Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Ten Steps to Become a Better Writer"

Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards and her licensors

 1. Each time you write and rewrite, say to yourself, “I am getting better and better.” Have a special hat or shirt to wear when you are writing.

2. Write something. Rewrite it. Let it rest for 7 days (in a special place). Then get it out and read it over again. Think of ways to improve it.

3. Use the computer to write and rewrite your stories. That way you can save each changed version of the story with a date. Some people write better with pencil or pen. Honor the way you work best.

4. Read your story out loud. You may hear the mistakes you don’t see. Record it on tape and listen to it. Make notes of what you want to change.

5. Form a writing group with 3 other people. Listen to what others say. Ask them to tell you things they don’t understand in your story. Make notes. When you ask others if they like your story, be ready to accept a YES or a NO answer. You have to honor their opinion. If people don't like your story, it doesn't mean they don't like you. If someone tells you, if I was writing this story I would…you don’t have to do it. When people critique your work, they are giving you the gift of choices. Only use ideas that you agree with 100%. You as the author get to choose what feels best in your gut.

6. When rewriting, choose to change only those items you think will add to the story. You are the writer of your story. Ultimately, the choice of words in your story is up to you. Even authors who have had books published find things they want to change in their stories. Be pleased with how you have improved your story from the beginning. Be kind to yourself.

7. Read a book to learn more about the craft of writing. Look for skills you can use to improve your writing. Then revise your story again.

8. Reward yourself for each step you take. For each time you rewrite a story, put a penny in a jar, enjoy your favorite game, or serve popcorn as you read it to others. Don’t wait for someone else to reward you. Do it yourself.

9. Believe in yourself. Say, “I am a writer. I am an author. I am a published author. I am a paid published author. I am an author of a book on the New York Best Sellers list.”

10. Set your goals. “Hitch your wagon to a star. Take a seat and there you are.” Focus. Take steps toward your goal.Visualize yourself with the published book in your hands and the hands of thousands of readers. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from your goal. If people say that you can’t do it, show them you can. Use your talents to reach your goal. Never give up, no matter what happens. You are the only one who can stop you from reaching your goal. 


  1. Joan,
    I especially like #8. I decided to treat myself and my family to a ride in a 1929 model A car when I sold my first published activities to a children's magazine. The owner drove us around near where I live. We all had a great time. I keep a framed photo of myself beside that Model A as a reminder of reaching that writing goal. I bet other readers have celebration stories they could share too.

  2. Dear Linda,
    Thanks for sharing your celebration story of what you did to reward yourself and your family for your first published activities in a children's magazine. Awesome!
    Each time you reward yourself, you are filling yourself with confidence to take the next step forward to your writing goals.
    Congratulations for believing in you and sharing your gift of writing!

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  3. Thanks for this great list and reminder of why we should keep going. I really appreciate #10 - I'm often the only one stopping me from reaching even more goals!

  4. Dear Rosemary,
    I really appreciate your taking time to write. I'm glad you appreciate #10. You're not by yourself. Every human being had done that. We constantly hear, "I can't do that," when we think about doing something new. Think about all the people who told the Wright Brothers they couldn't get that thing to fly. However, the Wright Brothers told that inner voice and the outer voices, it could be done and they were going to do it. Then they took steps to make it happen. They focused on the solution to their problems. Sometimes humanity steps in and keeps us from going forward with our goals. We might take a few steps back. But with education and inspiration, we go forward and succeed. Good luck with all your goals! You can do it. Yes, you can.

  5. What a wonderful post. These are all great tips. Thank you!

  6. Dear Susanne,
    Thanks for writing. I'm glad you liked my tips. May they inspire you to keep going with your gift of writing!

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards