How to Become a Great Writer

How to Get Really, Really Good at Writing and Become a Great Writer

How to Become a Great Writer
Photo by Don Schuetze

How to Get Really, Really Good at Writing and Become a Great Writer

Want to get really, really good at writing and become a great writer?

I hear a lot of complaints about writing… how hard it is, how boring it is, how it takes so long, how they're just not interested in what they're writing about. The list goes on and on.

I think every writer has struggled with at least one of these problems at some point in their writing career. I know I have, especially when it comes to writing for my blog.

The number one trick to solve this problem is simple: do a lot of writing.

How do you get so good at skiing that you think black diamonds are a cake walk? Practice.

How do you increase your endurance to compete in the Olympics? Practice.

How do you learn how to write a great novel? Practice.

How do you… Okay, you get the idea.

It's a simple answer, but becoming a great writer requires a lot of work on your part. No one said it was going to be easy. There isn't some miracle drug you can take that will give you great writing skills overnight. (Who would want that anyway? The best part of the writing journey is learning and growing as a writer.)

So, how do you become a great writer? 

Start with a time commitment.

How much time can you devote to daily writing? Do you have 15 minutes to spare? Two hours to spare? However much time you can set aside for writing, do that.

If you're starting out trying to make writing a routine, start with a small time commitment. It's less overwhelming that way and you're less likely to get burned out. It helps if you can write at the same time every day, but if you can't, just make sure to get your time in.

You're just creating a habit for writing at this point. You're not competing in the Olympics, so for now, don't set your eyes on the gold yet. Get used to the activity and doing it consistently.

Expand your knowledge.

Writing regularly without learning new skills will make you feel like you're running on a hamster wheel. You're making a lot of progress with word count but you're not improving your skills. So, in addition to setting aside time for writing, allow time for reading. Read blogs, magazines, and books of all kinds. Study the writing craft and read everything you can about your niche.

Don't have time to read?

Reading and learning is a part of being a good writer, so if you want to get good at writing, you'll need to devote some time to reading. You wouldn't be a musician if you didn't listen to music. You wouldn't be a fashion designer if you didn't love fashion. It's the same with writing. You wouldn't be a writer if you didn't read.

So, how much time can you devote to reading? Ten minutes? Fifteen?

The important thing is that you start somewhere and that you do it daily (or at least regularly). Keep up on these two things and you'll be heading in the right direction.

Jody Calkins
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