How to Write Well?

Writing is easy.

You put pen to paper, move the pen and writing happens.

Good writing is simple but not easy.

To write well, you just can’t put words next to each other. These words should mean something to reader – and to you before that.

To write well, you need to first write.

Write what Anne Lamott called “Shitty First Drafts”.

Write every day.

Write every day – not 2 lines, 4 lines but a reasonable set quota. For some it can be 200 words, for others 400 words. Those dedicated to writing should aim at 1000 or 2000 words a day. You need not start there but you can reach there gradually.

Why Write?

Even if you are not a professional writer, you should aim to write well.

Write your emails well.

Write your text messages well.

Write well; because words – written or spoken – are part of your persona. They define who you are.

So spend some time to craft your sentences, give them love and care – and people reading it will be able to feel it.

For professional writers opportunities are endless.

Web has lowered the boundaries for those willing to learn and grow.

And writing is not something for which you need to go to a creative writing class or journalism school.

You just aim to be easy to understand, be honest and should check your facts before you write them or post them online.

But fact checking, and adding references can wait till you get into rewriting your draft. The idea is to start without adding bells and whistles.

Once you start, get into habit of writing daily and put it online for others to see and comment. You are ready to be a part of pro-writing workforce.

With time you will get better and opportunities will come to you rather than you going to the opportunities.

Be realistic when you get started.

Think of it first as a means of learning and making some money doing it.

But be sure that once you have done your time – it can become a source of full-time income for you.

It can even get you a publishing deal like it has done for many bloggers like Jeff Goins, Chris Guillebeau and Chris Brogan.

Is it for you?

It may be.

If you feel like doing it.

If you something to say.

If you wrote small articles for your school’s’ annual magazine or you can write emails then why not write not try your hand at writing some essays.

Give it a shot. You may realize while on the path that writer’s life may be tough (and don’t come back and tell me then – that I didn’t warn you). But for now – think about the recognition, satisfaction and the (famous) life style of writer who just sits in a cafe somewhere in Paris and works on her novel.

Did I get your attention?

I think so.

So here it is once again.

  • Write.
  • Write every day.
  • Write “Shitty First Drafts”.
  • 200, 400, 500 or 1000 words.
  • Sleep on it.
  • Read it aloud
  • Rewrite to correct flow, spelling, grammar.
  • Put it online.
  • Ask for comments.
  • Rinse and repeat.

If the need be – read “Elements of Style” and “On Writing Well”.

Learn the rules first. Later you may break them.

As you move forward, weave dreams and stories in your writing.

Do it even if you are working on a client assignment – within the boundaries. Aim to give them more than they can ever imagine. Work at creating an AHA moment, surprise them.

Use active voice.

It changes the power and tone of the written words.  It will read like an actor performing a play in front of you.

Research your topic well. It widens your horizon and increases the depth of your writing. It also helps you complete your assignments in time, because you have already thought about the topic in advance. It is single-tasking at work. First do the thinking and then writing. Trying to do both together takes more time.

Ask for help – it never hurts. Ask a trusted friend who knows the craft, or a mentor – or if the need be the client.

Important to understand. Writing is a process. If you master the process, you can write on any topic. Do not tell yourself that you will only write fiction or non-fiction, politics or business. Try your hand at different – not without interest – but a person can have many interests. So write about all your interest areas – one at a time.

Think of “writing well” as an ongoing process. Do not think in terms of weeks or months – think a year or many years.

To you – living a writer’s life.

Please share your thoughts in comments.

(With contribution from editor)