1 Apr 2016
A Creative Wall
It is not uncommon as a writer to hit a creative wall and feel as if you are not growing in your craft, be it technical, creative or any other form of finger-to-keyboard that you might engage in on a regular basis.
Often a writer comes to a crossroads in his or her path and fails to take the appropriate action to continue in the right direction. You can choose to stay in your comfort zone or you can challenge yourself to make a few small changes in your daily routine that will guarantee a stronger skill set.
Below you will find three easy habits that you can do each day to become a better writer. These recommendations might seem like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how easy it is to forget to do these things every day, especially once your writing journey has started to drag.
Keep in mind that these are only suggestions and are in no way requirements. There are no requirements to writing and if anyone tries to say that there are they are selling you something. Remember that the goal of these suggested habits is to grant you more freedom, not hinder you. Take something from them, or simply move on, but always remember to keep an open mind.
Finding your voice as a writer is a worthy challenge. Perhaps these 3 simple habits will remind you why you wanted to write in the first place.
1. Read, Read, Read
Many writers want to become a professional writer because something inspired them as a reader. They thought “Yes, this is amazing, and I think I have something to say. I must write!” and set down that most arduous path of learning to write, and write well.
One of the first conclusions that can be drawn after reading weak writing is that the writer does not read as much as he or she needs to. It goes without saying that reading of some kind should be a part of your daily routine. Of course university lectures and courses on writing can help you focus on the craft and use of language, but reading is the number one teacher when it comes to writing.
Consider your favorite authors to be your instructors. Heed their advice. Do as they do, and take what you learn and fit it into your style.
Reading material that is closely related to what you intend to write is important, but you will want to also read books or other publications that challenge your norm. Take a break from the science fiction and read a Russian classic. Put down the handbooks on technical writing and read a bit of epic fantasy. Whatever you do it is bound to be of some benefit to you. You never know what you might learn.
Challenging what you know is key to growth. You can take that and apply it to almost any aspect of your life. It is of the utmost importance as a writer, however.
2. Write, Write, Write
Perhaps the most important part of being a writer is actually writing. Yes, that might sound ridiculous and obvious but you would be surprised at how many people out there enjoy the use of the title “writer” without ever committing serious time into the craft.
Writers write. That is as simple as it gets. If you are not taking time out of each day to write then you are more than likely not going to progress. That book will forever remain in your desk drawer waiting to be finished. All of those articles that you plan to submit “tomorrow” will never see publication. Your super revolutionary slam poetry will not change the lives of countless listeners. Write, write and write. When you want to finish writing, write some more.
Sometimes it is important to make a writing schedule. Never be afraid to dedicate a certain hour of the day to your writing. This gives it a regimented feel that leads to growth because you are committing yourself to practice, and practice makes perfect, or something close enough to get you that Pulitzer.
Write for 30 minutes and take a break, or set a daily word count that is realistic. Try to stick with whatever you decide to do, and if you cannot keep at it do not get discouraged. Artists of all kinds have blocks. Writers even have their own type of block named after them. It is okay if you feel stuck because that means that something great is waiting once you find the strength to push yourself ahead.
3. Have Fun
Most importantly always remember to have fun. Do writing exercises that make you think outside the box or write some poetry. Go for walks, visit nature, go out with your friends or significant other and do things that make you happy. Writing is one of those things that makes you happy; otherwise you would not be reading this.
The fact that you are searching for ways to improve your writing shows that you care about what you do, and that speaks volumes about who you are as a person and as a writer. Hold onto that and never let yourself get too down because things are not working out in the moment.
Take control and be the writer you want to be today, not tomorrow!