May 5, 2017

5 Ways I am Working To Become a Better Writer

If you talk writers, nearly all of them are constantly learning about their craft.

At the 2016 ANWA Writer's Conference, I listened to Anika Arrington confess not using pages from her past books as examples for her class because her writing had changed too much over the last several years.

I remember thinking, "Your books are published. How are they not good enough?"

Since then, I've seen my writing change drastically. For the better, I hope.  Below are some ways I've worked at becoming a better writer

1. Read.  I often thought I could read or I could write, but I didn't have time to do both.  Um, No.  Find time.  Always find time.  Though I don't read as prolifically as most, I do my best. Even if it's a book in the car while waiting for my kids, or on the stairs as I wait for my youngest's bus to pull up.  Every bit counts.  Especially when I'm actively writing.  I'll nearly hyperventilate when I get to a scene that grabs me, then obsess over it for days, dissecting the scene until I know exactly how it was written to evoke such emotions.

2.  Listen. It took a while to realize I should "plug in" during my 30-minute work commutes with an audio book, a TED talk, a conference talk, Podcast, or anything that may cause my creative juices to flow. Now, I multitask. I'll try to listen while doing housework, driving, or any other time where I'm doing mindless activities.

3. Don't Listen. Some of my best inspiration is found during those aforementioned drives when the radio is off and I let my mind wander, replaying my current scene until I have the dialogue just right. I may consider 'what if' scenarios for future books, or add layers of interest to characters I'm working on.

4. Learn. I spend way too much time on Pinterest. Ask anyone who knows me. Or several who don't. I agree.  Anyone with more than 40,000 pins has a problem.  I'm sure I'll have an intervention soon.  But Pinterest has a crazy amount of resources and links to writing-related tutorials, material, information, tips, and ideas.  At last count, my Board,  "The Writer In Me" had 4,950 links to writing-related resources. Plus, I have 25 other writing-related boards. Several of the pins I've read, and others I haven't, hoping to come back when I have more time.  My goal is to read 3-4 how-to articles a week.

5. Apply.  After learning something new, I invariably end up back at my current WIP, sifting through the pages to see how I can apply my new-found knowledge. Sometimes I feel like I'm spinning my wheels, re-editing the same pages. Other times, it's as if angels are singing from Heaven.  Either way, it's forward progress.

No matter how I look at it, writing is a fluid process.  For someone who loves to learn, I couldn't have chosen a better hobby/obsession/wanna-be profession. The writer I was seven months ago at the ANWA Convention versus the writer I am are two different people. Hopefully for the better. But I know this progress is due to the efforts I make, bringing me one-step closer to being the writer I want to be.


  1. I'm exhausted, just reading this! You're doing great!

  2. I'm exhausted, just reading this! You're doing great!

  3. I think that's the truest statement ever made about's fluid. I like that.

  4. Excellent article. It's true, writing is a perpetual learning process. Pity the writer who thinks he/she knows all there is to know about writing.


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