Let’s Improve Writing!

[Writer’s Stuff] [About Cat Hartliebe]

There are only three ways you can improve writing.

I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but I am making it clear and concrete this way.

  1. Actually write.
    The biggest way to actually improve writing is by writing. Just like with literally everything else, practice makes you more skilled.
    This was probably the obvious one. And some feel the hardest. It’s also the most important.
  2. Read.
    I haven’t met a writer who hasn’t spent quite a bit of time absorbing other people’s words. Pick up another book and read. Don’t just pick up final copies. Find places where they are showing off an earlier draft. Ask to beta read, or let others know you are willing. You will learn a lot by reading more and at different levels.
    You also need to read different genres and types. Non-fiction textbooks are different from fictional novels which are different from graphic novels which are different from children’s books. Don’t think ‘I write horror, middle grade chapter books won’t help.’ That’s wrong. You’d be surprised. It’s different. The more varied your reading is, the better your writing skill will become.
    Still number one is number one for a reason. You gotta write to improve.
  3. Live.
    What do you mean, you don’t understand? If you don’t have a life, you will struggle to write. It’s like asking a small child for a story. What is the most complex things they will have happen? Either it was be very simple or very fantasy oriented. They don’t grasp things. Not yet. They haven’t lived.
    You need to gain experiences. You need to live life. You need to know what feelings feel like. I’m not saying there is a list of experiences you need to have, but you need to have some.
    That means literally everything helps writing.

Some stuff will end up only gained through reading and watching. I cannot say what it feels like to murder someone. I will never be able to say I lived through that. I don’t want to. But I have watched documentaries and met quite a few who have murdered. (Military are legal murderers; my father has a very long list.)
Some stuff you need to live through to truly grasp it.

This is where the “own voices” and don’t write what you don’t know come into play.

The different types of oppression work differently. I’ve seen that. I’ve felt several. But I’ll never be black which is why I concerned myself with Head of Hart.

But you can write something you didn’t live through if you study and listen and watch enough. You have to get into the other person’s shoes and pretend to be them for a while.
Which for the murderer case… The level of pain, anger, and guilt was extreme for me. I try not to repeat it. For someone to be devoid of consideration for another’s life makes them automatic villains.

That’s it. Three ways to improve writing. And you really do need all three. Writing is top of the list because you have to get the skill down. But without two and three, your writing will always be weak.

I’m not saying a kid can’t create a masterpiece.

I’m saying you need to expand your world a little bit before you can truly succeed here. Writing is hard.

And because of the third improvement technique, many believe writing is easy. Once you live, you have a story. But if you don’t read and you don’t write, you won’t be able to offer it to the world.

If you need help understanding the improvement methods, leave a comment.

Thanks for visiting!


[Writer’s Stuff] [About Cat Hartliebe]

2 thoughts on “Let’s Improve Writing!”

  1. I’m so glad you mentioned the importance of reading works at different levels! Most people don’t talk about that and many think that since they barely have the time for their own WIPs they can’t possibly bother with someone else’s writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If nothing else, I like to point out the difference between Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s the same story, but it’s told so much better in the final draft.
      Writers who do not set out to read different levels of writing end up assuming Go Set a Watchman is a separate story or is quality work.
      I’m not saying it’s bad… Plenty out there are worse, but it’s not bestseller/ English curriculum level that To Kill a Mockingbird is.
      Reading and critiquing other people’s work is essential to boosting your own skills as a writer. I didn’t realize that until my college writing courses though.

      Like

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