How to Become a Good Writer

As put to me one time, writing is like a muscle, it must be exercised. In other words, if one runs a mile or two a week they could hardly be expected to compete or run effectively in a marathon.

So the question arises, how often should one write. Most will say one must write everyday. It is much like the concert pianist or violist who must practice everyday. However, that is not a rule that necessarily holds true. Substantial time must be set aside to hone your craft, though. And that is up to the individual.

The key to good writing is thought; giving careful thought and attention to what is written. Any one can sit down and let the keyboard clatter. You can whittle sticks or carve a masterpiece.

Crafting a good page is more rewarding and beneficial than tapping 20 pages of drivel. I’m of the opinion, if you drivel often, drivel will be most of what is written. Some might encourage to just write and to trim away the meaningless words during the editing process. Why would anyone purposely start a writing process knowing some of it is meaningless, only to be discarded later? That’s a wast of time.

Suppose you have worked an entire morning on a story and come to the conclusion it is not turning out the way you thought it might. Don’t delete it, save it!

A carpenter told me that a good carpenter is the one who knows how to cover his mistakes and how to use scraps rather than toss them into the scrap barrel.

Perhaps allowing your words to rest somewhere in a hard drive or in a folder someplace is all that is needed. Let it alone for awhile and read it later with a fresh set of eyes. You may find a precious pearl in a bucket of slime. And maybe it’s just you. It may even be a good story the way you wrote it. Do a little proof work on it and let somebody else read it.

How many times have we heard singers say, “I didn’t even want to record that song.” And to their surprise it became a big hit or their only hit.

It was once said good writing is rewriting.

Writers evolve; sometimes better other times just different.

Recently I watched an old interview with one of my favorite writers, Jesse Stewart. He read a sonnet from his famous work, Man With a Bull-Tongue Plow. After reading, he said it was a bit clumsy and he’d write it differently now. However, it would be criminal to change one precious word. Mr. Stewart changed. The perfect words we wrote yesterday, we may wish to rearrange today.

How does one become a good writer? Write often and with purpose and find ways to convey thoughts in better ways.


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