Melissa’s post last week started with the idea that we learn to write from our writing. I would like to take this idea and expand on the most important thing I have learnt from my writing practice. That is: that our writing can improve. We can get better. If there is an interest in learning and dedication to becoming a better writer (by doing the writing) then the writing will improve.
There is an idea that a creative skill, such as writing, is inherent not learnt. Not that I think I’m great – I still have a long way to go but I am certainly better able to craft a story and develop a character than I could when I started scribbling down ideas.
It is a case of practice makes much better.
There are several key areas of focus to become a better writer:
Learning from the writing itself.
It is the practice that makes us better. I track a lot more of my writing time; what I don’t do (but should) is journal more about what I learn from the writing process itself.
I know from looking over earlier works that my writing has improved. That first drafts make more sense and require less work. Still need work, editing and the like but not to the same degree.
Lots of reading and everyone says this and that is because it is a good idea. I have heard the idea that you should read at least 100 books in the genre you are writing.
I like to read a whole range of books. I enjoy fantasy but I think there is a lot to learn from other genre, mysteries, romance etc.
Study of the craft
This doesn’t have to be formal but I did learn a lot from my Masters course but reading blogs and articles by other writers and experimenting with their learnings and what works and doesn’t work for them.
I believe that writing can improve and that we can all be the writers we want to be with work. To get better there must be practice. That is something I have reviewed lately. I moan that I’m not getting done what I would like but then I’m not putting as much time into it as I would like. The more time, the more practice, the more thought and therefore the better the writing becomes.