5 Ways to Become a Better Writer

5 Ways to Become a Better Writer

Everyone wants to become a better writer today. No, not “a writer”. A better writer, because no matter who you are, these days, your life involves writing. You may not like it. You may struggle against it, but today business is 24-hour, non-stop, and global. You need to communicate often, and do it well. Preferably, without slamming your head against your desk, and wishing you were dead.

Let’s look at five ways you can become a better writer.

1. Keep it Short

Keep writing short

 

Steve Jobs was a genius. He knew good writing, and how to write. He kept it short.

You don’t need to confine yourself to one-word answers in your email messages, as Steve did in in the message here, but it couldn’t hurt.

Here are two words which will improve your writing TODAY: say it. Just say what you have to say. Don’t circle around the topic. Don’t waffle. Don’t try to “write.” Say what you mean to say, straight out, no messing.

 

2. Do It More

write more

I love “10 steps to becoming a better writer,” by Brian Clark.

Writing takes practice. That’s why professional writers write every day: they know that writing is a muscle. They know that when they take time off from writing, they lose their facility with words. The more you do anything, the better you get at it.

To repeat: the more you do anything, the better you get at it. Your writing is always the best you can do, at the time. Your writing will be better tomorrow, and even better next year. Write.

 

3. Get Interested: Passion Shows in Your Words

You can feel energy, or the lack of it, in words. So, to write well, you need to become interested in your topic. “Interest” is active, rather than passive. I’ve written well about concrete rebar, mulching, and pathology tests. (By “well” I mean that the words did what they were supposed to do – they sold products.)

Whenever you’re tempted to say: “this is boring”: learn more. The more you know about something, the more interesting it becomes… and you’ll become a better writer.

You can write about anything with passion. Find out more about your topic, and you’ll become passionate about it.

4. Be True to Your Values and Beliefs

You need to be able to think: “so what?” when someone criticizes what you write. Not in any passive-aggressive, or defensive fashion, but because you know you can do it again, and do it better, if you need to.

You may not need to, because part of your acceptance of criticism is knowing your values and beliefs, and being true to them. You calmly consider the source of the criticism, and take that into account.

If you’re an author, take note of reviews, but never, ever respond. Remember: “so what?” If you’re not capable of insouciance: don’t read reviews. Lose the attitude that you’re always right. You may not be, but it doesn’t make you a lesser writer, or indeed a lesser person.

5. Read, read, read. Write, write, write.

Good writers are readers. They read books. You become a better writer by reading good writing, and bad writing too.

Stephen King:

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

So there you have it. Five ways to become a better writer. As Woody Allen famously said:

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

Show up. Write.

And if you’re ready to SHINE, start today. Get coaching. Or, join our final Team Up session for the year; it ends soon.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Copywriting Tips: For New and Established Copywriters

copywriting tips

It’s copywriting week on Fab Freelance Writing Blog. Not only will we have copywriting tips galore, we’ll be cover our usual mix of writing guides and inspiration.

Looking around on various forums, I noticed that “copywriting” has morphed into a weird mix of definitions. Content writers who write informative rather than sales material call themselves copywriters, as do copyeditors who are editing books.

When I talk about copywriting, I mean advertising — sales writing.

Here are some articles we’ve published recently.

You, The 30-Second Copywriter

Copywriters sell. They make money. If you’re a struggling writer, and you’d like to become a copywriter, you can become one in 30 seconds or less.

I’ll share my favorite copywriting advice with you in a moment. If you take it on board, you’ll not only be a successful copywriter, you’ll be a success at everything you choose to do. Think I’m kidding? Not so.

Read the article.

Your New Freelance Copywriting Business: 3 Quick Tips

You want to start a freelance copywriting business. Congratulations! Not only is copywriting lucrative, it’s also lots of fun. You need empathy, creativity, and the ability to persuade.

I was lucky; I fell into copywriting completely by accident. At the time, I was a romance novelist. To my mind, real writers wrote novels. Writing copy, on the other hand, was business. I was wrong, and right. Copywriters are real writers, and copywriting is writing forbusiness.

Read the article.

Copywriting Skills Equal More Income

Want to give all your writing a boost? Use copywriting skills. All writing is writing to sell in one way or another. If you tell us something, we want to know why we should care. Forget yourself. Think as your audience thinks.

When a writer says to me: “My book isn’t selling…” or “Help! I need to make $X fast to pay my bills…” I know that that writer’s not using copywriting skills. Please don’t tell me: “I’m not a copywriter,” just consider that you could use a copywriter’s mindset to put yourself in your audience’s shoes.

Read the article.

Advertise Yourself: 5 More Easy Copywriting Tips for Writers

Want to make more money writing? You need copywriting skills. We looked at five easy copywriting tips for writers to help you to advertise yourself. Let’s look at another five.

Read the article.

Copywriting Cash in 2014: 14 HOT Copywriting Tips

Want to increase your writing income in 2014? It’s simple. Learn copywriting. Not only are copywriting skills essential for any writer; you can also provide copywriting services to others.

Let’s look at 14 HOT copywriting tips which will help all your writing this year. By putting just one of these tips into action, you’ll be able to increase your income substantially.

Read the article.
, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Editing Your Writing: Say It Better

Editing Your Writing: Say It Better

Want to improve your writing? Edit it. “Editing” means different things to different people, from tinkering with word choices, to a complete rewrite. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been editing the first draft of a novel; in this case, my “edit” is a complete rewrite.

Never hesitate to rewrite completely. You’ll say it better the second or third time around – don’t bother checking the original. As Jason Fried says about editing in Writing Decisions: Saving space without losing meaning:

The first thing I do when I want to cut out some words is not read the original version. I just write a new one. I don’t want to be influenced by what I thought I had to say before. I want to think about what I want to say now. After I’ve written a new one I go back to the old one to see if there was anything critical I missed.

You’ll Say It Better in Later Versions

Later versions will always be better than your first attempt, whether you’re editing an advertisement, or a book. You know what you want to say, so your writing will be clearer.

Not sure about a complete rewrite? Try it. If you’re writing a book, rewrite a scene, or part of a chapter, and see how you feel. You may well realize that rewrite gives you freedom and options you didn’t have it the first draft, and won’t have if you try to reword the original.

My students tend to be outraged when I suggest that they rewrite completely, expecting it to be hard work. They’re surprised when a complete rewrite is easier than a laborious edit.

, and on Twitter: @angee