In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to contribute on some popular sites like Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Good Men Project, Business 2 Community, and a host of others. I live the writer’s life, and so far, it’s been awesome.
A lot of people have asked me privately how they can improve their writing. I have spoken extensively on the subject many times and written about it on many occasions too.
However, I wish to share some actionable tips and things I have learned over the years as a successful freelance writer. If you are a writer, stay tuned, these tips will help you improve greatly. And if you are an aspiring writer, then these are what you have been waiting for to start. They will help you improve your writing skill.
1. Write every day.
Don’t get it twisted. If you are a writer, then you have to write. Your job is not to talk about what you want to write, about what you think of writing, or about what you wrote in the past.
If you are a writer, please write. Pen, paper, laptop, desktop, phone, whatever, just write.
Keep a pen and paper handy all the time to take down your ideas and write.
A writer can never get too big for writing. You can’t outgrow it. Personally, I write every day. The day before I wrote this, for instance, I was able to write more than 4,000 words altogether, and I know I can do more if I have to.
2. Read every day: deeply and widely
Whatever you eat, and continue to eat, will finally eat you up. Or as the bible says, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
The reason you are out of ideas is because you have stopped reading. You are not an idea bank. You must have to search for knowledge all the time, on the subjects you write on, else, you will run out of what to write sooner or later
3. Write from your heart, and not what others tell you to.
There are times when you have to write according to a client’s dictate, I understand. But still, make it clear that you call the shots. Personally, I usually ask my clients to give me an idea of what they expect, then allow me to do the writing myself in a way I believe will be most effective.
4. Keep a diary, notepad, or journal handy
Inspiration doesn’t come all the time. But if you are open to it, it usually comes at unexpected moments. And don’t bother deceiving yourself saying you will remember that idea because you won’t.
So, keep a writing material handy all the time where you can jot down the ideas that come to your mind every day. It doesn’t matter where you are: toilet, church, having dinner, always be ready.
Personally, my phone comes in handy at such times.
5. You are first a writer before an editor
Always remember that your first job is to get it out before getting it right. I have written stuff before that I had to delete and start from the beginning many times. I have also written many times in the past and come back to see a lot of errors in my write-up.
Stuff like that should not stop you.
Back when I started writing professionally, I usually used an app that turns off everything in the system including error checkers. The idea is to let yourself flow without stopping for as long as possible before you start editing.
6. Take a walk from time to time to clear your head
Writers’ block is a b*tch. I know. To be honest, I started writing this note because I was in the middle of writing a book and all of a sudden, all the ideas that were burning inside me a few hours earlier just disappeared.
It is real. But when it happens, don’t force it. Just disconnect. Go out for a walk. Chat with your friend. Watch a movie. Read a book. Read other people’s content. Or write something else.
Also, make it a habit to experience nature. Don’t lock yourself up in an office or a room from morning to night. You need to interact with nature.
Sooner than later, your creative juices will start flowing again.
7. Your life could be weird at times, own it.
Are you a writer? Then you are that guy that can easily drift off into a world of your own in the middle of a conversation. You understand what it feels like to be looking at a television and all of a sudden something hits you and you scream.
Your friends may think you are weird, accept it.
Personally, I have a close friend who usually notices this weird me and then asks, “has it come?”
And we will both laugh it out.
8. Don’t aim for perfection
You want to be the next Chimamanda Adichie or John Grisham? I understand. Well, you can’t. You can only be you!
Your goal should not be to be famous or to be great. Your goal is to be a fulfilled writer. And to be that, you need to write from your heart. And when you do so, the fame, money, and greatness may follow you. But even if it doesn’t it won’t matter. Because all you want to really do is to write.