What Should I Do to Become a Writer?

If you want to become a writer, you need to start thinking like a writer.

What’s the easiest way to do that?

Copy books word for word. It allows you to subconsciously understand the author’s tone of voice and writing style.

If done enough, you will be able to change writing styles as you please. Personally, I can write in many tones, from legalese, business speak, technical writing, advertising and speech writing. However, I prefer to write in my own personal voice. As time progresses, you will also find your own personal voice.

Practice. Write your thoughts out for thirty minutes.

In most cases, what separates great writing from poor writing is editing. Due to this, as a beginning writer, it is in your best interest to write down every thought that comes to mind.

Does it have grammatical errors? Does the sentence not make sense?

It’s okay. None of that matters. Just keep writing consistently for as long as you can.

Then when your thoughts run dry, go back over your content with a fine tooth comb.

Read what you wrote aloud.

Does it make sense?

If not, make edits. If you’re a beginning writer, then most of what you say won’t make sense, so you will have to edit heavily.

While editing, you want to make your writing as easy as possible to understand. I read two pages of that Game of Thrones book. That was written at a fifth grade level. However it was brilliant enough to be turned into a HBO series. Not everyone who will be reading your writing is college educated. Writing to appeal to the masses so they can understand your message is key.

If you have an Apple, keep the dictionary open and use a thesaurus on certain words that bring more emphasis. The thesaurus and dictionary will become one of your best friends.

If you want to improve your writing even further, start to write collateral material, such as sales brochures, trifolds and product descriptions. My job used to be to make all the collateral material for companies, from training manuals to the brochures the end user would read.

Why are trifolds so important?

Because it forces you to take a big picture and condense it down to a few paragraphs. It makes you sit there and think of what data is just used as fat, or filler information and what data is actually the meat and bones, or hard data to influence emotions, of your message. This practice will force you to sit in front of your writing and consistently edit away at it until the message is perfect. This is best done in a group environment.

As time progresses, your writing will get better and better. At some point, your writing will become substantially good. At that point, you will face a hard decision. Do you want to keep your audience engaged or do you want to write to a smaller audience geared more towards novels?

Either choice is fine. It’s all personal preference. However, some people get too into their writing and carry an aura of authority everywhere they go. I suggest to skip this step. Instead, follow these three steps:

Stay humble. Stay hungry. Stay honest.


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Leonard Kim consults startups and write books. He also blogs at LeonardKim.com.