Are your writing skills sharp enough?

Are you aware of your weak areas? Those areas you could stand to improve?

I’ve been seeing this issue popup on blogs lately.

We all have areas of skill that we are good at. We also have some that need sharpening.
There are books on exercises you can do to improve your writing tech, exercises a plenty, but where do you find the time?

I think finding some time and doing the practice is vital. Maybe a better question, though, is: how can we make the most efficient use of the time we can salvage from our busy schedules to improve our writing skills?

Basically 4 ways: Questions, Reading and Study, Focussed Practice, and Talking to Children

1.  Many times finding a good answer depends on asking the right questions.

Stay alert when you are writing. Notice whenever you struggle.

Is my dialogue sparkling with wit, charm, surprises, suspense?

Will my introduction grab my reader’s attention?

Are my thoughts and words clear? Do they flow coherently, one thought leading to the next and then the next?

Am I describing my character’s emotions with fresh and telling body language?

In other words identify those specific areas where you could stand some improvement? 

Take notes so that you can recall and target these skills needing improvement later.

2.  You’ve got those books on your shelf or in your Kindle for a reason: read & study

Go back into the  writing books you have read–maybe too some you haven’t yet–read, study. And again, take notes on especially helpful ideas.

Get some info on how to improve.

3.  Do some targetted practice.

At this point, if the books you have reviewed and read do not suggest exercises, why not devise some of your own.

Ask yourself: what kind of exercise can I do to improve this skill?

Then do that exercise andany others you come up with.

And finally…

4.  Can you explain how to do it to a child?

Scott Young, a learning expert, advocates the Feynman technique.

Basically it’s this: explain it to a child.  Granted, you may not have one handy. If so,  pretend that you are explaining it to a child…

“Sally, here’s how to write great conversations…”

“Sally, here’s how I made sure I got my reader’s attention.

If you can explain it well enough that a child of say 9 or 10 gets it, you’ve got it.

(For more on efficient learning go here),

For me, I think the effort described above is vital to writing success. 

What could improve your productivity and writing success better than dealing with those skills you need to improve?

Strengthen the weak areas in your writing skill and watch how your writing flow is enhanced.

What areas of writing skill do you know you could improve?


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