What are you doing, right now, to improve your writing?

Ironically enough, two days after saying I’m writing Wrapped in Darkness in first person in my What POV and tense do you write in post, I am now re-writing the 8000 words in third person. For whatever reason, first person just wasn’t working for me. It was reading like a to-do list, “I did this, I did that, I moved my arm, I rubbed my eye”… very annoying. I didn’t feel like I was getting deep enough into the world and it’s really frustrating when what you have on the page is nowhere near as good as what is in your head.

Which got me thinking… what am I doing to improve my writing?

What is everyone else doing to improve their writing?

For me… the thing that is improving my writing the most, at the moment, is critique groups and beta-readers. I’ve read that if you want to improve your writing then you should read, but I find learning from mistakes is the best way to move forward. It’s amazing how someone can point something out and it’s almost likeΒ a light bulb moment. For example, it was recently brought to my attention that I use a LOT of adverbs and adjectives in my writing. I read back through and yup, I do. So that is something I’m working on.

What about you guys? What are you doing, right now, to improve your writing? Are you taking a class? Are you part of a writing group? What are you working to improve?

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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39 Responses to What are you doing, right now, to improve your writing?

  1. emilybolcik says:

    I’m a screenwriter, so to improve my writing, I’m going through AFI’s list of 100 Best Films of All Time, and watching the ones I haven’t seen. Trying to learn from masters of the craft.

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  2. Dave Burns says:

    Reblogged this on Uncarvedbooks.

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  3. Doug Daniel says:

    Learning how to self-edit better, including how to improve a voice that is all-too-often passive, to pare away deadwood in my prose, and how to do a better job at expressing emotion without using “felt” and other such terms. There’s a book or two I’ve latched on to, but a large part of my education is coming from reading the advice of other bloggers, who have a lot of wisdom. And I am expanding my reading list beyond my typical genre choices. Yes, I’m going to read Jane Austen.

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  4. My forthcoming 94,000 word non-fiction is first person. Easier when it’s a true story about you.

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  5. T.J. Baer says:

    Hi, there! Sorry for randomly appearing in your comment space, but I was browsing blogs and this entry caught my eye. Anyway, boy, do I relate. There’s a particular novel I’ve been working on for years, and every now and then I’ll make some drastic change (POV, plot, characters, etc.) and write like the wind…! And then realize that it was actually fine the way it was, at which point I have to go change everything back. πŸ˜›

    As far as improving my writing, I do get a lot out of reading various different kinds of books, though of course receiving feedback and critiques from my writer friends certainly helps, too. The best way to improve, though, I think, is to write as much as possible and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time through. The improvement of my writing is a layered process – write, read it over, add bits here and there, flesh it out, etc., and eventually end up with something I’m happy with. πŸ™‚

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  6. I’m doing a lot of reading on the craft of writing. There’s some great books out there, written by the master’s themselves, if you know how to look. But I don’t just read these books. I like to actively take notes and apply the lessons to my current manuscript. This serves almost as an independent writing workshop, if you think about it. Anyway, much of the information I learn in these books I sometimes share on my blog. Knowledge is powerful, especially when you spread it around.

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  7. jdmckeown says:

    My 2014 Resolution was to write more. I’ve always wanted to “be a writer”, but have dragged my feet forever. So, to improve…I’m promised to write every day (in some form), and not throw up a shield when someone offers me criticism.

    I’m also looking to join a few writers’ groups in the next few weeks. A community of writers is extremely helpful!

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  8. SarahClare says:

    I’m in my final year of a Creative Writing degree.. which means I’m lucky to have access to a plethora of writers etc. to hold critique group sessions etc. And a campus full of staff!

    …but after June? I’m on my own! Heh.

    I think you can never underestimate the power of simply reading. Reading stuff from a range of genres has improved the way I approach writing as a craft.

    …good luck and best wishes for that mammoth task of changing the ‘I’s to ‘he/she’s.

    πŸ™‚

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  9. Like someone else commented, I’m trying to edit my writing more. For me, critiquing my own work can be a struggle. But I am learning that it is so important for the writing process. I have to learn to go back every time I write something and make changes to improve my work.

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  10. Today I am creating scene lists to completely rewrite the first two thirds of my novel. It’s hard. It’s my first finished piece and it makes me feel like I’m taking a puppy to the animal shelter to trade in for a different one. Please tell me this feeling goes away…

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  11. I’m just starting my first novel, still in the brainstorming stages. Just wanted to say thank you for your posts, they are keeping me inspired and determined. Still nervous about sharing my work, once it is completed. I haven’t even shared my blog with friends on fb because I’m so nervous of criticism from people that actually know me. I need to get over that.

    Like

    • jodiellewellyn says:

      You’re welcome. And yeah, sharing work with friends is daunting. Maybe you should start with an online community. I think it’s easier to receive initial criticism from people you don’t even know.

      Like

  12. theotherwoman97 says:

    Writing as much as I can, and reading about what other writers are doing, just reading and writing as much as I can.

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  13. R Cawkwell says:

    Oh, I’ve been there! I wrote an entire first draft of a novel in first person before deciding I hated it and that it didn’t work and started re-writing in 3rd person with occasional diary entries where I thought it would improve the story. As to what I do to improve my writing?I read and write as much as I can, I’m also working through a book based on a creative writing course, which has been really helpful.

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  14. Therin Knite says:

    I’m writing. Every day. Fiction. Book reviews. Everything. Writing and writing and writing. Then going back and editing, editing, editing. And I’m reading, of course. πŸ™‚

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  15. freethoughtslotsandlots says:

    Using too many of a certain type of word is commonplace. I do it too, and so do the best authors if your eye is keen. Spacing is the only way to disguise it because generally speaking, how you write isn’t something so easily changed. I keep a list of words I like to use that are uncommon even to the most verbose.

    And as always I try to decorate the setting as much as possible to allude the reader from my word choice and have them engrossed in the scene instead. haha

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  16. Well let’s see….I am in a writing group that meets every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, which yell me if I throw to many adverbs or adjectives out there as well…..:) and I’m also big on using he and she way too much in my writing. I have since corrected and kept a vigil against my fingers from becoming possessed. I read bad writing and good writing….that way I gauge where I am on the scale. It is actually very encouraging to read a bad author who was published… my refrain in my brain is always oh my god, I can write such a better story than this…bad books keep me inspired actually..:).

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  17. Paul J. Stam says:

    First person is very restrictive because you can only tell the story from one persons point of view. I find the omniscient POV the easiest because you can enter everyone mind and motivation. on that note I’ll quit and just say thank you for letting me know you liked “River Congo – Excerpt 26” – Thank you and Aloha – pjs.

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  18. M.Gate says:

    I started my blog to commit myself to write every day. It’s been only about 2 weeks, I think. So I’m still a noob. I will try to keep writing for a while, then go back and see what is wrong with it. I wish you the best of luck in you writing journey

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  19. I write sporadically. I’ve been reading blogs and writing texts for years to improve my skills. Someone recently said it’s time to start reading more fiction. That will improve my descriptions and help me with emotional details. So far, I’ve been pretty good at keeping my blog updated too.

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  20. inkhearted says:

    I’m undergoing a “30 days of world building” challenge to give my setting more depth. It’s been fun so far, and I think it’s helping!

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  21. sarahlearichards says:

    I tend to begin too many sentences with I. It gets repetitive. As far as improving my writing, one of the best things to do is learn something new about writing everyday (writerdigest.com has great free articles). “Lay” vs. “Lie” still stumps me, though. Reading helps, but writing helps more. As for as adverbs go, I’ve pretty much done away with them. I still like adjectives, though.

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  22. Great post. To improve my writing I’m reading, well more than usual. And instead of keeping some of my best work under lock and key I’ve decided to run it by my composition professor. He’s about the only person I trust to be honest yet appreciative of my work. I’m almost positive I’m starting to get on his last nerves because not only does he have to look over and critique my writing assignments (along with his other hundreds of students) but I’m constantly bringing in my own personal articles, papers, and stories for review. Just by reading my response I’m sure it’s more than evident that I’m not the best writer, as I need a lot of help in the grammar department, but I have endless potential. I’m only 19 so I feel I have time to perfect my craft. Around August I decided to become a freelancer. The rejection I’ve experienced has definitely pushed me and showed me what I need to work on. As you stated, it’s like a light bulb. Someone can point out a huge mistake that you’ve read over hundreds of times but never noticed. That’s why I think it’s great to get the opinions of other writers and readers. I’m also in the process of searching for a writing group as I see that, as much as i want to, I can’t continue this journey without one. *whew* Sorry for the rambling πŸ™‚

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  23. I’m taking a five day writing retreat to concentrate on my novel. It’s day three and i’ve found out I am not one of those writers who can write non stop for eight hours a day. I have discovered, that , just as when at home, I write in two hour bursts with a long break between, although some of the breaktime can be used for typing up and editing or planning the next section. The good thing is that I have been able to fit in at least two creative writing bursts per day, whereas at home I am lucky to manage one, but I have to admit it’s beginning to feel a bit like being in prison. I’m hoping that by the end of the week, I’ll have at least 15,000 words under my belt and will have tied up a lot of the loose bits in the plot.

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  24. I guess the same things that I’ve always done. I run (that’s when all my ideas come to me) I read (that’s how I get inspiration for style) I write (my writing won’t get better if I don’t practice)

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  25. I read every day. I try to write every day. I attend monthly workshops at my local RWA(Romance Writers of America) chapter (most months) and take online courses every couple of months. But after going through the editing process of my first book, coming out in April, I’m trying to just write. If I get 1,000 words a day in, it flows a lot better.

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  26. Eden says:

    Reblogged this on The Otaku Librarian and commented:
    Yes. This is so true. You can’t stop writing. You can’t give up. You just have to keep writing, keep trying, revising, resubmitting, writing more, over and over again!

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  27. Started a Blog! Haha it’s crazy how much writing is involved in keeping up with one, but can already tell a difference in my writing and feel more confident about it. Glad I stumbled upon your site though, great stuff on here πŸ™‚

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  28. What do I do to improve my writing? I write.

    No, really. That’s it. I also read, but that’s not…

    OK, maybe it is. I write and read. You want to be as good as I am? Then write and read. All day. From dawn till dusk. You are reading this comment right now, so that’s a good start. Keep it up. Have fun. I must go and resume my writing now. Excuse me. Keep reading. No, really. Do.

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  29. cgbalu says:

    Just a diary writer. Am using variety of ways to write. Learn a lot from this blog.

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  30. “What is everyone else doing to improve their writing?”

    Rather than simply writing poetry, my usual choice, I am trying to write some fiction.

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  31. patriciamar says:

    Reading. It’s actually a wonderful break as well. Forcing new genres a little bit, but also reading old favorites and trying to identify what exactly it is that makes them a favorite.

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  32. Reblogged this on Harti Mawarni Putri and commented:
    This is true πŸ™‚

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  33. I am in a writing group which meets monthly, I read voraciously and I write every day. Editing your own work helps too, in terms of seeing where you are flawed and also finding your own voice on the page.

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