In this post, I’m going to share 15 ways to be a better writer this week.
But first, I want to give you just a little bit of context.
In 2009, I left my ‘normal’ 9 to 5 job in residential construction to embark on a ‘great adventure.’
I became a freelance writer.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this move would eventually end up being instrumental in my alpha male journey.
For four very basic, and specific reasons.
- Taking control of my own financial destiny allowed me to take back a great deal of my own personal power as a man… which I had gotten into the habit of giving away to bosses, managers, etc.
- Going through the pains of learning to start my own business gave me many of the tools I would end up needing to succeed as an alpha male in many other areas of life.
- Being a freelance writer was one of the first things I never gave up on in my life. This is very important… because the only true way to fail at something is to give up on it.
- Striving to build a career as a writer taught me that with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, I could absolutely succeed at anything I set my mind to… and this gave me an incredible amount of confidence.
You may have many reasons for wanting to know ‘how to be a better writer.’
You may want to improve your communication skills.
Maybe you have an audience that you want to connect with.
Maybe you want to earn money online, take control of your financial life, start a business, or launch some other kind of project.
Or maybe you want to connect with readers in a certain genre, and are looking for tips that will show you a way to level-up and improve your ability to create books, courses, blogs, or other works of art that will help you to make your mark upon the world.
In truth, there are many reasons for why a person might want to learn how to write better.
And in this post, I’m going to share 15 tips that will help you right now, this week.
Let’s dive in.
Can Anyone Become a Good Writer?
Absolutely, the answer to this question is a resounding yes.
But it is also important to understand that you can’t just read a ‘how to be a good writer essay’ and level-up your skills all at once.
It takes a lot of practice to become a better writer. Writing and communicating with a reader is a skill that, like any other skill, takes work, dedication, and perseverance to master.
But the good news is that if you are willing to put in the work, you can absolutely get better at it.
Understand That A Proactive Person Will Always Beat A Talented Person
One thing that we all need to banish from our minds is the illusion that you need natural talent to be good at something.
Will natural talent help you to level up faster?
Yes, it will.
Can you still become a master at something, even if you don’t have a bunch of natural talent starting out?
1 million percent yes.
When I started writing, I definitely had some natural talent. There is no denying that.
But it didn’t take me long to realize that my writing completely sucked when I compared it to what other professionals were writing.
And even today, after years of practice, I still read books and articles that are better than the things I write.
And that is totally fine!
In fact, this is good.
We need to understand that there will always be someone better.
Our goal, then, is to continue to level up, to practice, to study, to learn, and to adapt. We must never stop chasing excellence when it comes to the things we care about.
We must cultivate a mindset of excellence when doing anything we wish to master.
Today, we may try and fail.
But this is a good thing! That is how we learn.
Top 15 Ways to Improve Your Writing This Week
Alright, now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it.
There is no easy way to say it. Succeeding at anything requires blood, sweat, and tears.
It takes hard work, determination, ambition, and a willingness to succeed, despite the difficulties.
But in these tips, you will find some advice to follow that will actually help you to level up your ability to write, cultivate quality writing skills, and get you started on the path to ‘how to become a better writer’ right now, this week!
Let’s dive in.
Tip #1: Never Take A Day Off
The finest artists are those who practice their craft ceaselessly.
I am a firm, true believer in this.
In the 11 years that I have been writing professionally, I have probably only taken a handful of days completely off.
No joke. On days when I work, it is not uncommon for me to write/edit at least 5,000 words… but usually A LOT more.
On days when I don’t work, I will still generally write at least 1500 to 2000 words.
I truly believe that if you want to be good at something, you must build up consistent habits.
If you work every day to become better, that is how you will see the best results. That is how you turn your dream into a skill, and how you become a master at that skill.
Who is going to get better faster… the writer who writes for 20 minutes a week, or the writer who writes for 3 hours per week?
Tip #2: Write For At Least 20 Minutes Every Day
This is very similar to the first tip, with one very simple difference.
Writing every day will only help you to cultivate your craft if your everyday efforts push you to develop better habits.
If I go to the gym and do 3 reps, my muscles are just not going to grow fast enough to make a difference.
The same is true if I write every day… but only for 5 minutes.
Sit down to write every day. Work on the same piece for at least 20 minutes.
5 minutes is easy.
10 minutes is where boredom starts to kick in.
15 minutes is where you will start to get distracted.
You must learn to push through these things if you really want to accomplish anything.
You would be amazed at how much you can accomplish if you even just follow this one simple rule!
Tip #3: Write The Most Important Idea First
If you are having a problem getting started, remember this tip.
Write the most important idea first.
This applies to both fiction and non-fiction.
Don’t worry about the details. Don’t worry about keywords. Don’t worry about making everything perfect.
If you are having a hard time getting started, you need to forget all of those other things… and focus only one this one singular objective.
Write your most important detail or statement, and then expound upon it. Write the most important thing first, and then work from there to flesh it out.
If you do not manage this, everything else… details, keywords, background, making it pretty, using the right adverbs… everything else is meaningless.
Tip #4: Time Yourself
Set a timer when you sit down to write, and track how much time you’re spending.
If you manage to write for an hour one day, but only 5 minutes another day… try to back-engineer what helped you to get so much done on the long day.
You might be surprised by how much (or how little) time you are actually spending writing!
Tip #5: Stop Making Excuses
You’re sitting in front of your computer.
You type a sentence or two.
Maybe you even type a paragraph.
You know that you need to type more. You know that if you don’t, you’ll never get anywhere.
What is holding you back?
Verbalize it. Speak it out loud.
Are you afraid of failure? Are you having trouble thinking of the right works? Are you already checking your work and judging yourself? Are you already overthinking your plot or your outline?
Figure out what your excuses are… then dismiss them… and then get back to writing.
If you want to be a master, and if you want to improve, you must learn to kill your excuses.
Kill them violently and viciously if you have to. They will absolutely destroy any hope you have of success.
Tip #6: Write, Publish, Repeat
If you do manage to write, but simply feel that your work isn’t that great, here is a tip specifically dedicated to you.
Stop worrying about whether or not your writing is good.
- Write it
- Edit it
- Proofread it.
Then, publish it.
Put it on a blog, or in an ebook.
Print it on a piece of paper.
Send it to your friends.
Put it out there.
Then, call it done… and move on to the next piece.
You have no idea how many writers write a thing, stare at it, get second thoughts, and then crumple it up and throw it into the trash-can.
Do not succumb to this.
This is like giving up at the finish line!
Write it, edit it, publish it… and then move on and start the next thing.
Nothing is going to help you more than publishing a piece and moving on to the next… just as nothing will hold you back more than remaining stuck on a piece that you don’t completely like.
So you don’t like it. That’s fine. Publish it.
Do that 100 times, 1,000 times, or 10,000 times… and eventually, come hell or high water, you will wake up one day, sit down to write, and create a true masterpiece.
It is actually unavoidable, to be completely honest.
If you don’t give up… one day, the things you write will start to be really, really good!
That is how it works.
But you have to create, publish, and move on.
You have to give yourself a chance to get to that point.
Tip #7: Fail Over And Over Again… As Extravagantly And As Often As Possible
As a younger man, I was deathly afraid of hot, attractive women.
This really held me back in my dating life. I would always chicken out at the last minute before talking to an attractive girl.
But eventually, I realized that I was going to need to overcome this.
So I came up with a terrible pickup line, went out to the club, and used it on as many beautiful, hot, attractive women as I could find.
Do you know how many ‘yesses’ I got that night?
Do you know how afraid of girls I was after that night?
That was the last time I ever felt fear in the presence of a beautiful woman.
I had to face my fears, and conquer them… and I did.
Are you afraid of failure when it comes to writing?
Are you afraid of publishing something embarrassing?
Well, don’t be.
Write so much, and so often, that you lose track of the number of crappy articles you’ve written.
I promise you that at some point, those ‘crappy articles’ will start to get better and better as you go on.
Then, one day, you’ll realize that it will just get harder and harder to fail… because your skills will have leveled up to the point where avoiding the problems becomes habitual.
That is where you will really start to see progress. But you will never get there until you have learned to face your fears and live with them!
Tip #8: Read Excellent Material Every Day, And Don’t Be Afraid To Emulate Other Great Writers
In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King said this about reading.
And he is so right!
You cannot hope to rise to the same level as the greats without studying their work.
Sure, you must make your craft your own… but there are so many lessons to be learned from the masters who came before us.
To neglect these lessons would be great and sorrowful folly.
I believe 100% in reading every single day. My personal goal is to read for at least 20 minutes.
And also, read books… not just online articles!
If you really want to level up your craft, read classics and books that are known to have been crafted by master authors and writers.
Tip #9: Increase Your Inspiration By Improving Your Surroundings
Before I ever sit down to write each day, I have a list of things that I do first.
- I get cleaned up. I take a shower, brush my teeth, put on clean socks… I do what I need to do to feel good
- I clean my desk
- I put on some inspirational music (without lyrics) as background music
- I put on clothes that I feel ‘creative’ in
- I get something to drink… something pleasant that will help me to get into the right headspace
- I remind myself of my goals, and why I want to sit down and write what I am about to sit down and write
- If there is distracting noise, I put a stop to it before I even think about sitting down to start work
These are all little things on their own, but all of them help me to create an environment that is conducive to me doing my best work.
Sometimes I need different things.
Some days, I want to wear shoes while I write. Other days, I don’t.
Some days, I want an energy drink. Other days, I want a beer.
Some days, I want to take my laptop to the coffee shop to write.
Some days I listen to trap beats, and some days I listen to fantasy soundtracks.
The point, though, is that I make the best use of my surroundings to help give myself the greatest odds of success.
And you should do the same.
Find out what works for you, take it seriously, and do what you need to do to get into that zone.
Tip #10: Care For Your Equipment And Level It Up When You Can
As a writer, it is super important to care for your equipment.
Keep your computer updated and running well.
If your keyboard has a sticky key, fix it or buy a new keyboard.
If your screen has a distracting crack in it, buy a new screen.
Take your tools seriously. You need proper equipment to do it right.
If you don’t have a lot of money, do what you can with what you have.
If all you have is an old, slow, clunky laptop, then treat that laptop with the same respect you would treat a new computer with.
Keep it updated. Clean the screen. Buy a padded case to carry it in. Don’t let the kids play games on it. Don’t leave it sitting around where it could get broken, stepped on, or spilled on.
As writers, we are nothing without our equipment.
If we treat it right and take care of it, it will also take care of us.
Your gear is to you as a sword is to a samurai.
So treat it as such.
Tip #11: Spend Some Time Studying Every Week, To Learn How To Become A Better Writer
This is a step that far too many writers neglect.
And I have been guilty of it myself far too often.
When you start writing a lot, it can be easy to just keep going and going and going.
But if you’re not careful, you’ll end up plateauing and stagnating if you never infuse your skills and knowledge-base with higher education.
Here are some tips for continuing to learn about writing.
- Subscribe to YouTube channels that give quality writing advice
- Check in on your favorite writing teachers as a reader, to see if they’ve written any blogs or released any new books
- Watch videos, read articles, or listen to podcasts about how to become a better writer
- Invest in quality training materials online. It might cost you a bit of money… but leveling up is worth every penny
- Follow teachers and writers who you love and respect, and read everything they put out for their readers
You can also Google tips on things that you are having a particularly difficult time with.
Are you having trouble coming up with a good title or heading? Are you having problems with plot arcs? Are you having sentence-structure troubles?
Research the problems individually, and level up in those specific areas.
Tip #12: If In Doubt, Make It Simpler… And Cut Out Extra Words
Another one of my favorite quotes by Stephen King…
One of the best ways to make your writing better is to just keep things simple.
Long, elaborate sentences can seem fancy. But they are often just too wordy.
Stick with the basics. Keep a ‘min read’ mentality, and follow basic sentence structure rules to avoid things like run-on sentences.
Don’t get too dramatic.
Just make simple statements, and then build onto those statements.
Soon, you may end up with a sentence or two in each article, page, or chapter that really sticks out to you as beautiful.
If you have one of those moments, give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy it!
Tip #13: Your Number-One Priority Is To Leave Your Mark On The World And Create A Lasting Legacy For Those Who May Follow In Your Footsteps. All Other Objectives (web traffic, money, getting published, getting ‘noticed’, etc.) Are Secondary
If you want to be a truly effective writer, then try to make your primary focus on creating a lasting legacy with your words.
In other words… your writing needs to reflect and follow your true purpose in life.
It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to make money, having more people follow you, getting more visits to your website, etc.
But the truth is that as alpha men (or ladies who are seeking to become writers as well), we must strive for excellence and seek to leave a lasting mark on the world.
This is true in all that we do… and writing is no exception to this.
All things must exist in balance. Yes, you must also optimize your website, and yes… you must also strive to make money with your writing if you wish to make it your vocation.
But make no mistake. You will find greater success in all of these things if you always make it your primary objective to weave excellence and passion into every single thing that you write.
Don’t just write for money or views. Write for excellence, to make the world a better place, and to leave a lasting legacy for others to follow.
Tip #14: Never Shy Away From Showing Your Work To Other People
Some writers never show their work to others.
But it is important to understand that failing to do this can actually really hold you back as a craftsman.
You need to expose your work to the criticisms of others if you want to grow.
So show off everything you write. Post it. Email it to friends. Print it out and hand it out to coworkers.
Be open about your work, accept criticism with gratitude and grace, and be thankful for people who are honest enough to call out the imperfections in your craft.
A powerful man welcomes criticism… he does not fear it or shy away from it.
Tip #15: Never Underestimate The Value Of A Good Night’s Rest, And The Reset That Comes With It
In your darkest hours as a writer, when you are the most down on yourself, when you are the most discouraged, and when you have the least faith that you will ever amount to anything…
Don’t give up. Don’t throw your computer out the window. Don’t do anything drastic.
Just put in your 20 minutes, even if you barely get anything done… turn off your monitor, step away, relax, and go to bed.
I have faced many discouraging nights as a writer. Many nights, I have thought to myself “This is it… I’m done with this. This will never amount to anything.”
But I never actually gave up. Instead, I would step away, go to bed, and wake up to write another day.
Sometimes, when things get difficult and frustrating, you just need to step away.
There’s nothing wrong with that, and it is necessary if you want to level up and become a master writer one day.
As long as you write basically every day, and put in your 20 minutes… you are free to rest.
And sometimes, this rest is much-needed and well deserved.
How Can I Improve My Grammer and Writing Skills
There are a few different ways to improve your grammar and writing skills.
Here are some of the best options that you can utilize right now.
1… Use A Tool Like Grammarly
I don’t personally use Grammarly… but I have friends and associates who do, and they love it.
It can really help you to identify problems in your writing and fix them quickly… literally, with the push of a button.
2… Proofread Your Work Out Loud
It might feel weird to do at first, but proofreading your work out loud can really help you to spot problems in your sentence structures that you may not have noticed before.
When we think about words and sentences in our head, it can be easy to forget a word, put together a sentence that doesn’t quite have all the pieces in place, or even just word things strangely.
Because we think right over mistakes and don’t notice them.
But reading out loud can really make us aware of things that need to be fixed.
As you read, you will get stuck on parts that aren’t written according to proper grammar rules. What was once easy to skip suddenly becomes very obvious… allowing you to fix it, and level up your writing at the same time!
3… Just Keep Practicing
The best way to improve in the long run is just to do it, and never to stop.
It can be very tempting to give up. But it is all mind over matter.
You may not have as much talent as other people.
You may not have the experience that other people have.
That’s ok. Write anyway.
Decide if you really, truly care about getting better at it. And if you do… then get started, write every day, keep learning, keep applying yourself, read great works from other writers, and never stop honing and sharpening your craft.
This is how you win, regardless of whether you are an alpha male or not.
My Favorite Writing Books
If there is one book that I would absolutely recommend to writers, it would be On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King.
If you’ve never read this book, I would seriously consider ordering a copy and reading it.
If you know anything about Stephen King, then you already know that he is one of the most successful authors of his time.
But he didn’t achieve his success by waking up one day and just becoming famous.
He worked hard to achieve what he achieved… and there were many times when he thought about giving up.
If anyone knows what it means to succeed as a master writer, it is Stephen King… and as far as writing goes, I consider him my most prominent mentor.
Hopefully, this post has helped to give you the inspiration you need to take a big step and start writing today.
The alpha male journey contains many different paths… and writing is the craft I chose to focus on back in 2009.
It has not always been easy. But embracing this craft, and pursuing the mastery of it, has done more to teach me about what it means to take my own power back from the universe than most things in life.
And the ride is certainly not over… not for me, and not for you.
So if you have ambitions of becoming a writer one day, don’t wait.
There is no better time than the present.
To finish up this piece, I will leave you with one more quote. It is the 18th Vow of the Oath of Kings.
Go with grace, my friends and brothers.
Never relent… and never give up your power.
Until next time…
Joshua K. Sigafus