My original blog, Musings, has over 500 posts, totaling about 130,000 words, enough for two or three books. While many posts wouldn’t make for good book content, about half of them have potential. So, I’ve taken the best ones and organized them by topic to repurpose as a book, codenamed Woodpecker Wars.
I’ve enjoyed reading my past work. I’m also editing as I read, because I’m now a better writer than when I first penned them. What an amazing realization. I didn’t know my writing was improving, but looking at my work from a few years ago shows that has happened. How affirming.
Here’s what I think contributed to my improvement:
- Writing Every Day: I start every day with at least an hour of writing, usually more. I write when I want to and when I don’t. I write when I’m inspired and when I’m dry.
- Blogging Regularly: Popping out four or more blog posts every week (I have multiple blogs) means I’m always looking for ideas, frequently turning them into short essays, and meeting deadlines.
- Attending a Critique Group: Giving feedback to other writers and receiving input from them is critical to hone our craft. Some groups are better than others; look for one that is both nurturing and honest.
- Reading Books: Understanding how others put ideas into words and construct paragraphs provides fodder for our writing. Their work, style, and voice inform ours.
- Evaluating Other Writers: Aside from being a critique group member and working as a magazine editor, I sometimes have the opportunity to read new and not-yet-published writers. Giving some of myself to them requires I remain sharp so I can provide them with value.
- Attending Writing Conferences: Being in the company of other writers is a treasure. At writing conferences, there is the opportunity to learn from others who are further ahead of us on this writing journey and encourage those who are not as far. We must give and receive; both are rich experiences.
- Working to Improve: A key item is simply striving to get better. For a couple of decades, I sought to write with greater speed. And I did get faster, but I didn’t get much better. If we are to improve, we need to focus on it.
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!