25 Things You Can Do To Become A Better Writer

English: I took this picture myself.

This is a short post that is based almost entirely on Chuck Wendig’s 25 WAYS TO BE A HAPPY WRITER (OR, AT LEAST, HAPPIER).

I’d like to tell you I visit his home on a regular basis and that we exchange holiday cards but anyone who knows me can tell you I am not a greeting card kind of guy. Hell, if you get one from me it is probably because someone else bought it or because I magically found myself standing in the card aisle and simultaneously remembered your birthday/anniversary whatever.

Don’t mistake that to me that I don’t love you because you know I do but it is not enough to do the card thing…most of the time.

Anyhoo, I like Chuck because he is irreverent, insouciant and twisted, not to mention he is a solid writer. Did I mention that I think his advice is usually spot on and awesome.

Did I mention that I have played around with trying to become a greeting card writer? No? Well I have, but for now I am perfectly happy with what I have so I am making a note to try to record all of the truly good material I come up with, pithy, snarky, sarcastic and profound.

That is assuming that I actually come up with something during daylight hours when I am awake and not in the shower.  Love a good shower, but hate the way so many good ideas are developed there and forgotten later.

What About Chuck’s Post?

I haven’t forgotten about it. Hell, if you are a writer or a wannabe I think you should go visit and read that post, just remember to come back here. I would hate to have to send over an invoice asking him to kick in a couple of bucks for the 33 and a 1/3 readers that made the long trek from here to there.

This is the time where I am supposed to tell you which section of his post resonated the most with me, but I am not sure if there is just one thing to pick out. Damn you Chuck, you are making me look indecisive.

But assuming that I decided to pick out a section or two I would probably grab the love what you do, allow yourself to suck and just write. Those are critical and will make a substantial difference.

If there is one thing I have learned it is that most writers are more critical of their work than they should be. Although it is also worth noting that some of us should be more critical of our work than we are but we’ll ignore that for now.

The other thing to mention is that if you don’t love to write you probably won’t last. It is among the most rewarding things you can do, but it can be brutal too.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. kumar April 3, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Josh, I really don’t know about chuck but will heading to his blog after I finished reading yours.

  2. Brian D. Meeks March 29, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I’m currently editing my third Henry Wood novel, which was written four novels ago. I like the story, the characters, and especially the cat, Buttons (who was both a she and a he at various points in one chapter…now he is only a he…I digress.), but when I compare it to my more recent works, I do think I’ve improved.

    Writing, like everything, is about doing. I’ve written every day for over three years. When driving and my mind wanders, it inevitably heads to the fertile pasture of my current work-in-progress. I have tuned my brain to write. That can’t be taught.

    It can be earned, though. I don’t know if everyone can write, but I have a hard time believing that if one did write for a long period of time, they wouldn’t improve.

    Okay, now I’m off to read the other post.

    • Josh March 30, 2013 at 10:30 am

      I am convinced that with desire, practice and effort anyone can improve their skill as a writer. That doesn’t mean they can get to the place where they will become a best selling author, but they should become competent at telling a story with a beginning, middle and end.

      Three years of daily writing has to have a significant impact, especially when someone is already talented and you definitely are.

  3. Ralph March 29, 2013 at 4:29 am

    Finish your s**t. Hahahaha, that’s hilarious.

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  5. Vidya Sury March 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I enjoy Chuck’s writing, Josh. I first visited his website before the 2011 NaNoWriMo and couldn’t stop laughing at the advice he wrapped up so cleverly in humor.

    😀 You did have me running over here with this title – 😀

  6. Mary Stephenson March 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Hi Josh

    Figured I better leave a comment first or you might hunt me down over a Chuck’s place. I guess we could get away with sucking at writing and still have people interested enough in us to have a listen. Not at all like singing…if you suck at that you need to keep it strictly for the shower or to annoy the family pet, since they usually can’t escape!

    If writing is a struggle, I agree one should abandon it. But if one likes to write they can improve with time, much life fine wine. Although I have tasted a $50 bottle of wine that was pretty awful!


    • Josh March 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Mary,

      You made me snort, people who suck at singing will definitely chase others away. It is like bad cooking, makes you sick and queasy all at the same time.

    • Josh March 30, 2013 at 10:27 am

      Hi Mary,

      I remember a time in college when a bunch of us put in a couple of bucks for a “good” bottle of wine only to discover we hated it. It was quite disappointing.

      But you are correct, writing is definitely something that can be improved via time, practice and effort.

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