For authors who have decided to take their writing ambitions a step further and turn writing into a career, learning to write is an important skill to master. This may seem obvious, but many new authors fall short of making the most of their potential, even when they’re already achieving professional standards.
Of course, learning to write is something that takes time, commitment, and dedication. After all, when you’ve set your sights on becoming a successful writer, taking the time to learn how to write well and produce high-quality work isn’t a possibility, and it shouldn’t be. But you can improve your writing skills in a matter of minutes, so you shouldn’t dismiss your literary aspirations just yet.
Below are 10 quick ways to improve your writing skills, according to the writers who have successfully made the switch.
1. Use beta readers
Some writers complain that they can’t fit writing a whole novel into a couple of hours, and they’re often left feeling disappointed by the quality of their finished product. This is often because they’ve never read it all the way through, and they haven’t properly edited it.
However, in the rush to get a manuscript written and submitted, many authors neglect to give their work a final edit. If you want to avoid this scenario, it’s important to surround yourself with professional feedback when you’re writing your first novel. You should be using beta readers in addition to your own editor.
The most essential tool when it comes to self-editing is a good editor. A professional editor can help you spot and fix all kinds of problems, from plot holes to faulty grammar. Having their feedback will also help you focus on making the final version of your novel the best it can possibly be.
2. Get to know your tools
When you write, you should do it with passion and enthusiasm, and that means you should be well-versed in the tools you’ll be using. If you’re writing with a keyboard and a screen, you should know all the functions of your keys. If you’re writing with a pen and paper, you should know how to write with it.
If you’re going to use external tools, such as a computer or a calculator, you should know all about their functions. Don’t spend a lot of time learning about the ins and outs of these tools. Instead, devote yourself to learning how to use them.
There’s no point learning the basics if you’re not going to spend any time learning how to get the most out of these tools. It’s important to take a good look at the tools you’re using, and decide if they really make the most of your time.
3. Learn how to write without the computer
Many people only use computers to write, which is a mistake. However, computer systems are now becoming increasingly advanced, so you don’t need to be chained to a keyboard in order to get your work done.
Using a word processor allows you to work on a word document on the computer and then switch over to a Word document to edit. The word processor will often feature a few extra features such as grammar checking and spell check, but you don’t need to spend a lot of time learning how to use these functions.
Instead, concentrate on learning how to write without the computer. If you’re a fan of Scrivener or LibreOffice, you should know how to use them. But, if you’re working on a laptop, don’t rely on the word processor. Instead, learn how to use your laptop’s keyboard and trackpad.
This could include learning to use Ctrl + Z to undo and Ctrl + X to cut, or using the Ctrl + C key to save your work when you’re finished. Even if you don’t have access to any extra software, you can learn how to use the keyboard and trackpad to be as efficient as possible.
4. Learn how to edit your writing
Editing is the key to making your writing shine, and it takes a long time to learn how to do it effectively. Don’t be tempted to skim through your work and check for errors every time you go to the bathroom, or whenever you get an excuse to do a little work.
There’s a difference between editing a draft and editing a final version of your book, and you’ll want to spend hours learning how to edit your work in a methodical way. This involves making a lot of mistakes along the way, but that’s how you learn, and the more mistakes you make, the better you’ll be able to get your work.
5. Think about your professional audience
The only reason you should be writing is for your own enjoyment. However, you must keep in mind that your audience is also a professional one. Think about the kinds of books that are likely to sell to your target audience.
It’s very easy to overlook this part, but you need to write a book that is easy to read and will attract the right kind of readers. A good book should keep the reader interested, be long enough for them to finish it, and have a clear, concise narrative.
6. Learn how to make your book saleable
You don’t need to have a huge network of supporters to make a living from writing. A small network of people who know about you and your work and who believe in your work will enable you to make a living. You don’t need to spend too much time learning about how to make your book salesable, but it’s important that you know what your audience is looking for.
7. Get support
Many authors feel that no one in the world will understand their writing as well as they do, so they isolate themselves and become isolated by this. However, there are a few things you can do to broaden your knowledge and get professional help.
Go to online forums and communities where writers are discussing their own books, or reading other people’s books. You can also join online critique groups, where other authors can offer their professional opinion on your work.
Learning to make use of these kinds of community resources is the best way to learn how to make use of your own personal networks.
8. Think about marketing
If you can remember the time you thought about marketing a book, you’ll know how scary this topic is. But the truth is, you can’t just sit back and assume that all your readers will discover your work. You need to actively try and market your books.
You’ll need to do a lot of work in order to learn how to market your book effectively, but once you do, it will make things a lot easier for you.
9. Learn how to post regularly
This is a particularly difficult one, but there are some definite benefits to putting a lot of work into keeping a blog. Blogs can help you get more exposure for your work.
When you have a blog, you can use your blog posts to increase the amount of time your readers spend on your website, so they’re more likely to buy your books.
10. Try to write a book in your genre
There’s no point in learning how to write a genre-changing novel if you’re going to write something different. That means that you need to learn how to write a book in the genre that you enjoy reading, or else it will appear to be quite out of place in your book market.
Choosing a genre is one of the most important things that an author can do. It’s a sign that the book has been created by a person who loves the genre and will be willing to spend time learning about and playing with it.
Of course, there are a lot of other things that can make writing easier.
You can learn how to revise your book for the first time if you’re not a natural at this. You can learn how to structure your book, or how to edit and proofread. You can learn how to format your book properly so that it can be sold in bookshops.
However, I have tried to focus on what seems to me to be the most important things in order to help an author become a successful author.
With these 10 steps, you can become a successful author of any genre or style!
Do you have any tips to make writing easier? Do you have any tips on what makes you a successful author? Share your thoughts and advice with us in the comments section below!