Guest post by Victoria Heckstall
Words are all around us, and there are many people who desperately want to learn how to use them for self-expression. But the sad fact is that even though learning a language and its functions can be relatively easy, learning to express yourself openly is not the easiest thing to do. Developing your voice as a writer is a process that takes self reflection, dedication and practice. Thankfully, there are a few tips that you can use to become a better writer regardless of your level and experience.
Read as much as possible
The journey to becoming a competent writer starts with research, but unlike boring school research, as a writer you have the freedom to research expression itself. Not only is reading beneficial to your intellect, it will also help you to pick up and assimilate the techniques and feel of great writers. If you can take the things that you like from a broad spectrum of writers, and manipulate them so that they become your own, your writing will immediately improve. Also, reading a lot will show you what has already been done so that you can steer clear and keep your own work as fresh as possible.
Experiment with free writing
Once you have an idea of what you like in other writers, it is imperative that you bring it in to your own writing. You will never develop as a writer if you don’t practice and work on your narrative style, so get to it! Many writers have issues starting their work – they just don’t know where to begin. If this sounds like you, then maybe you should consider free writing. This is a useful exercise in opening up. All that you do is start writing – you don’t even have to use sentences, just write the first thing that comes to your mind.
Eventually you will realize that you’ve written something of value. Even if you simply take phrases for another work, you will feel that you’ve accomplished something, and writing will become easier. Another useful tool is Internet sites that allow you to write variations on popular stories, in a fill-in-the-missing-word style. What would you have done with Harry Potter right at the end? Write it and have it critiqued by an online community.
Practice, be open, and look for advice everywhere and you will start to grow as a writer.