10 Tips To Become A Better Writer

1: Just do it.

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It sounds obvious, but the first step to becoming a good writer is, well… writing. Make sure you devote some of your time to sitting down and writing with no outside distractions. Just stop putting it off! It can be as simple as a haiku, or as complex as a piece of a novel you’re working on. The important thing is that you’re sitting down and generating new material, as well as exercising the “writing muscle” in your brain.

 

2: Don’t make it a chore.

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I know it sounds kind of contradictory to “just do it,” but if you force yourself to write as if it’s a chore, it will start to feel boring and you won’t want to do it. A good rule of thumb to avoid this is to make sure you tell yourself, “I want to write” instead of “I have to write.” Make sure that you write because you have a desire to do it, even if it means cutting out a chunk of your day to lock yourself in your room and write for a bit. Writing is dedication, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a chore.

 

3: Write daily.

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As mentioned before, there’s a part of our brain I like to call “the writing muscle.” Similarly to a dancer stretching before a routine, writers must keep themselves “in shape” by writing daily in order to perform to their best ability. In order to write well, you must write often, even if it’s just copying a sentence from a book or writing down a quote you overheard someone say. The important thing is to get in the habit of writing on a daily basis. When you write every day, you make a habit of fitting it into your natural routine, and it will eventually become habitual if you do it enough.

 

4: Have writer friends.

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Having friends that are interested in the same craft as you is indispensable. For one, writer friends offer a kind of “support system,” and they understand the struggles that can come with writing. They also understand the benefits and rewarding parts of writing, so they can celebrate your accomplishments and successes with you because they just get it. Also, there’s nothing more valuable than peers who love editing and are willing to offer suggestions to make your piece even better. There’s a certain notion that writer friends are competitive, but contrary to that belief, having them actually gives you an opportunity to build a supportive community that cheers one another on and celebrates each other’s successes.

 

5: Eliminate all distractions.

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It’s hard to write when your electronics and your writing are battling for your attention. An easy way to get rid of distractions is to turn all of your attention-stealing devices off, such as your phone and computer. If you use your computer for your writing like I do, you can turn off notifications for certain apps through system preferences, turn off your computer’s sound, and close all other tabs. When you’ve gotten rid of your distractions, writing becomes easier and less forced. Additionally, it will come to you more quickly because you’ll be devoting more of your focus to the task at hand.

 

6: Shut off your inner critic.

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When writing the first draft of anything, try to hush the critic/editor in your head. A draft is a space to pour everything out onto the page, and if you spend too much time criticizing yourself, you’ll never get anything done! It’s better to have a finished draft that needs to be edited than a blank page with nothing to work off of. It’s great to have an inner editor when going back to revise, but try your best to mute that voice when writing a first draft.

 

7: Read.

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If you want to be a good writer, you have to read often. You can’t expect to become a good writer without looking at other peoples’ work. When reading, ask yourself “What works here? What doesn’t work here?” and use that as a guide for your own writing. A good writer is able to “steal” aspects of someone else’s work and use it in their own, and reading often will allow you to do this effectively. Additionally, reading books within the genres you like to write is a great way to create a model for your own work. However, when you’re actually writing your piece, it may be a good idea to step away from those types of books so you’re not constantly comparing yourself to them.

 

8: Give yourself breaks.

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If you’re planning on devoting a day/several hours to writing, giving yourself a few breaks to read, eat, or just relax in order to recharge and keep your energy up. Allowing yourself a bit of break time will ultimately result in a better outcome because you won’t get tired, thus letting your writing get sloppy. A few small breaks here and there will really benefit the flow and energy of your piece.

 

9: Keep a journal.

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Keeping a journal is a great way to inspire you, in addition to helping you generate new material that could be used in a future project. It also helps you get in the habit of writing something daily. If you want to read more about journaling, you can check out my blog post about it here.

 

10: Write what you want to write.

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Ultimately, the most important piece of advice I can give is to write what you want to write. If you don’t write things that you’re passionate about, then you won’t enjoy what you’re doing, and it’ll show in the overall outcome of your piece. If you have an idea that seems risky, write it anyways! It can always be edited or altered later. It’s important to listen to your intuition when you have an idea. It may seem silly or dicey, but there’s no harm in writing it and seeing what happens. Oftentimes doing this will result in really great and original pieces!

Why Everyone Should Keep A Journal

Whether you’re a writer or not, journalling can be extremely beneficial. As someone who is relatively new to journaling, I can confirm that logging my thoughts daily has been a fun and helpful way to de-stress while generating new material for future projects, whether it be poems or prose.

A journal is your personal place to spill all of your thoughts onto paper, without having to filter yourself. It’s slightly different from a diary, though, because it doesn’t limit you to “Dear Diary, this was my day.” Not hating on diaries, by the way. I think they’re great too. Journals can be used to log thoughts, observations, ideas, or just about anything else you can think of. The content of your journal is entirely dependent on your own creativity! When you journal, you can shut off your inner critic, and write down anything you feel like writing. You don’t have to worry about what you’re writing because a journal is for you and you alone. I’ve written a wide variety of things in my journal, such as interesting observations I’ve made, answers to questionnaires for original characters, and quotes from books I’ll never write (which could one day be used in a book I will write).

Even if you’re not a writer, keeping a journal is a great way to de-stress and promote creativity. Writing daily is a way to exercise your mind and soul. It gives you a break from the past-faced, social media filled lifestyle we’ve adapted to today and allows you to slow down by taking the time to record your thoughts. Additionally, writing down observations in a journal will make you more attentive and aware of what’s going on around you. I’ve noticed that since I’ve started journaling, I’ve been much more aware of the world around me. You can even log your dreams in a journal! This will eventually allow you to remember your dreams more vividly and possibly even lucid dream more easily (which is just about the coolest thing to do in terms of sleeping). Journalling also gives you an excuse to buy new stationary, and who doesn’t love spending all their money on cute notebooks and pens?

Happy journaling!

“Perfection? It’s what I dream about!”

Reading those words was like getting slapped in the face. They taunted me, as if saying “You’ll never be perfect! No matter how hard you try!” I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I mean, it’s no surprise that the media has a way of lowering one’s self esteem through advertisements with models that are photoshopped to look completely flawless, but the fact that the words “Perfection? It’s what I dream about!” were written in big, bold letters in the center of a makeup ad really shocked me with its complete lack of subtlety.

To me, the phrase seemed to say “You’ll never be perfect. And the only way you’ll even come close to it is by using this makeup product” I was horrified by the thought of this phrase being drilled into teen girls’ brains all over the world when they flipped through the pages of the magazine and saw the photo of a seemingly “perfect” girl with long, luscious lashes and pouty lips. I mean, let’s face it. It’s pretty hard not to feel insecure when you’re constantly exposed to things like instagram, a place where celebrities like Kim Kardashian facetune their pictures until they look totally different, magazines where models have all of their pimples, fat rolls, and other “impefections” photoshopped out, and television, where actors spend hours upon hours sitting in a chair getting their hair and makeup professionally done. Social media, magazines, and televison can all be fun ways to entertain yourself, but it’s important to realize that most of it, if not all of it, isn’t real.

It can be hard not to feel self conscious when you’re constantly being exposed to glossy photos of stunningly beautiful models and makeup ads that tell you that you’ll never be perfect without makeup. But it’s important to ignore these harmful messages and do what makes you truly happy.

So maybe being “perfect” isn’t really possible. But by being confident in your own skin, and loving who you are, you’ve done something much more challenging and important than achieving perfection. And I commend you on that. I urge everyone to work on loving themselves. It’s not always an easy journey, but when you realize just how special and unique you are, it’ll make you feel a lot better about… well, you, whether you choose to wear makeup or not.

Why I Love Acting (And Why You Should Too)

I’ve been doing theater since I was in the first grade. Like many other little kids, I loved getting attention. And what better way to get attention than to perform on a big stage in front of a whole audience full of people? Ever since I’ve been doing plays at school and miniature shows at my local theater place (but I’ll get into that later), I’ve been hooked. And while I don’t necessarily crave that same attention I used to, I use theater now as a creative outlet, where I can express my emotions among my fellow peers and adults. Theater is a way to forget everything that’s troubling you, stressing you out, and making you worried or fearful and throw it out the window. Theater allows you to become someone else, even if just for a few minutes, which is one of the most eye-opening feelings you can experience. It truly shows us actors and even audience members what empathy is. One of the most amazing feelings is to jump into another person and leave yourself behind for a little while. I believe that acting is not only an art form, but a form of magic. There is no other way to describe the way you transform into a completely new person.

I started acting at my local theater place, called Little Village Playhouse at the time, when I was about seven years old. I remember loving the entire process from start to finish… getting the lines, learning the songs, blocking the scenes, and performing it in front of an audience. It was such a rewarding feeling to hear the audience clap; it signified the end of one story and allowed for a new one to soon begin for me. As I grew older, these short little “mini plays” turned to full length plays, where I could learn even more about acting and delve deeper into this new hobby, that was slowly turning into more than just a “hobby”, that I had discovered for myself.

As I grew older and entered the “teen intensive” program, I noticed more and more about myself. Charlotte, the girl who used to be outgoing and not care what anybody else thought of her, soon became self-conscious and afraid. I stopped making big choices onstage, which are some of the most important things to experience as an actor and to view as an audience member. I started to become nervous before shows, and I would worry about what people would think of my acting and singing, even my family members. I worried about missing notes, or lines, or steps in the big dance number. But what I began to realize is that acting is truly about learning to lose yourself. This is quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to learn to do as an actress, or even just as a person, harder than learning how to get that complicated harmony down or that one dance step that I could never get quite right, or that long monologue with way too many words. And while I am still learning how to fully lose all of my inhibitions, each play I get to be in brings me one step closer in this journey of self-discovery.

So basically what all of this is saying is, theater goes beyond just singing and dancing and reciting lines off of a page. Theater is about self-discovery. It’s about forgetting about the preconceived ideas of how you should be. It is about not caring what other people may think of you. Acting has helped shape me into the person I am today, and I know that I will keep growing and changing and learning. And I owe it all to theater. These important lessons of confidence and empathy will stick with me throughout my life, whether I’m on or off the stage.