Three Steps to Better Writing

Posted: March 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
Photo By: Wayseeker2000 (Creative Commons)

For me, writing is a passion – my passion.  I love putting words on paper – or in this case “on screen.”  I love to play with words, to rearrange them and see what new ideas I can come up with. To see how many ways I can say something using fewer words, different words or no….

I believe that God has given me an above average understanding of and ability to use words to communicate. To any of you that knew me in high school this may well come as a surprise. I believe that it is my job, as a Christ follower, to use this ability to glorify and honor Him.

 

Writing, for me,is an act of worship.

 
I love the idea that God might use my words – words that He gives me – to change His world.

 

The thought is humbling.

 

The only things more important to me than the act or art of writing are God and my family.
Creating something, a writing project, a car, a house – whatever – is the closest I think a man can get to giving birth – no, I am not suggesting they’re the same! But I am saying that God, the Creator, who made us in his image, has given us the ability to breathe life into our own work – to create.

 

So, I think it only right for me to share my insight on what I think it takes to become a better writer.

 

PEOPLE

As a writer you’re going to need people. Lots of them. A wide range will be the most helpful. Fortunately for us, people come in all shapes and sizes. Each one sporting a different background set of ideas and ideals. Gather them in. Bring them close. Let them get to know you. The real you. The better they know you the more help they can be – this part has not been easy for me.
Use these people – nicely. Give them your words and then the freedom to like them or not. To critique what you write. To make suggestions. This will sometimes be painful, humiliating perhaps. Accept it as part of the process; a necessary evil.  Don’t take it personal. They’re not out to get you. They want to help you. They want you to be better. Everyone has room to grow and there will always be someone that knows more than you.

These people will become like a family to you. You’ll laugh with each other, you’ll cry. When it turns into a good relationship – and it can, you’ll disagree, maybe even argue; but you’ll come back together and enjoy the process again – better, stronger. This collective can be known by many names.  A very popular one right now is tribe but whatever you call them, these people are going to play a vital role in you becoming a better writer.

READ

To become a better writer, you’re going to have to become an avid reader. I know the two do not seem to mesh but the truth is, the more words you see, the more styles you consume the more you can use in your work.
Read everything. Read newspapers, BLOGS, news sites. Books, books about books, vocabulary books, classics, fiction, non-fiction. Read poetry, song lyrics and recipes – seriously, you’d be surprised by some of the genius you’ll find in old cookbooks. I think it is important to stay on top of your genre. Whatever it is you write, know what others are saying. It not only helps you clarify what you’re saying but it can challenge what you know, what you think and what you think you know.

Never run from a challenge.

 

But do not neglect other areas outside your comfort zone. If you write about cooking read about cars. If you write about politics read about theater. If you write about mountain climbing read about knitting. This opens doors to allow you to tie things together in ways no one – you – would have ever thought. It adds to your arsenal to make you a better writer.

WRITE

OK, I know. It seems like this is a no brainier, right? But you’d be shocked at how many writers simply do not engage in the act of writing. Oh, we’ll buy books on writing, read BLOGS about writing – eh hem – but we put off the act usually for fear of what our actions will bring. Words.

 

I admit, it’s scary.

 

The best, honestly, the only way to become a better writer is to write. A lot. Everyday. Multiple times a day. Get a small notebook – or whatever size that works best for you and spend some time every day just writing. Write and get the words out. Get the juices flowing the ideas churning. Do this for several days. Make it a habit. write until you cannot think of anything else to say then fill a couple pages with the phrase, “I cant think“.  

 

Write until your hand feels like it is going to rip itself off your arm and run out of the room stealing your pen. Oh, and NO EDITING– now is not the time for that. Don’t worry about the structure, the syntax or the spelling.  Now is the time for training yourself to get the words out. To see how it feels to write. To engage yourself in the act, the art of creating something. In most cases this will be a private journal or even something to just trash when the book is full – I keep mine because I never know when, in fit of accidental genius, I will write something that I forgot was brilliant and want to revisit those pages. Do it how ever you want. The important thing is to DO IT. 

 

And, YES, I mean now. 

 

What motivates you to write? What keeps you from writing? Tell me about it below.

Comments
  1. TC Avey says:

    I love how you compared writing to acts of worship! That's powerful.I love to write. For the longest time I kept the words to myself. I'm so glad God guided me to blogging. One day I pray to have the books He inspired in me published!

  2. Mickholt says:

    Thank you very much. I really do think of it as worship – though not always while in the middle of something. He gave me the ability so to honor him I have to write – I think it might be sinful to not write – James said in 4:17"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (ESV)."Thanks again for the comment.

  3. […] I have said before that to write, for me, is an act of worship. It is not different than someone that sings or plays guitar, leads a bible study, buys a meal for a homeless man, helps out at a soup kitchen, or does someone’s taxes. […]

  4. […] also have some other thoughts on writing – click here or […]

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