You’re a writer

You’re a writer, a content creator. Want to become a better writer? Then you need to write

Servicemen at the Gainesville Recreation Department's Service Center writing letters home.
Servicemen at the Gainesville Recreation Department’s Service Center writing letters home. State Archives of Florida/Boltin

Your readers expect you to churn out really good, really engaging, and really awesome content. What they don’t appreciate is that it takes some serious effort to create great stuff. The article that is so easy for them to read is actually really difficult for you to write.

Thankfully, through the sheer power of habits, you can get to the point where creating awesome content comes naturally. Habits have the ability to stick with you. They’re a pain to implement, but they flow effortlessly after that, here are a few daily habits that will make your content much better.

These are daily habits.

Skip the weekend if you want, but be sure to put these into practice during the days that you’re expected to produce content.

  1. Write everyday for least 30 minutes.The most powerful tip in this whole list is right here: Write for at least 30 minutes every workday. (Skip the weekends; you deserve the break.)To become a better writer, you have to write. A lot. Every day. There’s no way to improve without actually doing it.When you get into the custom of writing on a daily basis, your brain begins to anticipate it and prepare for it. This is particularly true if you write at the same time each day. Way before you put hands to the keyboard, the brain’s juices are flowing, allowing you to be more creative, more precise, and more skillful during your writing time.Every 30 minutes that you spend writing is 30 minutes that you’re getting better.

    Progress may not be huge, but at least it’s progress.

    Don’t know what to write about? Here are three great tools:

    • Daily Page emails you a writing prompt every morning, and you have the rest of the day to write your response. Once you’ve written your response to the prompt, you can either share it or keep it private.
    • 750 Words is a tool that encourages you to write 750 words per day about anything you want. It gamifies writing by giving you points for writing at all, for writing 750 words or more, and for writing on a consistent basis.
    • Twords calls itself “the app that nudges you to write.” It notifies you when you haven’t written in a while so you can keep yourself accountable — and even gives you the option to connect with others who will help keep you accountable
  2. Read something really well written.One of the best ways to become a better writer is to read what others have written. You’re not going to become a solid great writer if you spend all day reading low-quality content. But if you spend more of your day reading professional-grade content, then you will improve.The tough thing is, you have to be discerning to find the really good stuff online.To start, here’s a list of places where the content quality stays high:
  3. Read something amusing.Reading humor can help shake up your brain in ways that loosen up the creative portions and help you produce better content. If you need to get your fix of Buzzfeed or The Oatmeal, go ahead. Don’t feel guilty about it.Sometimes, the best few minutes of your day are spent laughing. You’ll enjoy a lot of benefits besides just the kick you got out of the hilarious content. You’ll enjoy the benefit of writing better content yourself. Your content may not be funny, but it will be good.
  4. Read something outside of your niche.If you want to get better, read broader. Reading other stuff has a of jump starting your own writing specialty. For example, maybe you write about marketing all day. If that’s the case, then take a few minutes to read a blog about Central Florida.Central Florida?! The style, approach, and nature of content that is found is a travel blog within your niche. Remember to balance your left and right brain. Good writing, regardless of what it’s about, will help you become a better writer.
  5. Read something you wrote in the past.Great orators spend hours watching their speeches. Professional athletes analyze videos of their moves. Politicians watch themselves on TV.You’re a writer, so you should read content that you wrote in the past. The goal of reading past content is not to edit it. It’s too late for that. Instead, you want to learn from it.
    • What was good about it?
    • What wasn’t so good?
    • What things do you write best about?
    • What sounds awkward?

    Ask yourself those questions and spend a few minutes getting a better understanding of how you’re doing as a writer.

  6. Go for a walk.Science has proven that taking a walk helps us think better. Some even say that it makes us smarter.Let’s face it. Writing is a mental challenge. You must be in keen mental shape to be able to produce the kind of stuff that you’re producing.So, if you want to sharpen your mind, then get out of your chair, head for the door, and don’t come back for at least 10 minutes. This isn’t a brainstorming walk. You don’t have to think about anything, let alone your subject matter. Instead, you just move your body, and your mind will take care of the rest.
  7. Force yourself to talk to someone.Talking is different from writing. But talking can help you become a better writer, too.If you want to write better, then talk better. You can’t improve your talking skills by staying silent all day.If you work by yourself, call up a friend. If you work in an office, shoot the breeze over lunch or coffee. Just pick someone, and be conversational. Using your writing skills to some verbal interchange will actually help your writing become better.
  8. Write fast. Edit slow.It may sound strange, but some of your best content is stuff that you will fast.It will have tons of typos and grammar errors, but overall, the content itself was pretty darn good.The mind can generate thoughts way faster than the hands can type them. If, however, you’re able to type faster, you’re able to transcribe more of those thoughts, along with extra nuance and clarity.Your fingers will never be able to match the speed at which you think, but when you do produce content rapidly, it has a much better chance of aligning with what you’re thinking.

    People often say “Oh I can not write. It just comes so slow!” Actually, they could write, if only they could type it out faster.

  9. Google is your friend.An important part of writing is the mechanical stuff — making sure you’re not breaking any grammar laws or violating any rules.If you come up against a grammar issue while you’re writing, do a quick Google search on it. It will only take a few minutes, but you’ll definitely learn something and possibly avoid an embarrassing mistake. Get into the habit of double-checking your grammar, even if you’re only slightly suspicious of your potential mistake.

Stay positive. Nobody becomes a better writer automatically. It can takes a long time, to form habits. But once those habits are in place, things can flow without any thought and hardly any effort. Before you know it, your writing will improve.