Everyone can write, but not everyone is a writer. And not all writers are masters of the skill. However, everyone can become a writer and a master chef in the art of writing.
A writer is like a chef who needs to learn to chop, sauté, roast, and grill. She needs to understand what makes a meal nutritious and how to select dishes that taste well together.
However, a chef may not get the correct recipe for a meal at the first attempt. She improves as she learns and cooks more often. Improving your writing may seem hard, but disentangling your writing skills is not as hard as you think. We’ll discuss five practical guidelines to improve your writing skills and becoming a Master Chef writer.
Have you ever doubted your ability to cook some meals? The first think you need to master, as a writer, is self-doubt. We writers are feeble and self-conscious. While quality fuel our thirst to know more, to feel more, to have more, to be more, it could become a boisterous storm that can drown our ability. Hence, managing the emotions and feelings attached to the feebleness is primary to improving your writing skills.
Jason Rose gives a reasonable analysis of what writing is. He says, “Writing is 10% skill, 40% hard work, and 50% crippling of self-doubt.” If you could cripple self-doubt, you have attained an average in writing.
Most times, self-doubt springs from feedbacks and criticisms. This is the reward of every writer’s piece. However, our charge is not to fight, but to check our egos, absorb everything, learn from everyone, expand our way of thinking, and improve.
Practice writing skills
The key to improvement is practice. You improve your writing skills by practicing. You can keep your eye in writing by observing the following one after another:
- Learn how to write good sentences— a sparkling sentence is the basic ingredient of good writing.
- Become more conversational by including questions in your writing.
- Study how to choose flavoured words, and learn how to avoid bland phrases that make your writing tasteless and yuck.
- Compose smooth transitions so readers glide from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph.
- Experiment with your voice by changing punctuation and adding a dynamic rhythm.
- Create a mesmerizing flow by outlining or reverse-outlining your content.
- Practice writing soundbites that linger in your readers’ minds.
- Cook up fresh metaphors to make abstract concepts concrete and entertaining.
- Play with mini-stories to engage your readers.
Develop the right writing habits
Writing requires diligence and consistency. Kazuo Ishiguro, the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote the bulk of The Remains of the Day in four weeks. All it took was extreme dedication—and a willingness to be terrible. He developed habits that shot him up the scale to win the international recognition.
Tipping on how he got the book, which had lingered for months, out of his head, he wrote:
I would, for a four-week period, ruthlessly clear my diary and go on what we somewhat mysteriously called a “Crash.” During the Crash, I would do nothing but write from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. I’d get one hour off for lunch and two for dinner. I’d not see, let alone answer, any mail, and would not go near the phone. No one would come to the house. Lorna, despite her own busy schedule, would for this period do my share of the cooking and housework. In this way, so we hoped, I’d not only complete more work quantitatively, but reach a mental state in which my fictional world was more real to me than the actual one.
You can develop the following habits to spike your writing skills:
- Book a time in your calendar for writing, and try writing at the same time each day.
- Hold yourself accountable—publish at least one piece of content every week.
- Apply a structured process to your writing—plan, draft, edit, and format.
- Edit your content in several rounds because scintillating content requires careful adjustment of each ingredient.
- Nurture a sense of play and experiment with different techniques
Make your content more nourishing
Cooking the most delicious seafood paella is a waste of your effort, if your guest is allergic to prawns and mussels. Your writing is more nourishing when it focuses on what would benefit your readers. A good writing engages and inspires your readers.
Your readers are hungry for ideas, advice, comfort, and inspiration. Understanding how you can help your reader is the basic ingredient of nourishing content. Make your advice detailed, practical by demonstrating your tips with lively examples. Don’t forget to appeal to authority by including expert quotes and stats. And be persuasive so you can inspire your reader to implement your tips and nudge him to buy from you.
Find inspiration from masters
An aspiring master has the task to learn from known masters.
Study covers and learn how to write attention-grabbing headlines. Pay attention to words in movie reviews, sports reports, and novels—which words grab your attention? Read children’s books to learn how to discuss big topics in simple words.
Enjoy the sensory experience of poetry. Polish your persuasive writing techniques by studying direct mail and sales copy. Embrace serendipity—you can find inspiration anywhere.
You have good ideas. You want to inspire your audience. So, get to work. And write.