If being a writer were only a matter of being prolific, then it would be easy, right? Sit, write, and repeat every day. But it’s much more than that if you want to improve and grow as a writer. Reading remains one of the best ways to expand your skills as a writer. Seeing how other talented writers deliver a story does wonders for your own approach. That’s why it’s imperative for writers to read regularly – okay a lot.
When I read articles about successful writers, it’s often interesting to hear what they did in their development phase. Most writers go through a phase where they learn the craft and develop into the writers that they’ll become. Many cite that they read everything. Others talk about writer’s groups they joined or a particular teacher or editor that helped them get better. Regardless of what method they used, every single one had to learn how to be a writer and who they were as a writer. Stephen King talks about it in his instructive memoir, On Writing. Read any article on an author in Writer’s Digest, and you’ll see the same thing.
I’ve done a variety of things to help me improve as a writer. First and foremost, I read a lot of fiction. My favorites – Wally Lamb, Khaled Hosseini, and many others – have taught me as much about writing as they’ve entertained me with their stories. I’ve attended writer’s conferences. Not only are conferences a great way to network with other writers, but they also provide rich content in the workshops and seminars they put on for attendees. I’m a regular reader of the Writer’s Digest newsletter that comes out every week. I’ve yet to have a week where the newsletter didn’t provide some useful content for me.
The one thing I haven’t done is attend a class on writing. I took writing classes in college, but since then, I’ve been on my own. I simply don’t have the time to commit to an evening college writing class now, but this week, I’m doing the next best thing – I’m attending a novel writing intensive with best-selling authors Steven James and Robert Dugoni. This promises to be an exciting experience learning about the craft, writing, and getting real-time feedback from experts in the field. I’m very excited to say the least.
The point of all of this is to grow as a writer. That growth is necessary to have any success as a writer. We all start somewhere, but where we end up is totally up to us and the effort we put into our careers.