Learning how you can become a better writer is a lifelong journey. The most respected writers understand – or understood – this. 

Take Stephen King, for example. He completed 61 novels since his first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974. He also published six non-fiction books and over 200 short stories. 

I’m not a fan of his fiction, but his craft, style, and ongoing success are beyond remarkable. I am a fan of his non-fiction, though. His book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is an absolute necessity for any writers who want to improve their skills. And this includes online writers, from bloggers to product copywriters to service page creators. 

King is a one and only, and can’t be replicated. Neither can two other writers I also respect but don’t enjoy to read –  Isaac Asimov, who has over 500 books published mostly in science fiction, or R.L. Stine, who wrote over 330 children’s books, including the famed Goosebumps series.

How Can You Become a Better Writer? Learn to Kill Complacency

The reason I bring up three prolific authors that I don’t enjoy? Because reading them can quickly get me out of my usual zone of study or everyday reads. This shakeup is good for the mind. 

The same is true in the world of writing. In an attempt to master the craft, a writer should kill complacency as much as possible and continuously challenge themselves with something new. 

Notice I use the word attempt. I believe nobody can master anything, especially writing. But those who try are on the most optimal path forward because they are continually challenging and pushing themselves to be the best they possibly could. 

How does this work for a writer? I’ll be the scapegoat. 

My main writing nowadays is about marketing, productivity, entrepreneurship, motorcycles, and, well, writing itself (with a sharp focus on written content that’s also search-friendly).

Those are my passions. But I periodically write about something drastically different to challenge my skills and freshen my brain. The best part? When I return to my typical everyday writing, the words arrive easier, and the excitement to return to topics I truly love reenergizes my focus. 

Following are five tactics on how to become a better writer.

Take on Projects You Know NADA About

If you are a travel writer who cares less about high-performance automobiles, take on a freelance project about exotic cars. Challenge yourself not only to learn something you can care less about but also write about it in the most proficient manner every. 

This will obviously take more energy than what you have what I call “career equity” in – such as a travel writer with 10-years experience in the field. Hopefully, the project is annoying and nags the hell out of you. That’s when you know you’re being pushed. 

This mostly works for established freelancers like many I work with at ContentMender. They have enough writing credits to either take on projects from just about anyone or has some relationship with another business or freelancer for access to this work. 

Just make sure you have a reputable editor and/or fact-checker within that field. 

 

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Write Across Different Platforms

Blog writing is different from product copywriting, and both are different from a press release or white paper or Wikipedia entry. 

All take specialized expertise to do well, so crossing over and gaining expertise in a different form presents a challenge – one that will help you become a better writer overall. 

Most of my writing is long-form articles and blogs, though I am finishing my first non-fiction novel on productivity. To get to this point comfortably, I relied on what I call my “career equity” – basically all the equity I gained as a writer over the past two decades. And throughout those decades, I consistently trained to be proficient across various forms. I did this for more work – although some were low-paying garbage work like product copywriting that I hated. 

Looking back, that garbage work did as much for my future as constant reading and other forms of writing training (though I still despise product copywriting!) 

Review Products You Know Nothing About

Everyone buys products from Amazon. All of my books, coffee, and supplements are ordered from Amazon bi-weekly. 

For writers, these products provide some added use besides their intended purpose.  They offer the perfect opportunity to attempt writing about stuff you’d never consider – an act that kills the complacency within your everyday writing. 

I do this with books under various pseudonyms. I read six a month and always mix in something totally out of my league at least once every three months to grow my brain. The latter are still the fun ones to review because they challenge the mind. 

Try the 1000-Word Daily Challenge

Force yourself to write 500 words each day on the same topic in your primary discipline of writing – the more challenging, the better. This can be completed digitally or via note and pad!

If you blog for various companies, write a blog about your blog strategies – 500 words a day. If you are a product copywriter, write 500 words a day about multiple copywriting strategies. 

Try to write at the same time every day. The best time is when your creative energy is at its peak (read Chris Bailey’s ?? to learn more!), but you should reserve that time for clients. So pick a time when you have at least some energy to push out credible work. 

And for each day, don’t worry about edits. Just write and do the editing after the challenge is completed. When finished, that’s 15,000 words. Up for a more significant challenge? Turn that into 1000 words daily. 

Have something good at the end of 30 days? Turn it into an e-book and sell it. Or, if you’re a business or blog owner, offer it as an incentive for your newsletter list. 

If it’s crap, push it aside. The lessons you absorbed are well worth the effort. And that crap maybe the skeleton of something amazing for the future, so hold onto it. 

Create a Story about Your Favorite Character

Take a favorite character, whether from a book, TV series, or comic book whatever. The character can be Sal Paradise from On the Road, Midge from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or Snoopy, and create a story about that character. 

Place them into a different setting. Make them transgender. Murder them. Just do whatever to get your mind thinking out of the norm. If the writing is whacky and worthless, don’t worry. It’s just an exercise to get your fingers working with a different mindset. 

This helps refresh the mind and challenges it. And all routine writing work will thank you. 

create stories about your favorite characters to learn different skills

Bonus Thoughts

Don’t forget about SEO. Do all the above with search in mind, including the inclusion of optimal keywords, and for the non-reviews of fictional tale, other on-page SEO elements like internal links, proper header tags (sub-titles), etc. For more, visit 24 Simple Ways to Improve SEO (Rank Higher, Earn More).

Concluding Thoughts

One way to become a better writer is to kill complacency and continuously challenge yourself by writing something you know nothing about or have zero passion about. 

It’ll help build your skills as a writer. But there’s more.

The ultimate outcome? Quicker and clearer output. 

These practices will also help you be a more productive and confident writer. You’ll also think clearer when under the proverbial gun and need to get material out quickly. 

These practices will also help the many writers who complain of that absurd concept called writer’s block

Writer’s block is a bunch of bullshit. It’s just another form of procrastination or lack of creative energy due to complacency. Don’t be lazy. And challenge yourself with something new periodically. This will help you become the best writer you can be – even one that can attempt to master the writing craft. 

 


 

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