Have you ever read a piece of your writing that you wrote when you first started? Does it even sound like the way you write now? You've most likely improved your craft with each piece you've written. But why has that happened? And can you improve it more? Or maybe you're a newbie, and you want to improve your craft and get published. Wherever you are in your writing career, here are three things you can do to improve your writing craft.
1. Get Honest Feedback.
I really think this is the number one thing you can do. You can do this with a good critique group, trusted beta readers, or hiring a reputable editor. No matter how you accomplish it, you need honest feedback. You need to know what is working and what is not working in your novel, short stories, memoir, etc.
With this honest feedback, you can decide what resonates with you and what doesn't. But it's so true that we are not objective about our own writing. Some of us are harder on ourselves than readers would ever be--and that's still not objective. So find other writers or industry professionals whom you trust, give them your manuscript, and accept their honest feedback.
2. Study a Writer You Admire.
I say this to my novel students and editing clients all the time. It's so important to read what you're writing. If you're writing middle grade, then read middle grade. While you're reading these professional and well-loved authors, study the craft. How do they open the book? How much dialogue do they include? How do they handle internal thoughts? What about dialogue tags and description? Use a highlighter and take notes. You're not going to copy from these authors; you're learning!
Some writers say that they don't want to read in their genre for fear of copying; others say they don't have time. But even 20 minutes a day will help. Want a challenge to get yourself reading 20 minutes a day? I have one starting April 30 on my blog ,and it's free to join!
3. Allow Yourself to Dream.
Your imagination and creativity are always active when you're writing, even if you're a non-fiction writer. But don't just dream about your manuscript. Dream about where you want your writing career to take you. Create a vision board. Write down your career goals. Daydream of giving your Pulitzer Prize acceptance speech. It's important to envision yourself having success while also being realistic about how much hard work it will take to get you to that success. But without the vision, you can feel discouraged at the amount of hard work and rejection that comes with writing. So...allow yourself to dream.
What about you? Do you have anything else to add to the list?
editor, and teacher, living in St. Louis, MO. She teaches a novel course for WOW! each month, which includes 4 critiques of your work-in-progress. To check out more about her, go to http://www.margoldill.com. To check out her next class starting May 4, go to the WOW! classroom.