How to become a good writer


Writing can be tricky at times and at other times we lose the enthusiasm to write, but there is no greater advice than to simply practise the art. Ever heard the saying, ‘Practice Makes Perfect?’ Even the best writers have to go through lots of editing, by agents and by themselves. Whether it’s writing a novel, a play or a poem, practice really does help. Try to find a regular time of day to write and set a time limit for yourself.

Often its starting that can be the hardest. Thinking up an idea, character or plot can be taxing, but try writing small exercises that you can draw on for bigger projects later on. For some this means keeping a diary. For others, it means finding writing exercises on the web or joining a writing group. Frequently, a writing group serves to get the creative juices flowing. Immerse yourself in anything that gives you ideas. It’s best to use them as jumping boards and create a collection of your own ideas and characters that can be lifted out of your notebook or which stories, poems or plays can be written around.

Never be afraid to experiment. Sometimes as a writer you are so busy trying to follow other people’s contradictory rules of what makes for a good writer, that it doesn’t leave you much space. Try different tones and different voices. Just because a certain tone or voice works for a certain novel you’ve read, does not mean it will work just as well for you own prose. Sometimes before you can be sure what works best, you need to do a few samples and see what one makes the desired effect. For instance, with ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,’ it is played out in first person and is an unreliable narrator. Sometimes to create a more reliable narrator you need a third-person omnipresent voice, but it all depends on what you are trying to achieve and whose point of view you are a trying to portray. Similarly, tone of voice, whether it is humorous or not, may depend on what character’s point of view you are taking it from.

Like with all good things you can easily be distracted. If you spend your time on Facebook and then dream of being a writer, you haven’t had time to practise. Don’t just dream it. Have the courage and determination to live it.