It is important to grow and become better at whatever it is you do.
The best athletes still have to train and practice.
The best doctors still have to keep up with the changes in technology and scientific discoveries.
The oldest Christians still have to study the word and pray.
There is no such thing as “arriving”…until we leave this earth, but that’s taking this post way deeper than I’m trying to go right now.
Over the past year, I have taken some intentional steps towards improving my writing and I thought I’d share them with any other writers who may be interested.
So here they are:
1. Read More
I don’t think it’s really necessary to explain the importance of reading to a writer, so, I mean, just do it! But seriously, reading other people’s writings totally broadens your perspective on life and sentence structure and communicating effectively…the benefits are endless.
In January I set a reading challenge for myself on Goodreads to read 20 books this year. I’m currently at 15 so I’m almost to my goal! Squeezing 5 books into 2 months may be a challenge, but I’m pushing to meet my goal. Goodreads, as a side note, is a great way to keep you motivated to read. It’s basically a social media platform for readers and book lovers. I love it!
2. Write More
Some people are disciplined enough to write on a schedule. I’m not that person, although one of my next steps will be implementing a more consistent writing schedule. For this year, I simply challenged myself to write more, whether it be on my blog or in my journal. I made sure to express via writing at least once or twice a week. I’ve definitely got to up my game, but this is much more frequent than last year!
3. Study & Observe Others
I made it a point to study and observe other writers and bloggers to see how they do things. From time-to-time, I’ll just go check out someone’s website or Instagram or Twitter, to see how they implement their writing and blog posts in other forums. I’ve yet to quite figure out my full rhythm in this area, but I am learning the importance of figuring out some sort of routine as to how you integrate social media in with your writing and blog posts. Still much to learn in this area for me.
4. Get Training
In November 2014, I signed up for Compel Training – an online school of sorts for writers. There’s literally so much content that I’m always finding something new. Whenever I get some down time, I take an hour…or three to listen to some of the teachings, or join in on a forum discussion, or try one of the writing challenges. Every time I listen to a teaching, I take notes like I’m legit, in school and then I try and implement what I’ve just learned as soon as possible. Being in a community of writers and having this resource has been tremendous in my intentional efforts to grow as a writer.
5. Find Writing Mentors
I have a few writer friends that have been greatly instrumental and encouraging in my growth as a writer. It has been such a treat to have people who are ahead of me in their writing careers, give advice, share their journeys, and challenge me along the way.
I don’t think I’ve quite been as intentional with these relationships as I could, but even with the haphazard convos and interactions we have had, I’ve grown and been challenged greatly.
One of these writer-mentor-friends is Nicole Partridge, she co-wrote an amazing book called “Heart of A Lioness” about this lady named Irene Gleeson, who I wrote about here. Nicole has been so encouraging. She gave me a book called “Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life” by Dani Shapiro. It’s a memoir about the artistic process, the art of story telling, and advice on the craft of writing. I’m just digging into it and I already think it’s a must read for any writer.
So there you have it!
Those are 5 intentional steps I’ve taken this year to becoming a better writer. I’m sure many of you have others. If so, do comment and share any tips or ideas you may have below! I might just send you something special to help you along your writing journey! :) I love surprises and giving things away so why not make this a giveaway post while we’re at it?
Comment between now and Friday (Nov 6th) to enter!