5 Ways to Persistently Improve Your Writing

Posted by on Jun 3, 2013 in Blog | 3 comments

5 Ways to Persistently Improve Your Writing

Today’s guest post comes from Grael Norton of Wheatmark, Inc. , a print-on-demand company located in Tucson, AZ.

We have all read the stories of famous authors who made it big after numerous failures, rejections, and setbacks. We know that persistence worked for them because we see the end result. Unfortunately, it is much harder for the beginning author who has not yet had success to believe in it for himself or herself.

Before I share five valuable reasons why persistence is a necessity for an author’s success, let me be clear about healthy and unhealthy persistence.

Unhealthy persistence is when you keep doing the same thing over and over even though you get the same negative results. Driving in the opposite direction of a one way street over and over will not change the traffic pattern. It will just get you a ticket. It won’t change people’s mind that this should be a two way street even if you do it 500 times. It will just get you a lot of tickets.

Healthy persistence is concerned with achieving an objective and persisting in working toward achieving that objective without giving up. Thomas Edison failed 14,000 times in perfecting the incandescent light. He did not do the same experiment 14,000 times. He did many different experiments and variations of experiments 14,000 times. How is it known that he did that many experiments? He kept track. He charted each experiment and noted what worked, what didn’t. Wrote it down. Made an adjustment. Tried again. He tried different elements, different types of glass, different materials, different ways of putting the light bulb together. Eventually he had success.

As an author, everything you write is part of the persistence process in making you a better writer. Working on different aspects of your writing will improve your writing as a whole. Finding the best time to write, the best lighting, the best place to write are all experiments in getting your writing to be better.

Below are five simple tips that will help authors at every level to practice healthy persistence.

1. Pay attention to the feedback you get from your editor.

Value each and every critique that will make you a better writer. No, you won’t agree with everything. But don’t disregard something without giving time and energy to look at their point of view and seeing if it makes a valid point. If it does, work on changing it

2. Listen to what your readers like and don’t like.

Read the comments both good and bad and take them to heart. Put in more of what they like, and tweak, fix or remove what they don’t. The ultimate judge of your books will be your readers. You will never please all of them all of the time, but if your target reader is unhappy with your writing, you need to address it. Comments that come from your untargeted audience are less valuable. A reader who doesn’t like science fiction will probably never love the writing of a science fiction author. But, if your science fiction readers don’t like your science fiction, writing changes need to be made.

3. Carefully study the writing of other authors in your niche and genre. How long are their sentences? How much description do they use? How much research goes into their writing? What do you like, what do you not? Continually ask yourself if there is something another author does that might be good to experiment with your own writing. Does their writing flow smoothly? Does yours?

4. Write, rewrite, tweak, and rewrite will improve your writing.

Obviously, you cannot do this forever or you will never get published. But consider every book a work in progress. Especially in nonfiction, a second or revised edition should have at least updated information, resources, removal of material that is no longer pertinent.

5. Marketing your writing. In this area, you should be right up there with Thomas Edison in your persistence in experimentation. Try this, try that. What works, what doesn’t? More of this, less of that, and none of that. Once you find what types of book publicity work best for you, work on making them the best they can be. Concentrate on where you get the best results. Watch the market. Trends come and go. Vampires are in, vampires are out. Stay with the flow of the river and when it changes, adjust your course.

Persistence in becoming a better writer never ends. You will always find a new word to use, a different way to describe a mountain, an exciting way to draw your reader deeper into the action. Keep your eyes open and your mind free to new opportunity for growth and challenge as a writer.

You will succeed if you persist.

About Grael Norton, Wheatmark, Inc. Grael coaches authors on publishing and helps them get their book projects ready for market. He’s also a senior faculty member of the Authors Academy, where authors build their platforms using the Simple Marketing System.

His latest written work is “The Author’s Guide to Choosing a Publishing Service,” a free special report available for download at www.wheatmark.com.

3 Comments

  1. Great reminder of how hard the greats (scientists and writers alike) worked to accomplish their vision. Puttin’ my bootstraps on now- thank you! =)

  2. I’m with you, Kate. Boots strapped and coffee iced!

  3. There is genius in simplicity. Simple words of wisdom reduces complications and cluttered thoughts. It clears the path for success. As a new upcoming author, I thank you for your words of wisdom.

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