This is a guest post by the talented Veronica May, an experienced editor and blogger at A-Writer. She has written for multiple online publications, where she strives to share her knowledge and opinions. Her main focus is covering a variety of topics in the field of education.
Although her post focuses on writing in general, I found her excellent points equally valuable to bloggers and authors alike. Enjoy!
8 Uncommon Habits That Make You A More Professional Writer
We may all write the same content and even the same topic, but what separates us from others is the approach we use to convey that message. What makes a writer good at his work has a lot to do with how they express themselves and very little with what they are expressing. Most of the topics you are going to read about have been written. They are already out there. All you are needed to do is say it differently. To do this, you are going to need to bring out that unique feature every writer is blessed with—that special thing that makes you the right person for task.
The number of years in the industry do account for a certain level of maturity in writing skills but let that not put you off. New, amateur writers have quickly turned into professional writers by paying close attention to the little things that most writers ignore or find frivolous.
Believe in what you are writing
This bears repeating. You cannot expect your reader to believe what you are saying if your article itself does not sound genuine. Understand why you are writing and then with conviction, sit down and start penning it down. Your writing needs to portray an expression of sincerity and honesty that is woven in every word of your writing. Such that the readers can feel that what they are being told is the truth that you believe.
Have a desire to serve
Your writing may reveal a lot about your personality. And sometimes you might find yourself caught up in sharpening and harnessing your writing simply to convey your personality instead of providing what the audience needs. A willingness to serve the audience, the readers should be the center of your writing. Dedicate more time understanding them and designing content that meet their expectation. You will find that eventually, by putting your audience before your vanity, your personality will still be created in even ways you did not even imagine. Putting your audience first is almost always a very rewarding thing to do.
Practice makes perfect
This cannot be emphasized enough. You want to get better at using parts of speech evenly in your writing, then the old traditional motto still stands unrivalled. Practice makes perfect. You will not wake up one day with the mind of a writer and the hands of a typist. No. You will need to gradually, step-by-step nurture the skills. It will take time, but the effort you invest over this time will prove to be of incalculable value.
Read, read and read some more
You want to be able to relay messages clearly and eloquently, then research on the things that feed the skills of elocution in writing. Watch and read how to they achieve their goals in ensuring that the message is received in its intended meaning without any elements of its organized being misconstrued. Professional writers take the time to read, explore and discover new horizons. They do not get comfortable at any level because their writing pushes them to seek more.
Use tools to simplify
You do not want to saturate your brain by reading everything at once or overload your computer with files of webpages you saw online but could not find the time to read. Use productivity tools such as evernote or mypocket or google+ or dropbox to help manage your space better. The cloud has a lot to offer these days and you do not even need to buy these external storage devices which often get misplaced and hinder further progress at the time you need it most.
Make time for family and friends
Writing, as we know it, is probably the one profession that will eventually alienate you from people if you let it. Professional writers seek support from the circle of friends by keeping in touch with them regularly. By doing this, their minds get to take a break from all the loneliness they experienced in their writing world. This time away from writing can be just the ingredient you need to refresh your thinking for your next writing gig.
Do not be afraid of trying out new styles or writing approaches. Be brave and take that insanely crazy idea on your mind and put it on paper. You might be surprised at how it will be received. Yes, it might invite oodles of criticisms. Or it might just be the next cool thing. The only way to find out is to give it a go.
Keep it simple
You do not want to take your audience off course with jargon and difficult vocabulary. Also you do not want to shorten your sentences such that the meaning gets hidden so deep, a reader has to read it six times to get it. Simple is the new professional.
Professional writers carve out a niche and a place for themselves because they are not afraid of being uncommon or going off the road of normality. They are not afraid of shading outside the lines. This is what makes their writing thrive.
Thanks for hosting this great post with Veronica. Lots of good info here and I’m sure one of the hardest things to master is finding time for our personal lives. I know you have mentioned this a few times in your posts about your lovely wife. 🙂
I have, and the poor thing has be a tremendous – if occasionally under-appreciated – help! 🙂
Time to start showing some love, lol. 🙂
You’re right. I’ll head over and give her a big kiss right now 🙂
Great tips! Simple enough to remember and adapt.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Reblogged this on Amanda's Nose in a Book and commented:
I love the “do not overload yourself” tip. How many pages do we not have bookmarked? How many browser windows do we have open all at once?
Please stop staring at me. I need all those 1,863 tabs to be open, I swear 😀
Reblogged this on chrismcmullen and commented:
Do you have these habits? Could you? Should you? Would you?
All are very good points, but I think the most important one is to make time for friends and family. There is another world beyond the computer.
There is?? Huh! 😀
Reblogged this on Poetry by Pamela.
Be adventurous! Yes! So many times I have read something that broke with convention and thought, “Wow, that was really great, unique, original.” I think it’s what separates average from outstanding.
Hear, hear! 🙂
Veronica described a writer perfectly: “What makes a writer good at his work has a lot to do with how they express themselves and very little with what they are expressing.” And her points are things an aspiring writer should take to heart.
Thanks, Dannie! 🙂
Good points. I like the keep it simple reminder. I always forget that one.Good post
Thanks, John! 🙂
Excellent points. Admittedly, I don’t make enough time for friends as I should. I’m on a mission, and my mind is focused on that and my family. But I do have plans to rectify that once the warm weather gets here… hopefully… maybe… depends… no, I will… I think. 🙂
You sound like me 😀
That first one is definitely a biggie. As for the family one, I guess it’s important. Honestly they keep coming after me while I write anyway so it seems inevitable. 🙂
I agree with Connie, believing in what you write is very important, because that’s the one thing that will keep you at it even when things don’t go the way you want.
And making space for family and friends. Sometimes I have to remind this one to myself, not because I don’t want to or I forget, but because there seems to be so little time to dedicate to my writing, that I tend to take up any occasion.
It’s a common problem, believe me 🙂
I like several of her tips, but believing in what you write and having a desire to serve are two of the most important ones to my mind. Of course, making time for family and friends is perhaps the most important tip!
It’s so hard to balance everything!