reading books, taking classes, asking questions, and reading posts and articles on writing. I have learned a lot. I am still learning. This is one of the reasons that I hold back on publishing and continue editing over and over again. Each time I read, I recognize words, sentences, or thoughts that could be reconstructed in a better and clearer way.

    Writing is a journey, indeed. For some, longer than that of others.

      • For those like me who have learned English as a second language, perfect writing will always be difficult, if not impossible.

        I have even thought to buy a grammar editing program. Have you ever used one? Would that help me see and correct errors?

  2. Peter, the part that hit me, was that the more I learn, the more I realize I need to learn! Yes, that’s me! It is amazing how long it takes to improve and how sometimes I get impatient and want things published now. It is a journey and we need to enjoy the ride and stop and smell roses once in awhile too! Thanks for this!

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