Want to improve your writing? We’ve talked about the top ten tips to improve your writing skills in 2017, but we didn’t talk about writing MORE.
More? I’m sure you’re thinking that slow, careful writing leads to quality. Well, it turns out that that’s a myth.
From Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World by Adam Grant:
It’s widely assumed that there’s a tradeoff between quantity and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but this turns out to be false.
(I can recommend the book, it’s excellent.)
Improve your writing by writing more: why it makes sense
Many writers buy into the “write slowly, less-work-means-better-work” myth, and it assuredly is a myth. Over the years, I’ve noticed that when my productivity was high I made more sales, and I produced some work that made me proud.
During my lazy periods, or periods when I decided to rein myself in, my writing was bland. Not only did I hate my writing, but I made fewer sales too.
Similarly, with my writing students: whenever I cracked the whip, and told them PRODUCE! invariably I’d discover that they sold more, were happier with their writing, and found writing less stressful.
Why does writing more improve the quality?
I don’t know, but I have a theory. Firstly, when you’re set on production — you turn around client projects more quickly, and you publish more — your inner editor is crowded out. You’re so focused on what you’re doing, that you don’t even hear that idiotic little voice in your head. On the other hand, if you write slowly, your inner editor reigns supreme. You’re miserable, and your output is miserable dreck.
Additionally, when you write more, your subconscious mind/ creative self gets into the act. You get better ideas, and you get more of them. The quality of your writing goes way up. When you write slowly, you’re firmly set in your logical, non-creative mindset. Your ideas are pedestrian.
Here are a couple of tips on how to produce more, and with any luck, produce quality from quantity.
1. DO more: take on more clients, blog more, publish more ebooks
Why not try it? What have you got to lose? If you can improve your writing by writing more, do it.
Set goals to:
- Double the number of clients you take on;
- Double your blogging schedule (or whatever other social media writing you’re doing);
- Double your ebook publishing schedule.
Yes, you’re putting pressure on yourself, and you’ll feel a little stressed, but it’s a good type of stress.
Be aware that writing more takes a little practice and organization, but you can do it, and it’s well worth the effort.
Consider this: if you double your output, you’ll double your income (at least.)
2. Separate writing and editing processes by at least a day, preferably more
Always separate writing — writing draft material — from editing. Here’s why.
When you write first draft material, you’re kicking your creative self to life. The next day, or the next week, when you come back to the material, you’ll find that you have fresher ideas, and you can complete the project quickly.
Self-publishing? Try editing while you’re writing.
In my most-productive periods, I always edit while I’m writing longer projects. Then when the novel is written, it’s done. You can do final edits, proofread, and publish.
Here’s a challenge: improve your writing by writing more over the next three months
Give yourself three months to settle into your new “out of quantity comes quality” routine.
Then, let me know your results.
Have fun. 🙂
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