No, seriously. Put your laptop away and open up a book. Read everything you can get your hands on in your genre (and beyond) and devour the words on the page. Reading is one of the most important things a writer can do to help with their craft. Go on, I dare you to stop working and read at least 2,000 words. You’ll be amazed by how much your brain picks up on while going over already published pages.
Do things you enjoy that DON’T involve writing.
Go for a drive, go to the movies, hangout with your friends, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE and go sit in a bookstore. Is there a park nearby? Then go there. Surround yourself with people and random interactions, then sit back and absorb all the details around you. (Not in a creepy way, of course.) Make sure you bring a journal just in case something brilliant comes your way. You never know what passing piece of conversation will inspire you.
Talk to other people in creative fields.
How can this help to improve your writing? Simple. Talking to people in creative fields, whether they’re making music, art, acting, or writing, you’ll start to feel more confident in your work. You realize that if you’re feeling blocked creatively that these are feelings EVERYONE goes through. Sometimes talking to someone about their creative process helps you to understand your own as well. Plus, it’s just nice to commiserate with other people who get the ups and downs of the creative life.
Write a short story.
Now I’m just talking crazy, right? Sort of…but hear me out. Short storying writing is HARD. Like I’d prefer to write ten novels in ten months rather than write one short story. Why? Because they are SUPER hard. That being said, they’re also really great learning tools for every writer out there. If you can come up with a story arc, plot, well developed characters AND have all the important points that make for a really great novel in 5,000 words or less – then you’ll start writing much tighter prose. While writing short stories you realize how important each individual word is. I dare you to write a 1,500 word short story today.
Listen to your favorite song.
Why is this something that will help your writing? It’s all about layers. Think about the emotions you feel while listening to your favorite song, or artist. Do you remember the first time you heard it, or who you were with, the kinds of feelings you had at the time? When I feel stuck on expressing emotions in my characters, I pick out music I think they’d listen to and immerse myself in the emotions I experience while listening to it. Normally I can’t write with sound on in the background, but I always take music breaks when I need to recharge that part of my writing. And it’s just nice to take a break from working working working to hear a great song every now and then. 🙂
4 thoughts on “5 things you can do to immediately improve your writing.”
Once again, we are completely in synch! I was about to write a similar post about how great my recent road trip was for my writing–I probably still will write the post if I get my pages done today, heh heh. Mostly it was great to be not writing (much) on the trip, but instead taking the time to dive into the things you list here! Felt great to dive back into writing this week though!
We are so good like that 🙂 It must be that time of year, because I SO want to go on a road trip to get those creative juices flowing.
I can’t wait to read your post!!!!
Excellent advice, Twink! The most difficult one for me is the second. It’s easy to get so saturated in writing that the other things I like to do pale in comparison and lose their attractiveness to me. It’s good to revisit them, and remember that there’s more to life than just bringing life to a world and characters. I need to live it myself from time to time. 😉
That’s MY biggest problem too! I’ve really been forcing myself to stop working all the time and actually go out and DO things this year. I’m still not quite “normal” on the social life scale, but I’m making more of an effort 🙂
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