One of my authors recently told me about her big “A-ha Moment.”
After months of stressful writing, she went to a café to add passages to her book.
Hours later, she sat back, and it hit her: “This is fun.” She no longer saw herself as someone who toiled to string words together — after so many drafts, she finally began to think of herself as a writer.
Here are 10 ways to grow from “someone who writes” into a true writer:
1. Write consistently.
Build up your “writing muscles” so that writing isn’t an intermittent task that you must force yourself into each time. Strive to make writing something you do as naturally and frequently as breathing.
2. Edit yourself consistently.
People who simply write don’t see the point in pushing past a rough draft and working toward improvement.
True writers, on the other hand, examine where their writing needs growth, no matter how many second, third and fourth drafts it takes.
3. Embrace “bad days” as “opportunities.”
Someone who only writes lets writer’s block stall her thoughts and progress. Yet, someone who sees herself as a true writer views one roadblock as a chance to plunge into writing something else that loosens her writing mind.
4. Think small.
Strive to improve the individual words you choose, or sentence structure. True writers forever examine closely to see how to make their message truly effective to shine in the most powerful way possible, even at the sentence level.
5. Read. Then, read some more.
A true writer is always on a quest to discover new ways to see others’ viewpoints, to communicate and to join the conversations already set forth by countless writers before her.
Conversely, someone who simply writes can fall into the trap of plugging away at a keyboard, never stopping to think about the world that the work is meant to reflect in the first place.
6. Keep your references close.
Never underestimate the power of a dictionary or thesaurus. Truly passionate writers jump at opportunities to better understand how to command language in a deep and lasting way.
7. Take big chances.
Each project, no matter how small, is about seizing every opportunity to hone your craft and push your limits as a writer. Someone who simply writes just wants to get the draft polished and published.
Someone who is a true writer takes risks in her writing, and forever strives to grow in seemingly impossible ways.
8. Be mindful of your readers.
Someone who merely writes doesn’t truly stop to consider how her words change the way a reader looks at the world, or how her message contributes to a greater conversation.
True writers ask: How am I adding something meaningful or enlightening to my readers’ lives? Are my ideas fresh?
9. Recognize that it takes time and hard work.
Someone who writes wants instant success with her writing, and easily gets discouraged by the amount of time and effort it takes to achieve it. A true writer knows that writing is a form of exploration of the perspectives of the world around us. It takes a great deal of dedication to get it right.
10. Listen to those with the knowledge to help you.
Enlisting the help of professional editors, writing teachers and fellow writers is a powerful way to push your writing to the next level and grow into someone who can truly call herself a writer.
I’d like to hear from you. What are your own “A-ha” moments in your writing life?