Learning to be writer is like any other skill, one that can be learned and expanded upon with practice and dedication. Very few people are natural writers, but almost anyone can write passionately about something, they can express something that brings them alive.
Writing is about the flow of those energies on to the page as lucid ideas and experiences that make us up. With the published world of the Internet, you do not need to be a world class writer to be good enough to get a paid gig. Some skill in clear expression is necessary though as well as sound grammar and spelling.
There are some basic practices that will help you to improve your ability as a writer. The important thing is establishing a routine of practices that facilitate your writing skills to the best of your ability, so let’s start with the basics; setting up the right conditions.
To get ourselves in the right writing conditions we should remove ourselves from distractions both externally and internally. Choose a quiet space where you are unlikely to be distracted by your phone or TV. You can cultivate an intimate space in your home, a nice desk, perhaps some low light in the evenings, a space that looks out a window for those reflective moments.
You also need to clear your mind and dedicate yourself to your writing session, bringing to mind the goal and purpose for this session and the long term. This helps to focus your energies on the task at hand, bringing your whole being to the act of writing.
What you need for ideas about writing is to be stimulated by input as well as your own reflective interests. The most important aspect for the writing urge is engagement. If you aren’t emotionally engaged, you are not going to produce much and what you do produce will be a bit flat or lifeless. Writing is about expressing yourself and your energy, if you don’t have much, neither will your writing.
Coming to understand what fires your passions and keeps you vibrant and alive is a very important part of staying inspired. This is about knowing yourself and understanding what aspects of your life flows into your writing.
You need to create the conditions for your own engagement and inspiration. Routine can be a very useful tool to continue to create these conditions once you identify the ones that work. You can start to orientate yourself around writing, so it becomes a part of your life. This means creating space in your life, not overworking, making time for pursuing your interests, leisure time etc. Most importantly you want to make some creative space in your life for reflection.
Next you will need to have an outline of what you are going to write. A basic layout is fine; the point is that it gives you a focus for your writing and research. No doubt your outline will change and evolve as you progress but this is all part of the creative process. Don’t feel like you have to lock yourself down to your outline, this is not the purpose of an outline and can be detrimental to the creative unfoldment going on as you write.
Researching information for your article will usually be a significant part of your writing endeavour but it is important not to get too distracted. The best way to achieve this is to be clear what it is you are after. So write down the questions you need answered and then collate this information for later. There is no need to delve deeply into the material at this stage; you are purely in the collection phase.
Write! yep, that’s it. You’ve prepared the ground so now it’s time to let it flow. Don’t worry to much about writing from beginning to end. Writing is all about re-writing. You will come back to your first draft later, preferably after a day. Start where you can and fill out your article as your creative juices flow. If you need to add details to your work leave a foot note and add it in later, the nit picking comes later when editing later drafts.
Don’t be too disheartened with first drafts as they are not the finished product, they are just the raw material to polish up to a fine piece of penmanship.
Editing to Final draft
It is good to get some time and mental space from your first draft before coming back to your work for your first major edit. This helps to separate you from the work and give you a little more perspective, a fresh mind so to speak. I also suggest reading aloud as well; this can add a new dimension to the work to hear it out aloud.
Grammar and spelling are very important in your written work. Any shortfalls in this area look sloppy and unprofessional and reflect negatively on you as a writer. Word processor spell checkers are very good but the grammar components are flawed to some extent. There are some quite good resources on the Internet that can proof check writing work better than your Word spellchecker. Ideally you should get someone with very good grammar skills to look at it for you and provide some added perspective.
One you have completed your second draft it is good to take another break before coming back and giving your final draft a once over. Some people find it useful to print it out and read it from print rather than from a computer screen or hand writing. This can help to pick up more errors and grammar mistakes.
Once you have cleaned up your final draft you are ready to publish.
Preparation, focus and inspiration are all key aspects to helping you to become a successful writer. If you set up the conditions whereby these qualities can come into being more easily and more often, writing will be a great journey for anyone willing to practice it.