3 Tips to Dramatically Improve Your Writing Skills
Did you know there’s a website called Medium.com you can use to make a full-time living writing, no strings attached? Get exclusive access to your free five-day email course on monetizing Medium.
Why are you making this so hard?
I promise you, if you work on your writing consistently, you will get much better. You don’t need a giant bag of tricks. You need a few simple skills, routines, and practices that you drill over and over again.
If one word describes my writing, it’s simple. I don’t get cute at all. I get to the point.
The point I’m trying to make here?
You’re a few simple disciplined actions away from exploding your writing career. And if you don’t do these things, you’re just getting in your own way and suffering for no reason.
For this post, I’ll be explicit. If you did these three things alone for the next 90 days, you’d see a dramatic increase in your skills.
The Number One Needed Skill that 99 Percent of Writers Avoid
It’s painfully obvious to me that most aspiring writers don’t practice writing headlines. They’re so bad. If you spent 90 days straight writing ten headlines per day, you’d instantly be in the top 5-10 percent of all bloggers on the planet earth. Easily.
My advice? Do exactly that. 10 headlines a day. Takes 10 minutes. I’ve done it daily for five yars. Do it even if your ideas suck — especially if your ideas suck.
Getting good at writing headlines doesn’t just help you come up with more compelling strings of words to get people to click on your articles, but they help you create better articles period.
- Good headlines make a promise, hence you write a check that your writing has to cash. Writing quality headlines puts pressure on you to create quality content.
- That promise helps you create the content you’re going to write about. Most aspiring writers “don’t know what to write about.” Having a headline ready to go beforehand solves this problem.
- Good headlines keep you in-tune with what people want. In coming up with great headlines, you take the focus off of yourself, which allows you to write in an empathetic way that draws more readers in.
Headlines are the definition of the 80/20 rule when it comes to becoming a top writer.
I promise, if you don’t learn how to write good headlines, you’ll never have a career as a blogger. Never. So do it.
Don’t Build a House Without a Blueprint
If you’re struggling to consistently create quality content, I’m guessing you don’t take the time to plan your articles before you write them.
You just sit down to a blank screen and start writing. I’m laughing right now at that strategy, literally. Of course, you’ll have problems trying to write if you do it that way unless you’re a true natural.
Even though I do have the ability to write articles from scratch using an intuitive process, I draw from an outline and have an idea of what I want to write about before I sit down to write.
Here’s a simple process you can use:
- Mind map – Brainstorm ideas using big bubbles and smaller bubbles for sub-topics
- Outline – Organize those thoughts onto a physical document. A simple essay structure has three main points and three sub-points for each main point, sandwiched between an intro and conclusion
- Extras – You can so fo far as to hunt for quotes you’re going to use in each section to add extra flavor or specific sources you want to cite and link to, as much as you need to to have a crystal clear idea of what you’re going to write about
Ask Yourself This Simple Question
Most aspiring writers suffer from the same exact problem. They can’t see outside of their own work. They’re self-centered.
How do you solve this?
Ask yourself a simple question after you’re done with a draft of your blog post:
Why would anyone, aside from you, want to read this article?
It’s funny. As a reader, you’re very fickle. You won’t tolerate low-quality writing. You wouldn’t take the time out of your day to read something that didn’t educate, entertain, or inspire you.
If you were to read writing similar to what you’re prone to writing, idiosyncratic personal accounts of your life, you wouldn’t want to read it.
Writing is similar to starting a business. Many business owners fall into the same trap. They’re picky and discerning when it comes to buying products, but all of a sudden when they have a product for sale, they expect everyone to buy it for no other reason than the fact they created it.
Are you suffering from the delusion that people should read your writing just because you wrote it? Gotta fix that if you want to be successful.
As best you can, try to use a dispassionate lens and judge your own writing as if you were someone else.
Writing Isn’t That Hard…You’re Making it Hard
It deeply frustrates me to see aspiring writers getting in their own way.
They don’t want to take the simple steps required to get better. They’d rather complain and surround themselves with other unsuccessful writers.
I’ve never once joined a group for writers specifically because most writers are full of shit and don’t want to do the work. Why would I surround myself with people like that?
Get out of those Facebook groups and just write, trust me.
Don’t participate in those promotional pyramid schemes where you all support eachother’s work. Just go and get some real fans who like your stuff.
You’re not disciplined. That’s the problem.
If you simply practiced headlines, outlined articles, published them, and stopped being so self-centered with this “build it and they will come” mentality, you’d be well on your way.
Honestly, I don’t know what to say other than that.
Practice and win or continue to struggle, spin your wheels, complain, and get nowhere.