These days it seems like everyone's a writer. Blogging is now considered a legitimate profession and money-making avenue and almost every person in the free world has some form of physical or online journal. Text messaging has forever changed (and somehow degraded) our spelling abilities and grammatical know-how, and social networking sites have gotten us so used to composing fragments as opposed to complete sentences. But with the mad tortuous trends that our decade has welcomed in terms of documenting our daily lives and creating written art, there are still a few people who care enough to write well. You will find many unique, aggressive, eccentric, and prolific authors whose time to shine has yet to come.
So how do you set yourself apart and stand out head and shoulders above the rest? Below are a few tips on how you can become a more prolific writer.
1. Make the effort to write every day. Writing is a muscle that gets better with practice and regular exercise. It doesn't quite matter what you write about. Just get the ink on paper and start writing about anything that comes to mind and when you feel your energy flow more fluidly, don't stop. You can try writing short paragraphs or try filling up a whole page.
2. Expand your vocabulary and expose yourself to different writing styles. You can do this by reading a lot. Read whatever you can get your hands on (hopefully you opt for the tasteful and quality kind) and soak in the different ways that writers convey their stories and messages. This is not so you can choose who to imitate or whose writing style to mimic. Rather this is so that you can find a better fit for your own style and a better execution for the kind of literature you're aiming to put produce. You will do well to read books that help you write well. Check out The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
3. Mind your grammar. Bad grammar is like a nasty pothole on a smooth, stretch of road: you're driving at a steady pace and you love the cruise when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a great turbulence shakes you up and makes you veer off course. Bad grammar has the same effect on your readers-it ruins the mood and makes them lose momentum. So make sure you not only have a dictionary in hand, but grab yourself a thesaurus as well to help you understand more thoroughly how to use certain words.
4. Document your inspiration and write down new words and meanings. Have a notebook where you can quickly jot down the things that get your attention: it could be a funny conversation you overhead on a train ride home, or an incident you witnessed somewhere in town. Whatever piques your interest is worth taking note of. Document colors, smells, textures, things of nature that grab your eye. Consider this notebook as a bank of ideas that you can reach into and withdraw inspiration from. In another notebook, scribble new words that you come across in your reading and write down their meanings as well as a sample sentence in case you forget how it is used. This can be your vocabulary notebook.
5. Brainstorm and research. Sit yourself down and carefully marinate on your chosen subject. Have a blank piece of paper in front of you where you can write or draw a map of ideas that fall under that topic. Mapping them out will help you get a better sense of literary direction as you write your piece. It helps to identify whether you want to write a fictional or an informative piece. If you opt for the latter, make sure you do a good lot of research. You will want to come across as an expert on the topic you are writing about.
6. Write fast. Teach yourself to "touch type"-as in, typing without looking down at the keyboard. Writing fast will help keep your creative energy and thought process from being disrupted. Worry about editing later. For now the important thing is that you are able to lay down the essential groundwork of your written piece. When you're done writing, take some time off before you go and edit it. You will need fresh eyes to go over the words and sentences.
7. Have someone else read your piece and ask for honest feedback. Be prepared to receive comments that may sting your pride but embrace the critique because it could help you a great deal. The more open you are to criticism and correction, the better your chances at improving greatly.
8. Don't stop writing. Just because you get a bit of discouragement from other people shouldn't dampen your excitement for writing. Keep it up and keep improving. In fact, you can even use that kind of adversity as a driving force for your next written piece! Years from now when you look back and read up on your old work, you will see how much you have progressed and improved.