Four simple habits to improve your writing skills


Patricia Lora

 

Becoming a great writer doesn’t happen overnight. Writing, like any other creative skill, requires you to step outside of your comfort zone and trust your abilities.

It is an intimate skill that can be nerve-racking when putting it into practice, however, with time and dedication you can improve your writing skills by maintaining a few simple habits in your everyday life.

Stay organized

Many writers consider reading as their number one piece of advice to better writing. Although I agree that being an avid reader is a fundamental approach to learning the craft of writing, I think that in order to read consistently you must manage your time wisely.

Magnifying glass over a time management graphic

It’s normal to think that reading is a tedious habit considering that everyone is busy with this crazy thing called life. But know that being busy is not an excuse.

Plan your days ahead and ensure you’re allotting time to read articles or books that catch your interests. Join book clubs and listen to audio books to ease your way into doing it daily. Staying organized allows you to pace yourself as opposed to rushing a good read only to check it off your to-do list.

Whether it’s an hour or just 10 minutes, reading everyday matters!

 

Jot it down

Writing every day is as important as reading every day, even if it means your daily quota is a sentence or just one word. Whatever it is, don’t forget to write it down. The best ideas come when you’re living in the moment of your day-to-day life.

collection of  various vintage note papers on white background. each one is shot separately

These rough notes act as personal prompts for ideas that you might have lingering in the back of your mind.

In the moment, it may be hard to pull out that paper and pen, but I guarantee that it will be worthwhile when you experience a major writing block.

 

If you can carry a bag, you can carry a book

Big or small, just keep it in there!

We’re all guilty of relying on social media to kill time during long lines and commutes. As accessible as phones may be, we often get distracted by messages from friends, emails and social media.

Woman sitting on the sofa reading a book holding her coffee mug in living room at home.

Instead of endlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed, try to replace this urge by pulling out that book that’s been napping inside your bag. Use this time to study genres and techniques that you can shadow in your own work.

Engage with the content and don’t be afraid to let your books experience patina—fold down pages, highlight and annotate.

 

Utilize the global village

All things considered, social media is a terrific platform to find inspiration and opportunities to share your work. The writing community can get very niche since there are so many sub-genres and topics of discussion.

close up of businessman hand showing texture the world concept Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Nowadays, there are many up-and-coming online magazines that are looking to grow with these interests. Many of them hold open-call submissions to give local writers a chance to develop an audience.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ‘slide into their DMs.' Ask them about writing opportunities, get your foot in the door and utilize the global village.

As simple as these tips may seem, turning them into habits takes time! Start by setting alarms and reminders until it becomes as mindless as breathing.

You might not see results in your writing overnight, but just remember to give it your all and step out of your comfort zone. Just like I did, when I joined Student Speak!

Learn more about The Writers' Community of Durham Region and the Durham Storytellers.

Want to learn more about the programs you could be perfecting your writing with at our university? Download our viewbook!

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