It’s an innate desire most people have.
In fact, previous research revealed that 81% of Americans believe they “have a book in them.”
Not only do most people desire to write a book. Many people write books every year. In fact, nearly 1.5 million books (new titles and non-traditional) were published in 2013.
Writing is like being hungry.
It is a desire you cannot satisfy until you fulfill its cravings.
“Writing is like a ‘lust,’ or like ‘scratching when you itch,’” remarked C.S. Lewis during his final interview. He went on to say, “Writing comes as a result of a very strong impulse, and when it does come, I for one must get it out.”
Do you have a compelling desire to write?
Is there a story begging to get out of you?
Do you have an idea that you cannot but help share?
If so, what’s holding you back?
There are many obstacles and excuses that can keep us from moving forward. But the main reason many of us don’t place our thoughts on paper is because of fear.
The fear of not being able to express ourselves well. The fear of not having something worth sharing. The fear of someone else’s opinion.
For many years, I wrestled with a tremendous fear of writing.
Today, I still fight this fear.
Every time I sit down to write, edit. or publish anything, I have to punch fear in the face.
My ability to overcome my fear wasn’t something I planned to do. It was something that accidentally happened over the years.
After reflecting upon my experience, there are two essential lessons I learned. Lessons you cannot afford to miss.
There are many writing tips you can use to help you develop your abilities. But the two lessons below must be embraced on your journey to becoming a better writer.
1. Write, Write, & Write
Writing is not only an art. It’s a craft that can be learned.
You can learn the art and craft of writing by writing.
This isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes many hours of deliberate practice over a period of time to hone your skills.
It is true that some people have a natural talent for writing and wax poetic from birth. But this shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your interest in developing your passions.
You can become a better writer.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re 10, 20, 30, or 50-years-old.
There is no shortcut you can take, a program you can download, or easy button you can press to become a better writer. The best thing you can do if you want to write is to actually write.
2. Read, Read, & Read
Reading is the second best thing you can do to learn how to write.
For starters, if you are interested in writing on a specific topic, then you must learn that specific topic.
I’m not saying you have to get an advanced degree. But I am saying you will need to invest time in studying in your area of interest. There’s no shortcut to learning the material you want to write about.
Reading will also help you to see how others share their ideas. Getting a feel for how other people share their ideas will help you to better understand how to do the same.
Take the time to observe their style and tone, structure, how they use illustrations, and more. This will give you a good idea on what’s best resonating with readers.
It’s also important to read beyond your area of interest.
Read old books. Stay on top of the best-sellers list. And read the books your family and friends are reading—even if you hate them.
Reading beyond your comfort zone will stretch you as a writer in a good way. It will provide you with new perspectives in how you can best get your message across.
If you struggle with creating the time to read more books, then check out this post: The Easiest Way to Read More Books. It will walk you through a practical plan anyone can use.
My observations are not new.
People far more intelligent than myself have said them before.
So I will leave you with the words of Stephen King, one of history’s most distinguished authors:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
Dear writer, write and read.
These two steps will pave the path to your writing success.
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Jesse, you said, “And read the books your family and friends are reading—even if you hate them.”
What do you feel is the benefit there? Are you learning basically what not to do? Thanks!
Jesse Wisnewski says
Reading books others are reading, even if we wouldn’t have chosen them for ourselves, is helpful to see what type of content and writing style is resonating with people. For example, I read the “Martian” because several of my friends read it and it was a best-seller. This type of book doesn’t normally appeal to me, and I can’t say I was a huge fan of it. But it was good to read it to see what the rage was all about.