Don’t write, read . . . about how to write. While it’s true that practice makes perfect, practice alone won’t make your writing better.
These books are three of my favorites.
When I started writing my book Postmark, A Guide to Writing More Letters, Cards, and Notes, I re-read these books as I wrote. Just a chapter a day. As I read and wrote, I became more aware of structure, word choices, punctuation, tense, and rhythm.
Writing is a lot of rewriting. Tedious? Sometimes. But without it, readers will get confused and they won’t stay.
One way I like to practice writing is by writing letters. I start with a piece of scrap paper and draft my letter— scribbles, arrows, crossed-out words and sentences fill the sheet (it would be a terrible waste of stationery otherwise). When I’m ready to rewrite on better paper, stationery, or inside a blank card, I’m more confident that my writing is solid, easier to read, and more interesting.
Sure, write a letter to your mum and she’ll probably read every word. But if you’re writing a blog or a book, sloppy writing makes a poor impression. Make it the best it can be. Hone your skill by reading and studying the work of great writers, read books about how to write, then write, and rewrite.
Athletes have coaches and actors are guided by directors, why not you? Take a course, join a writing group, find an editor, or grab a how-to book at the library. It will make you a better writer.
If you're going to be a writer, be a good one.
What are you writing? How do you edit and review your work? How do you hone your skills? Got a tip? Share it with us, we want to know!
This is a Calendar of Days post - today is Opposite Day.