I can honestly say that one of my main hobbies and obsessions is writing and I try to practice it every day if I can. While it is fun to pump out a few paragraphs, building as story or creating a character, it can be quite tedious finding the time while working a full time job to just sit down and write. The main thing any writers will say when asked what the key is to improving your writing would be to write and to write a lot. However, that isn’t always an option as the day can easily be wasted away on a long commute to and from work or at running errands. So, I’ve decided to discuss a few of the ways that I think hone your writing skills even when you don’t have much time to practice. These tips are subjective and may not work for everyone, but I think that any method to better yourself and technique can be useful.
This one is a no-brainer and yet I myself forget how important it is to read as a writer. Seeing the way your favourite authors piece together a flowing sentence is magical and only makes you that much more eager to do the same. By absorbing all these various techniques and literary tools used in classic or contemporary books can really help heighten your own understanding of how structure and diction co-operate in creating a piece of work and how you too can utilize them. There’s no greater feeling to me than reading a paragraph from one of my favourite novels and revelling at the meticulous detail and effort put into evoking certain thoughts or feelings. What better way to start your journey of literary transformation than by sitting down and enjoying a good book and hot cup of tea?
EDIT YOUR EVERYDAY WRITING
Editing might be the most annoying part of writing and I tend to avoid it sometimes. But what I mean by this topic is to edit your daily vocabulary and sentence structure just in the way you speak to people or even the emails or texts you write. By experimenting with different syntax or using synonyms for basic words you are training yourself to be more open when it comes to communication that will translate to your creative writing. If we speak in office lingo, then that is what will come out onto a piece of paper, but if we take the time and really observe our speaking patterns or the way we phrase certain emails then we will be more cognizant of what makes sense and what doesn’t. There’s nothing more irritating to me than someone who sends a choppy email that you can’t make heads or tails of and that is something that can either be acquired through years of habit or changed through years of practice.
TAKE IN YOUR SURROUNDINGS
I am notorious for always having my headphones on when on the subway or taking walks around my neighbourhood. While this keeps me entertained, I feel like it inhibits me actually taking in my environment and really experience the things happening around me. The irony is that these times are when some of my best ideas for stories hit me and I feel like I’m only really absorbing half of what I could be. When I don’t have any sort of entertainment I’ve noticed that I am more aware of my surroundings and it gives me the opportunity to really engage with it on a higher level than just visual. The sun is no longer hot, but blazing. Or is it some sort of metaphor? A simile perhaps? Or maybe I can keep it Hemingway-esque and be simple and pure with my description. There are so many possibilities to interact with such trivial things that you wouldn’t otherwise notice and yet it is the best inspiration because it is real life—there’s not better muse than the world and reality we live in.
How would you improve your writing?