This patience and innate need to always be improving and striving for perfection is what separates the writers who leave an impression from the ones who produce material merely for the sake of production.
So, how do you create valuable writing worthy of notice? Here are five ways to get started:
Be authentic; be original.
Some of the best writing comes from having a connection or personal investment in what you are writing. There has to be some motivating factor for you to make you want to strive to be better than your best.
There are thousands of people who are trying to piggyback on the “greats.” Don’t be one of them.
It may pay off in the short-term, but writing shoddy pieces again and again just to get them out will never make anything of value. There has to be hard work and skill-driven copy to make something successful and long-lasting.
And that’s not how you want your writing to be remembered. Strive for ideas that are your own to investigate. The reader will be able to tell and discover your own personal growth through the words on the page.
Lose the ego.
When so much of yourself becomes invested in what you are creating, it can be easy to shut down when helpful criticism comes your way. Lose the ego, and accept critiques of your work that will only make it better.
In fact, spend some time seeking out advice from other writers who are familiar with the genre in which you are working. They will be able to see things from the reader’s perspective, as well as that of the writer, a useful tool when trying to maintain structure and coherence.
Revise, revise, revise.
Unless you feel as though you are above mistakes and fine-tuning, the first draft you write should never be your last. Revisions are essential to creating a piece of work that is worthwhile.
When you revise, edit and then revise again, you start to reframe your writing in ways that will make more sense to the reader. It also allows you to further develop any thoughts that aren’t fully flushed out.
Know your audience.
You should never begin to write without knowing who your target audience is. Why?
Let’s take a quick look at the screenplays for the two popular animated movies, “Antz” and “A Bug’s Life.”
“A Bug’s Life” has a very clear target of young children and families. “Antz” looks as though it tried to do the same, but the brusqueness of the characters makes it unclear for whom they wrote the film. This can be seen in this line from “Antz”:
“There you have it: your average boy-meets-girl, boy-likes-girl, boy-changes-the-underlying-social-order story.”
“Underlying social order”? Does that sound like something a 6-year-old would understand? Probably not.
When your audience isn’t known, your writing will be impersonal and/or inappropriate for whomever you happen to reach.
It’s clear that Keith Springer, the author of “Facing Goliath: How to Triumph in the Dangerous Market Ahead,” kept his readers in mind from start to finish with his book.
His ability to explain complex economic concepts in simplified points kept his readers engaged and interested. He took a complex subject and turned it into an easy read, making the book far more beneficial to his readers than if he had heavily relied on financial terms and jargon.
Accept that it isn’t easy.
Good writing isn’t easy. Why do you think procrastination comes so quickly? Doing the work right, and doing it well, requires time and patience.
John Steinbeck, the author of “East of Eden,” spent over a year working on his novel, according to the National Steinbeck Center. During that time, he would begin writing at 7:30 in the morning and go until the afternoon.
Psychologists have used various models to try to understand the motivation behind productivity. Your motivation could be intrinsic, like the genuine desire to learn and improve, or extrinsic, like the wish for money, fame and glory.
Whatever your personal goals are, you have to be dedicated to the art form to make progress.
This means that many days, nothing quality will come out, and it will feel like hours were wasted. But for all of those times, the moments when you are productive and feel the quality of your work is aiming toward your best, that’s something to look forward to.