It doesn’t matter what it is you are good at, you could always get better and writers are no exception. To an extent, writing is one of those skilled jobs that not everybody can succeed at no matter how hard they may try but that does not mean to say we cannot still improve. For me one of the most effective ways to improve our writing skills is to look around us, take on board how other people write and listen to the feedback we receive from others about our own writing. Of course we won’t get it right overnight, but there are things we can do that will help us to constantly improve to become the best writer we can be:
Draw Inspiration from Others
One of my favourite writers is Irvine Welsh and his writing style has had a big influence on me. Many people might be turned away by Irvine’s brash style and strong language but this does not deter me in the slightest. As somebody that grew up with a Glaswegian grandfather that spent much of his life as a rank and file navy man, I was desensitised to strong language at a very young and could turn the air blue before the vast majority of my peers could. It is not the strong language that attracted me to Irvine Welsh however and certainly not something that has influenced my writing. After all, mentioning a particular synonym for a popular reproduction technique is hardly likely to be appropriate in an article about floor tiles. What I do like about Mr Welsh’s work is the way that he seemingly gives little care to the rules of writing and writes how he wants to write. This, for me, helps to bring the reader further into the story and this is something that I often try to do myself whenever I am writing something.
Practice Makes Perfect
I’m an internet warrior. I’m one of those people that will stay up all night arguing with other people on internet forums on matters that none of us really know about. This is partly because of a need to always prove that I am right, even when I am wrong. I am also an internet warrior because I find it good practice in transforming the thoughts in my mind into words on a page, which is something that can be a real challenge to writers at the best of times. Pitting my writing skills directly against other people can help me to see where I can improve. What’s more is that internet forums are full of people from all walks of life so I get access to an almost unlimited range of writing styles. By picking up mannerisms in writing from people across the world use I get a vastly expanded arsenal to draw on when I need it. Even people that are not technically good at writing can be a great learning resource because mistakes can lead to a quirkiness that can help to give your writing character.
Pay Attention to Feedback
Paying attention to what other people are saying about your work directly is an obvious way to learn how to improve. People may not always be complimentary about your work and sometimes their comments may not even be warranted, but everything should be taken on board nonetheless. Some of the best relationships I have had in my copywriting career have been with clients that are critical of my work because this helps the relationship to develop. Not only can I learn to deliver what the customer wants which makes them happy, but I also gain a valuable learning experience that I can carry with me throughout the remainder of my career.