Are you a content writer looking to up your game? Or maybe you’re barely starting your writing career, eager to learn the ropes and develop the right habits? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll explore all the writing habits that separate good writers from great ones. We’ll discuss how to improve your writing process and give you plenty of tips to excel in that role. Sit back, grab your reading glasses and let’s dive in.
Tip #1 – Read what you write out loud
When you’re working hard on the next project, are in a writing mood and seem to produce sentence after sentence without effort, it is easy to just let loose and go with the flow. Sometimes, in the writing process, you will encounter such periods when words just seem to write themselves and everything is starting to take shape really quickly.
The writing process, however, should also consist of pauses. Not long, mind you, but long enough to go through the paragraph once again and see if it works. The readability of the text is crucial, and when you’re trying to fit in keywords and building sentences to rank for all of them at once, sometimes the effects are just not good enough. Remember that what you understand and the connections you make between sentences and paragraphs won’t work for everyone – you’re writing for a reader.
That’s why one of the most effective writing habits is to read everything you’ve just written out loud. Sometimes all we need is to just give voice to what we’ve just produced to realize the mistakes we’ve made along the way. Perhaps one sentence is too long and complicated. Maybe that phrase you put down actually doesn’t work that well and it’s better to look for a fitting synonym.
Readability is a direct factor in SEO, and Google algorithm will pick up on well-written articles. That’s why writing skills have to also go hand in hand with a good eye and ear to spot what works and what doesn’t.
Tip #2 – Find inspiration, don’t wait for it
Every good writer, be it a novelist or a blogger, will tell you that the key to overcoming what many refer to as writer’s block is to just fight through it. As a professional writer, you will no doubt find yourself in situations where you will just have to write, regardless of whether you feel like it or not.
You would do well to work on your writing routine by setting yourself a task of writing every day. That way, you will become accustomed to that kind of job. It will become second nature, and soon you’ll realize that you’ve mastered the art of fighting the lack of inspiration. If you’re a journalist, for instance, you may set a goal of writing a certain amount of news or articles a day. Alternatively, why not set yourself an even more specific goal, such as 1,000 words?
Among all the good writing habits and tips, many would certainly argue this is easily one of the most important. Establishing a writing schedule might be an incredibly beneficial idea.
Tip #3 – Outline first
As it often is in life, good preparation is, metaphorically speaking, half a battle won. Sure, you can go at it hammer and tongs, and the text might shape up quite well, but without a previously laid plan, you run the risk of having to write and edit everything at the same time.
Create an outline, as it is a very healthy writing habit that can save you plenty of time and teach you how to be a more efficient writer. Do some brainstorming, imagine what you want the text to look like, and come up with a structure that fits its purpose the best. A perfect outline should include:
- a topic (along with the most important keywords, when needed);
- a clear idea of the text’s structure;
- the main talking points and subsections.
Creating an outline before starting to work on the actual content will reduce your writing time and introduce some order to a process that can sometimes get a bit chaotic. Whether your style could be defined as bursts of creativity or consistent, hard work, an outline will keep everything well-organized.
Tip #4 – Don’t stop reading
Reading and writing should always go hand in hand. As someone whose words are their weapons, you want to work on your arsenal, broaden your vocabulary, and research different styles. There is always room for improvement, and keeping your mind occupied with the works of other writers will prove most beneficial.
Make it a habit to busy yourself with reading the works of other writers and try your best to learn from them. Such practice will no doubt help you develop your own style, and learn new words or phrases you haven’t heard before.
Regardless of whether you’re reading a science fiction short story, a social event report, or a scientific study, approach the works of others as a reader and as an analyst. There are lessons to learn in almost every text you come across, and as long as you at least try to find any hidden wisdom, you’re doing good.
Tip #5 – Don’t be discouraged by negative feedback
Every writer’s journey is filled with people who praise your work, as well as those who find faults and point out what you did wrong. Reacting well to negative feedback is especially hard for those who just started, but nonetheless, it is a hit you need to learn to take.
The more people read your works, the greater the chance that someone will develop a negative opinion of your style. It’s a simple truth that will always accompany you, no matter what kind of content you produce.
Develop a thicker skin and don’t get discouraged by critique. Even the most successful writers aren’t immune to criticism and it is their ability to respond well to it that makes them the best.
Everyone could use some constructive criticism now and then, so instead of being afraid of someone’s disapproval, look at it as a chance to learn. This will help you grow and get rid of any bad habits you’ve picked up along the way.
To sum up
Being a successful and effective writer requires you to follow some major rules and develop writing habits that improve your overall performance. Reading out loud what you’ve written, writing consistently, every day, and working on outlines before you start the writing process are just some of the habits that will steer you on a good path. Becoming an even more avid reader and coming to terms with occasional negative reviews are also two ways to improve as a writer in general. Combine all this and you will get your writing to the next level.