Writing is a wonderful form of self-expression. It has almost infinite flexibility. You have time to think and rethink, write and rewrite what you want to say. However, a conversation is never like that. It is direct and spontaneous and what you say is unchangeable. Words from a tongue are like arrows from a bow. Once they are fired, they never come back.
But writing is not as easy as conversation. It needs effort and determination. Especially if you want to make a hobby out of it. So how to improve on writing skills so that we can make a hobby out of it? Here are a few tips that can help.
Healthy habits of mind
Writing and thinking go hand in hand. If you are having difficulty in writing, chances are that you don't think much. By thinking, I mean conscious thought where you deliberately ponder on something for a long time without wandering. Try to build a habit of pondering on things. This will not only help you with your writing but will also help you come up with good ideas.
Pen and paper
Some people like to write with pen and paper. Others like the ease that this digital age provides. Experiment and find out what tools you like to write with. Once you have made a choice, stick with it. This will ensure a sense of familiarity and calm. Using different stationery every time can cause your mind to wander and can affect your thinking pattern. This is a small thing and it might not hinder you much, but if you want to establish a routine, even small things matter. If nothing else, it will ensure that your writing tools and material are someplace you can easily find. If we don't have a fixed stationary, we might find ourselves with haphazard notes everywhere. This can make writing harder than it actually is.
Beauty affects us all. It captures us, drives our emotions, and makes us feel. On the other hand, dullness and ugliness plumb us down and make us emotionally catatonic.
It is important to have a neat and clean writing place. Set for yourself someplace where you feel comfortable. (Not too comfortable. For example, writing in bed is not a good idea. But maybe it can work for you. )
Writing in an orderly manner. If you have written something in a disordered manner, it will be difficult to rewrite or correct it later.
Looking at dirty writing or haphazardly written scribbling can turn your mood off and can kill your inspiration. So write beautifully and in a neat and clean manner.
Take a notebook with you wherever you go or use a note-taking app. Inspiration comes in unexpected places sometimes. It is always a good idea to make notes when the ideas come to you. Capture your ideas, thoughts, and feeling when they come to you, and then write them in detail when you have time.
Almost all writers make a habit of making notes almost anywhere. Make a habit of it and it will come in handy.
Photos, Movies, and music
You can use photos for inspiration. For example, beautiful scenery, a mysterious photo, or some other intriguing image that fires your imagination can help you in getting ideas. Similarly, movies can sometimes provide your mind a stimulus for lucid writing.
Music can similarly inspire you. You can experiment with different kinds of music to see how you write when some music is playing. Good writing always has an emotional touch that gives it freshness and continuity. Find out whatever makes you feel inspired and use it to your advantage.
Take a walk
All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.
Seriously, taking a long walk is a great idea for clear thinking and inspiration. There have been scientific studies that show walking has a deep connection with the thinking part of our brain. It boosts creativity and helps us think. So take a long walk preferably in a natural environment and see how it helps.
It takes time
You can't force yourself to come up with good ideas to write about. You have to be patient and on the lookout. Great ideas often come to you in surprising situations.
JK Rowling got the idea to write Harry Potter books on a boring train station sit-up.
So be on the lookout and write them down when they come. Don't wait for some free time when you can relax and write your idea in detail. Ideas are like fish. If you don't catch them instantly, they go away.
Catch ideas from others
Ask friends and family what they are interested in. Healthy discussions with your friends or relatives can help you catch a few ideas from others. Or you can share your own ideas with them and ask for feedback. This can help you bring your ideas into a more mature shape.
Evovke an emotion in your writing
If you are writing a story, you will have to imbue your narrative with all kinds of emotions. And where will these emotions come from? Where else but from inside you. So try to be aware of your emotional states.
Write when you are angry, sad, or depressed.
You might write something awful or completely meaningless. But this meaningless scrawling can act as an emotional memory archive, and you can use it to remember the states of anger or happiness. Then you can use these emotions whenever you need them in your writing.
Decide a writing genre
Instead of trying your hand in everything at the same time, decide on a genre like sci-fi or fantasy, etc, and then stick to it. This will help you dedicate your time more shrewdly.
At the start you might try your hand on everything, but after sometimes you will begin to notice what kind of writing you enjoy the most or what kind of writing is more fruitful for you. At this stage, you can decide which genre is more preferable to you.
Make time for writing
If you haven't fixed a time for writing, do it now. It is very important to schedule some time to write if you want to make writing your hobby. Otherwise, you will be looking for the best time for writing all week but will not be able to find any.
It does not matter that you don't feel the mood for writing at the scheduled time. Just sit down and write whatever is at the top of your mind. Writing has a calming effect on the mind. You will feel good about writing in a few minutes.
Don't feel disheartened if you can't write something worth a dime at first. Just stick to the schedule. In a few days, you will start to see progress. Your writing will become more smooth and continuous with an overall improvement in quality. Someday you will even write something that will be brilliant. But don't stop your schedule at that moment. Stick to it and you will start producing better and better pieces of writing.
The benefits of reading books
If you seriously want to pursue writing and are not in the mood to read, just stop. There is no good writing without good reading.
Read as much as you can. Find out what you like to read about. Fiction, non-fiction, magazines, articles, or blogs anything will do. Build a strong reading habit and you will feel its effect on your writing. Your horizon will broaden. You will get more ideas. Your style will improve. So read as much as you can. It will help your writing at every moment.
Show your work
If you keep your work with you and don't share, you will lose motivation. Share your work with family and friends.
Share it on social media such as Facebook or Instagram and enjoy the feedback. Building an audience for your work will take time, and social media can be very helpful in this regard. It will directly connect you with your audience. This will keep you motivated and will help you improve.
Find purpose in life
Think about your main motivations in life and how they are connected with your writing. If you know what motivates you to write, you can work on it and increase your energy and motivation. This might not be easy for some people. Life is a confusing mess and sometimes we are completely unsure where we are going. Fortunately, writing itself can help you in this regard.
Start keeping a diary of your private thoughts about life and what it means to you. After a few months, you will have a catalog of your thoughts and feelings about life. This can help you have a clearer mind and find out what motivates you to write.
Here is an article that will help you in this journey.
Ideas are the easy part of writing. Almost anyone can come up with great ideas. It is the execution, the actual effort to write it down, that counts. There are many people with great stories and ideas in their minds. Sometimes they even discuss these ideas with friends and family, but very few of them even attempt to convert them into something more. And even fewer ever succeed in bringing them into full bloom.
So brainstorm for ideas and think about those ideas whenever you find the time, but then do the actual effort and write them down. Only then will you be able to build a writing hobby.
Writing is difficult when you start. You struggle, get bored and wander easily. But as you do this day in and day out, you start liking the experience. Writing becomes a friend with whom you can share everything. Something that you can't live without. When that time comes, you will know that it has become part of your life.