Roughly twelve months ago, I became a contributing writer for Columbia Mom. My passion and desire for reading and writing began at an early age. I was always reading books and journaling. However, for several years, I rarely made time for either.
When my sister passed away, I found myself reading books on grief and letters that my sister and I shared. Many people write letters to lost loved ones to share their feelings. However, my first article with Columbia Mom helped me express a part of myself that I couldn’t seem to say out loud.
As a writer, I wanted to tap into my passion to shape words into expressions that would inspire, educate, and entertain others. As much as I love the creative work, there was something that felt horrifying about putting my words into the world for others to see, critique, and judge.
1. Writers Write
Writing one article per month doesn’t sound like much, but it was a daunting goal for someone who had not written articles regularly. Writing is work, and you won’t always feel like doing it. Some days are an absolute breeze; my words pour onto the page, sentences are effortless, and paragraphs convey my ideas. Other days are entirely the opposite – words are scrambled in my brain, and sentences feel impossible to form. I started to say, “I’m having writer’s block,” and would call it a day. However, I quickly realized that only writing on the good days would not get me to where I needed to be, producing a completed article.
2. Know Yourself
I know the values that define me, what makes me tick, what motivates me, where I get energy, and how I perceive the world. Understanding this about myself helped me connect with the readers. How a writer views the world is reflected in their writing, so pursuing awareness around this and using the knowledge can direct writing decisions.
I know from journaling that you will find more gems to inspire writing as you uncover your roadblocks and explore limiting beliefs. Being vulnerable in your writing allows readers to see your authentic self. Readers will resonate with that. As a writer, I focused on what is natural and right for who I am — not who I wish I was or who others want me to be. I want my uniqueness to shine through my writing.
3. Reading Helps improve Writing Skills
Writing is only one component of being a writer. It’s an important one, of course, but reading is equally important. Reading more doesn’t directly make you a better writer. However, reading contributes to improving your writing skills by expanding your knowledge of writing rules, improving your vocabulary, and fueling your motivation to write.
Writing is a skill, and reading helps hone the craft. Writing takes commitment and dedication. Can you recall any creative fields where the creator doesn’t engage with other forms of the craft? A musician who doesn’t listen to music or an artist who doesn’t attend art galleries.
I am sure this is the mantra for all writers. There’s always a to-do list to get done, appointments to schedule, cooking to do, and so on. It would be best if you had time to organize your thoughts before you put them on paper. As a contributing writer, I had to find my rhythm. A system that I could use again and again that wouldn’t leave me feeling as if my writing assignments are a sprint.
I tried various techniques, from creating a writing schedule to spending a little time working on the article every few days. The reality is a writing schedule did not fit my lifestyle. My unique writing rhythm is writing whenever I have time pockets to write. When this happens, there is no word count I can’t handle, and it doesn’t add unnecessary stress.
5. Editing While Writing
The habit of editing while writing can be destructive. While writing my first few articles, my biggest concern was the draft returned bleeding with red notes in the margin. Yes, subconsciously, the impact of the red ink from junior and high school assignments has transferred over to my adult life. The effect causes me to edit while writing.
Whenever I return to my draft, the temptation to go back to the previous day’s work and edit it until it is perfect, is overwhelming. Over the past few months, I have developed a new habit. I continue where I left off when I sit down to write. I don’t worry that my work will be terrible if I don’t modify sentences immediately. The article will never be perfect because I always think of new things to add or delete. I save editing for when the draft is completed; this way, I am more productive.
I am happy to say writing has become much easier the more I’ve done it. I have gained insight from other contributing writers, read numerous books, and learned from experience by seeing which articles connect with readers. Most importantly, I know I need a comfortable, peaceful, and inspiring environment when I sit to write. This environment allows more creativity and focus while doing what I love most, writing.