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Steps to Better Writing

There are a lot of published writers out there that are self-taught. I do not think that you necessarily need an MFA in Creative Writing in order to write and be published. To hone your skills as a writer, there are some things that you can do by yourself. It is said that in order to be an expert in any field, one must put in 10,000 hours of working at it.

4 Basic Steps to Better Writing

Ascending stairs.READ: You cannot be a writer if you do not read. And by that I mean voraciously. It is the one true way to learn how it is done. My own opinion is that if you do not love reading, why on earth would you want to write?

LEARN: You can do this by reading as many books as possible in the genre you want to write in. You can do online courses through certain colleges and universities. You can read books on writing (and there are tons). There are also writing magazines in both North America and abroad that are very good. Read with the intention of learning. Take notes, journal about what you have learned.

FEEDBACK: reading and learning are part of it; but to take it to the next level you need to travel with a pack of writers. You need other writers to read your work in order to make it better. Your mother and your best friend do not count.

For instance, when you start out as a nurse in a hospital, you are finished with reading the nursing textbooks, taking tests and learning. Now you are doing it. And on the floor, they will buddy you up with another nurse for the first six weeks to show you how it is actually done. Not your mother or your best friend. Another nurse. Same for writing: you need to be in contact with other writers and it really helps if some of them are published. You can join a local writers’ group or hook up with a writer in residence program — all can be found online.

WRITE: Practice does indeed make perfect. You cannot be a writer if you are not writing regularly. And surprisingly, your writing does get better with time. Just go back and read something you wrote five years ago. Or just two. What you thought was perfect at the time will now appear riddled with rookie mistakes.

If you are serious about writing, it does not necessarily have to cost a fortune or require a specific degree; you can be self-taught and successful.

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