Posted in Writing

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Fiction Writing


1. Write at least 1,000 words a day.

This should preferably be fiction — whether it be a new novel or short story — but it can be other kinds of writing, too.

What’s important is that you write every day.

Treat writing like exercise. The more you write the more you improve, the same way the more you exercise the healthier and fit you become.

You’ve never going to get anywhere if you just dabble in writing here and there. Don’t just talk about writing. Don’t endlessly outline a novel or short story project you never begin.

Write the first 1,000 words today — not tomorrow, today — and see what happens.

2. Write at the same time every day.

Find an hour or two during your day where you have the most free time and commit to writing at that time each and every day.

Again, think of this like exercise. If you’re an early bird, write when you first wake up. Write before breakfast. Write before your day has effectively started.

If you’re a night owl, write super late. After everyone has gone to bed. After everything has finally quieted down. You might be tempted to just watch some TV, get caught up on that latest Netflix show.

If you’re serious about writing, you need to skip that hour of Netflix and work on your writing instead. You should look forward to that time you have during the day to write.

And don’t panic if you don’t necessarily have two hours. At least one hour of writing a day is ideal, but if it’s only thirty minutes, or twenty minutes, or even ten minutes, that’s still more ideal than nothing.

Even if you have no time at all today to devote to your writing, you can certainly find ten minutes. Use those ten minutes to write a little bit of fiction — and see what happens.

3. Start reading a craft book about fiction writing.

This is often how I like to start my day. Just five to ten minutes reading a really great craft book about writing will give me endless amounts of inspiration.

You close a great craft book ready to do something incredible. You’re beyond excited to get back to writing more of your story.

There are so many great craft books about writing out there. My all-time favorites you can find here, and here, and here.

You could start with a whole lot worse than those fifteen recommendations I gave in those three links above.

If you have absolutely no idea where to start, find yourself a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing and get started today.

Read it slowly. Take notes. Just three to five pages every morning or night will work wonders for your writing, I’m telling you.

Get a fantastic craft book about writing, start reading it today — and see what happens.

4. Join an online writing community.

Writing can often be isolating, frustrating, and really, really hard. You need to do much of this work alone, in your own thoughts, but what will help you considerably in the long run is to find a community of writers you can talk to.

Many people have in-person writing communities. You should definitely look around the area you live in. Even just three or four other writers can make a community.

But something you can do today is join at least one online writing community and introduce yourself.

Ninja Writers is a great one, on Facebook. A super supportive and inspiring community of nearly 18,000 people.

Find an online writing community, say hi, and tell the community what you like to write and what you’re currently working on — and see what happens.

5. Say it out loud, to yourself and to others: “I’m a writer.”

This one might seem obvious, but it’s harder than you think.

I’ve written nineteen novels in nine years, recently earned my MFA in Creative Writing, have a literary agent and a novel on submission…

And I still struggle telling people I’m a writer, and instead will say I’m a teacher, because that job brings in a steady check every month.

Right now, forget about that job you may have that brings in the steady check. Sure, you need it to survive. Sure, you might even love that job.

But try this, starting today. Say the words out loud, to yourself first: “I’m a writer.” And then say the words to a friend or a family member: “I’m a writer.”

And the next time somebody asks what you do for a living, do it, say it, and say it proudly: “I’m a writer.”

And then see what happens!

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