At least once a week, I’m asked how to make writing easier. My answer is: “find your own writing process.” Your process takes time to develop. By the way, I always encourage writers to find their own process, so try some of the tips and suggestions in this ebook about writing when you’re not in the mood.
Develop your process: do you love words and ideas?
A nervous and uncertain writer will respond to my suggestions with: “Yes, but what if I have no talent?” If I had a dollar for every person who’s ever asked me whether they had writing “talent” I’d be able to retire and spend the rest of my life lazing on a beach.
Talent has nothing to do with anything. I know many brilliant, talented writers who don’t write, for various reasons.
I also know brilliant writers who wrote badly, at first. They wanted to improve, so they learned and practiced. This proves that to write well, you need to want to write well. You need to love words, and working with words. David Ogilvy, one of my writing heroes, said it best: “Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.”
This article, brand dna: How to write, reports Ogilvy as saying:
“The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather (advertising agency).
People who think well, write well.
Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.
Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. “
Read the article.
And take “Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well” to heart.
Since “good writing” is highly subjective, you need to decide what it means to you.
To me, good writing means P.G. Wodehouse. He’s a master. On my walk this morning, I listened to Uncle Fred in the Springtime, read by Michael Jarvis. I’ve read the book many times, but hearing it helped me to focus on the words. Wodehouse is a master of English prose. I don’t mind dying, but I’ll mind not being able to enjoy P.G. Wodehouse in the afterlife.
Once you’ve decided what “good writing” is for you, read it. Read everything you can. Writers are readers.
Then practice. Write as much as you can. Accustom yourself to falling far, far short of your own “good writing” ideals. You’ll never reach them, and that’s fine. It’s why they’re ideals to you. While good writing is not a natural gift, the desire to write IS a gift. If you’ve been given the desire to write, write.
Readers are a gift too. Do your best by your readers, always. Then, talented or not, you’ve done your best by the gift you’ve been given…. And along the way, you’ll develop YOUR writing process.
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