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Five writing tips you already know


“There’s no difference between writing and thinking.” Jordan Peterson told Joe Rogan on Rogan’s podcast episode number 1933. What is meant by this line is when a person writes, they are putting their thoughts into the world, and writing helps organize those thoughts, resulting in clearer thinking. Like working out to keep the body healthy, it’s essential to write for a healthy mind; just like physical fitness, everyone can improve. From seasoned writers to those brand new to the journey, these are five tips everyone knows, to remind you how to become a better writer.

1. Just Do It

“Just Do It,” “Better to do it badly than not at all,” and “Perfect is the enemy of good enough.” All of these cliches have been said a thousand times. Despite this, there's always an obstacle that keeps a person from writing. In Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, he calls this “resistance.” Overcoming this “resistance” is vital to improving your writing. Start by removing any distractions. Turn off spell check, block social media, or throw the tv out the window. The next step is to sit down and write. It doesn’t matter how much or how good it is. What matters is doing it. Every day a person sits down and writes, a habit is formed, thus Improving the capacity to overcome “resistance.” So just sit down and do it.

2. Read As much as possible

Read.Read.Read. When the words aren’t flowing on the page, hit the books. Reading deepens a writer’s understanding of a topic or a genre, effectively expanding knowledge. Remember the cliché “write what you know.” the more you read, the more you know. Famous genre authors such as Andrew Klavan and Jack Carr grew up reading the genre they write in. They have filled up their tanks. So once you decide what you want to write, take the time to read from the experts in that genre or topic.

3. Community

Writing is often seen as a solitary practice. The romantic fantasy of the reclusive genius creating masterpieces has captured the imagination of many writers. Kill that fantasy and kill it fast. All great artists of every craft are part of a community. Michelangelo had teams of assistants and friends that made painting the Sistine Chapel possible. Shakespeare was a part of the theater troupe “The King’s Men.” Other artists surrounded these great artists. If you want to improve your writing, you need to be surrounded by other writers. We need people to talk about ideas, point out areas to improve, or be encouraging in bleak times. Finding a writing group or starting one will transform your writing and bring it to greater heights.

4. Practice the basics

The least attractive but most essential tip on this list is practicing and understanding grammar and spelling. People will have varying levels of skill here. Don’t worry and be patient. Start with a first draft. It will be ugly. There’s a reason it's called a rough draft. Next, go through it word by word and line by line with a fine-toothed comb. Pay attention to what mistakes are made. If a specific error is repeated, take the time to learn it for the future. Tools such as Grammarly, spell check, or Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. are practical resources to help you improve in this area. Lastly, do not take these mistakes personally. As Stephen King once said, “To write is human, to edit is divine.” When one edits a draft, one improves with these tools. Grammar and spelling are building blocks to writing; an individual block is dull, but when those blocks are solid and square, they can be used to build a beautiful Cathedral.

5. Copywriting

As human beings, we often learn by looking to an expert and copying what they do. Art students try to recreate masterpieces to understand a master's techniques, children watch their parents learn how to act in the world, and athletes learn techniques by copy and repetition. The same is true for writing. Copywriting is how monks in the medieval ages learned and passed on literacy. Start by picking out your favorite passage and copying it word for word, putting the four previous tips into practice. It keeps you writing, reading, practicing grammar, and connected to expert writers through their work. It's even a handy trick if you want your writing to sound like your favorite author. The Art of Manliness produced an in-depth article on the topic, which can be found here.

Literacy changed the world; the ability to read and write effectively will change your life. The better you write, the better you’ll think. Writing is a lifelong pursuit. You will always have room to grow as a writer, and hopefully, these simple tips will help along that road. Now go out and write with reckless abandon.


Resources:

“War of Art” Steven Pressfield

“Elements of style” William Strunk jr

Art of Manliness

“On Writing” by Stephen king

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erika.schultz95
Feb 27, 2023

Great article! It's never too late to remember these things! By the way, "copywriting" is the writing of text for advertisements or marketing. "Copywork" is the copying of another person's text. :) I'm excited to read more from the blog!

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