I recently read a piece I wrote a short five months ago — an article I worked hard to perfect — and was shocked. It wasn’t that my writing was bad; it was that I’ve improved in the intervening time.
For most of my life writing has been something I did as part of my job; it was secondary. I never gave it much thought or tried to get better. I just wrote. Yes, I did gradually improve, but it was at the pace of a snail.
As writing becomes more of who I am and what I do, I’m taking it more seriously. The result is I’m improving. Here’s what makes the difference:
Write Everyday: I stopped writing when I had to or when I felt like it, but everyday – whether I wanted to or not. Sometimes we just need to push through.
Read Everyday: I’m not there yet, but the more I read and see how others write, the more fuel I give to my own work.
Study Writing: I read books about writing, follow blogs about writing, and take online classes about writing. The moment we decide we don’t need to work at becoming better is the moment our writing begins to wither.
Join a Critique Group: Receiving honest feedback on our work sharpens it and sharpens us. I’m currently in three such groups. Yeah, they’re that important.
There’s more, but this is a good start.
What are you doing to improve as a writer?