How to Become an Excellent Writer
Provocative thoughts, evocative images racing through your mind, tension where there is no pretention, that’s the secret to good writing. If you feel like you are in a rut, then don’t be afraid to break out and become that excellent writer you want to be.
The first thing to do is take away what Mark Twain said, We will sum it up, but in essence when you catch yourself using adjectives, get rid of most of them because they will weaken what you are trying to strengthen.
John Gardner said, “The abstract is seldom as effective as the concrete. She was distressed’ is not as good as, even, ‘She looked away.'”
So one of the best ways to turn yourself into an excellent writer is to avoid the use of fancy words. Instead, choose to write clearly and concisely, with no unnecessary words, and no unnecessary sentences. Write so that your reader can easily comprehend your message and so that you are engaging your reader. In other words, drop the ‘fluff.’
Look for clutter within your writing and get rid of it. Watch for the overuse of certain words and toss them out. Look closely at each sentence you have written and then simplify it.
George Orwell had some great advice to live by as a writer. Orwell said, “Never use a metaphor, simile, or another figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short word will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive where you can use the active.”
Try to use short words whenever possible, and avoid long words whenever possible. Keep your writing at a grade 7 to 8 level for the best understanding. The more comfortable your writing is to read, the more likely the reader is to stick with what you have written, and to follow you with future writings.
If you plan to be a professional writer, youíll want to evaluate both your talent and your temperament. Remember, when something you have written is rejected, itís the writing the publisher is rejecting, not you. So donít become offended, donít feel stupid, and donít feel incompetent because if you do, you will never make it as a professional writer.
You should also not think that your work is worthless or of no value. It’s incredible how opinions change from one editor to the next. If one editor says no, then take it to another editor.