Writing is a skill we can always get better at – and practice is something that definitely helps improve our skill! Here are a few tips for how to practice writing to improve your skills at it:
- Try writing for a genre or in a style you have never done before. If you generally write fiction, try non-fiction. If you usually write horror, try romance. If you prefer writing for adults, try writing for children. If you are usually all about writing descriptions, try writing a screenplay. Mix it up and try something totally new to get out of your comfort zone.
- Experiment with writing different lengths. Take up the NaNoWriMo challenge and write a 50,000-word novel in one month… or try writing six-word stories. Shift from writing a manuscript of several hundred pages to focusing on Tweet-sized pieces of writing.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@Saganlives”]Writing is a skill we can always improve.[/tweetthis]
- Prepare an outline and summary for a story. This type of organizational writing and summarizing can be extremely challenging if you’re not used to it, but it’s an important craft!
- Spend 15 minutes free writing. Sit down at the computer or with pen and paper and just write. Don’t worry about if your sentence doesn’t make sense or if the content is silly; just write and see what comes out.
- Edit your work. Editing is a different skill than writing, but editing your own work can help you to see where your writing can be improved. While you certainly can send a first draft of a manuscript for an editor to review, you will be able to improve your writing by going through and editing the first draft yourself.
- Do some collaborative writing. Write an article or story with another author. What’s fun about this way of writing is that it introduces you to a whole new style of writing. You can also talk with the other author about why you are each writing in these ways, what you like and dislike about your writing style, etc. (And when I say “author” here, I don’t mean that it necessarily has to be a published author – a friend who likes to write will do just fine!)
- Re-tell a story that you know in your own words. Write your own version of a classic fairytale. Write a different ending to one of your favorite books. Doing this will give you the opportunity to get to know familiar characters in a new way, and think about plot and voice in a new light.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@Saganlives”]Improve your writing by editing the first draft yourself.[/tweetthis]
- Learn new words. If you like to write, the chances are you know how to put a story together (the basics of it, at the very least!). Of course, there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking courses or reading books on how to write a story, but I tend to feel that learning new words can be more useful. Broaden your vocabulary so that your writing can expand and evolve.
- Create a character analysis. Either create a new character and conduct an analysis of them, or work off of an existing character (from your own writing or someone else’s). Get as deep into the character as possible, taking into consideration what they would say or do if you spent the day with them, and where they will be in 10 years, and how they would react to shocking news. This will help you get out of your head and into the character’s.