Striving to Be a Better Writer by Writing MoreBy Karen Cioffi
Do you write everyday? Do you make sure you get some writing time in each week, if not daily?
If you answered yes to these questions, you should have noticed an improvement in your writing, and possibly an improvement in the speed at which you are able to write. But, that’s not all. You will also find it easier to think of topics to write about.
This is especially true if you do article marketing or ghostwrite articles for other writers, blogs, or businesses. The more articles you write, the better you’ll get at it. The more writing of any type you do, the better you’ll get, just like the adage, ‘practice makes perfect.’
But, what does it mean to get better at writing?
One aspect of writing improvement is the ability to create a well structured article or story. It should begin with an interesting or hooking introduction. The beginning lets the reader know what the piece will be about. And, it should move smoothly into the middle. You might think of the beginning as the appetizer to a meal.
The middle is the content substance. You let the reader know what the story will be about in the beginning, the middle follows through and embellishes on the topic. The middle is the meat and potatoes of the story or article, and it should move smoothly into the ending, or conclusion.
The ending wraps things up. It should wrap up any loose ends and tie the piece up into a nice package. It needs to leave the reader satisfied. You can think of the ending as the dessert.
The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is well structured and smooth.
Another aspect writers strive for in their writing is clarity. Along with a well structure piece, you need it to be clear, easily understood. It needs to have focus.
Think of your story as having a road map. You need to get from point A to point C (beginning, middle, and end) with as little deviation as possible. Your reader is following you down the road and you don’t want to lose him.
If you give your reader any reason to pause or divert his attention from the main point of your story, you’ll lose him. People have a short attention span today; they want the information as quickly as possible and with as little effort as possible.
If you write non-fiction and your topic is about health, don’t go off on a tangent about today’s political climate, unless it’s in regard to the stress it adds to your everyday life, and thus the harmful effects it has on your health.
The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is focused and lean.
The Writing Time Issue
There are a number of writers who give themselves daily writing quotas. Some may choose thirty minutes a day, others 500 to 1000 words per day. There are also those writers who feel too pressured having to fulfill a daily writing quota, so they choose to create weekly quotas, or just set time aside for writing.
One problem just about every writer faces is time. Even if you work from home, by the time you read and respond to your emails, keep up with your blogs, do your social networking, and keep up your family and household duties, the day can just slip away. That’s why it’s so important to have some kind of weekly writing plan or schedule in place and do your best to stick to it.
Bottom line, if you’re a writer it’s important to write regularly, if not every day, as often as you can. As with any craft, the more you practice or work at it, the better you’ll get.
Boost your writing and marketing efforts with Karen Cioffi. Visit The Writing World to find out why you should sign up for her FREE newsletter.
Hi Karen, I love your analogy comparing story to a road map. After driving endless highways this holiday season, I had to balance focus on the destination with a few unexpected turns, scene changes, speed bumps and local characters to keep it lively.ReplyDelete
I struggle with the balance, though, in my writing. Karen, how do you tell if you're adding interest to a scene or meandering away from the focus?
Hi, Susanne, I think a lot of writers struggle with focus and balance and the longer the piece the more struggle. Self-editing and critique groups are helpful in keeping focused. Another useful tool is an outline - with an outline you'll know if your straying. And, I read somewhere that when in the editing stage you should try to read the piece once through as a reader, not the author. Not sure how you can do this though. :)ReplyDelete
I write shorter children's works, pbs and mgs, so focus is a bit easier.
I think it's that 'long piece' struggle that keeps me from doing a full novel. One day . . .
Thanks, Karen...you're right, the longer the piece the easier it is to lose focus. If you've never tried a novel, go for it someday! I write picture books, too, (one is slated to be my first 4RV book) but there's a joy in creating an entire world big enough to let characters stretch their legs and surprise you. I've got one finished MG manuscript and one nearly finished. Lots of fun, but they take LOTS of time!Delete
You are so right Karen. I work from home but find it really hard to get my writing time in after answering emails, checking facebook and all my other social networks, and sure enough... I'm always seeing dirt to clean up in my house! And before I know it, the day is over. Last year I really struggled with all of that but am determined that in 2013 I will try my best to devote 2 hrs a day to writing and if possible, 2 hrs. to reading. I'm just going to have to learn to ignore the dirt once in awhile!ReplyDelete
Allyn, it's so good to see you here! I try to limit my social networking. While it's important, it's more important to keep limits on it.Delete
Since my daughter and her dog have been living with me (from Sandy) I can sweep 10 times a day and still see dog hair! :)
Wow, two hours of reading a day! That's ambitious.
One problem, practicing incorrectly does not make perfect. If one practices while improving, then one can finally work toward being perfect.ReplyDelete
Vivian, you're absolutely on the mark. Imagine practicing a music piece with the wrong notes!Delete
Yes, writing is so important. As is reading. Thanks for another great post, Karen. You do a lot to help others and that's a great legacy. Happy New Year.ReplyDelete
Joylene, Thanks so much. You put a smile on my face!ReplyDelete
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