What writing lessons do you need to know to be successful as a writer? I've spent seven years around The Write Practice, and I've found a few core lessons have transformed my writing.
It’s with a bittersweet tone that I write this post, because it will be the last one I write for The Write Practice for a long time as I get ready for my first year of college. I’ll call this a “soft goodbye” since this is technically my last post, but it definitely will not be the last time I “hang around” The Write Practice.
7 Essential Writing Lessons From The Write Practice
I’ve learned so much in the seven years I’ve contributed to this fabulous website and I still have so much to learn. I thought I’d share seven of those writing lessons with you now.
1. Practice every day
This is the key to what we do here at The Write Practice. It may not seem like much, but if you practice your writing for just fifteen minutes a day, you will improve far more than the writer who neglects daily practice.
The only way to improve is with practice, so take every opportunity you get to hone your craft.
2. Share your writing with others
If your goal is to be published one day, you have to start sharing your writing with other people now. Writing into a void can only help you for so long, but there comes a point when you need other writers and readers to look at your work so they can help you see what needs improvement.
Even by just posting your daily practice in the comments sections of these posts, you can learn so much about your writing and what problem areas you need to target in your revisions.
3. Deadlines force you to be productive
I can’t tell you how many times the deadline for my monthly article has loomed over me when I couldn’t come up with a single idea for a topic. But you know what? I always came up with something.
I never missed a post because of a lack of inspiration. That deadline pushed me to sit down and figure something out in a way that nothing else could.
If I’d had all the time in the world to think of an idea, I never would have written another post. It would have been far too easy to say, “I’ll do it later.”
Even if you don’t have hard and fast deadlines to push you, give yourself some. Have a friend give you a deadline. Make sure there are consequences if you don’t reach it. You will become much more productive because of it.
4. Age can’t prevent you from pursuing your passion
When I applied for a contributor position at The Write Practice, I was twelve. I’d followed Joe’s posts for a long time, so I knew the exact kind of thing he was looking for, but still, I was twelve. Most people would have thought I had no business teaching writers three, four, five times my age how to write.
And yet, I got the position. I grew up alongside The Write Practice. Through reading and writing more articles, my writing greatly improved. Had Joe not taken that chance on me, my writing and my creative path today would look very different.
But it just goes to show you that age is not always a barrier. Whether you think you’re too young to take a chance or too old to get started, don’t let your age stop you. Seize opportunity whenever you see it, because you never know what could become of it.
5. You can learn so much from other writers
This goes along with the second point I made. Whether it means reading articles from other writers or listening to what your peers have to say in the comments section, there is a lot to be learned from others.
Writers of varying ages and with different experiences and lifestyles will have a unique perspective from yours. Take whatever pieces of advice ring true to you and incorporate them into your own work.
6. Always, always, always back up your work
As with any technological job, there are bound to be glitches in the system. I’ve lost progress on my posts before because of a sudden lack of internet or a weird WordPress bug. When you’ve spent hours refining an article, the last thing you want is for all of your hard work to go down the drains because your computer crashed.
Always back up your work. Before I publish my article, I always save a copy on Word first in case something happens. Whenever I finish the first draft of a novel, I e-mail a copy of the document to myself so I can never lose it. Keep copies of everything.
7. “Just Write”
And, as I said seven years ago in my very first article on The Write Practice, “just write.” None of these lessons will matter if you don’t write.
The first step toward attempting any creative project is to just get started. Forget about all of the conflicting advice you’ve been given and all of your worries about the future and take the plunge.
It’s been a pleasure
I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity to contribute to The Write Practice alongside many talented writers and to be a part of this creative, supportive community. Whether you’ve been here for years or you’re just finding us now, you’ve found a gem in the online writing world. I hope to learn many more writing lessons in the coming years.
What are some of your favorite writing lessons from The Write Practice? Let us know in the comments.
Let’s throw it back to seven years ago and reprise the first ever practice I published. “Turn off any distractions and write whatever comes to mind.”