Writing is one of the most important and rewarding skills you can cultivate. It also happens to be one of the most difficult. When it comes to writing, every piece, every situation is unique, making it difficult to rekindle that creative spark successfully.
Becoming a better writer means digging deep, looking beyond the surface level, and understanding the fundamental principles of effective communication.
Griffith Littlehale has tips for new and aspiring authors who want to improve and challenge themselves. Read on to learn how to become a great writer who consistently delivers effective content.
Writing is a muscle. Like any physical activity, you can’t build up muscle without using it. But instead of pushing a weight, you’re pushing words!
Write every day to make it a habit, says Griffith Littlehale. Not just a few sentences or a paragraph–write for a minimum of thirty minutes every day for at least thirty days. This gives your body and brain the time it needs to develop muscle memory and habit.
The writing doesn’t have to be perfect or even usable–you just have to build those writing muscles. You’ll be amazed at how much you can improve with consistent practice.
Remember, using your writing skills is the best way to hone them.
Rituals are important because they set the stage for other aspects of your writing routine. Having a routine will help you stay focused and put you in the writing mindset.
Every writer will have their own rituals, says Griffith Littlehale, but here are a few examples:
- Make yourself a cup of coffee and let it cool–take your first sip after you write your first sentence.
- Put on your favorite tunes before you sit down–if you’re easily distracted, try instrumental music or video game soundtracks for focus.
- Clear off your writing space. Organize yesterday’s notes and read over what you have accomplished so far.
No matter your ritual, you don’t want anything to take away from the activity at hand. Turn your phone on silent, turn off desktop notifications, and work uninterrupted for at least thirty minutes.
Distractions can come from just about anywhere, anytime. They can be external—someone knocking on your door—or internal—your email inbox exploding with messages, your phone blowing up with Facebook notifications, or the laundry list of chores you have waiting down the hall.
You need to make a conscious effort to unplug from distractions, explains Griffith Littlehale. That way, you’re not letting anything interrupt your writing efforts.
Use a timer when you’re getting started with your new writing habit. You can set a timer for every fifteen minutes, and when it goes off, you can either keep writing or unplug from whatever has distracted you. Eventually, you’ll be able to push the timer back to twenty minutes, thirty, and so on.
Writing is a skill that can be developed through practice. But that practice has to include the right tools, the right mindset, and the right attitude. Practice every day and develop the habit to reap the rewards.