Any writer can learn to be more daring in their process and practice. The best way to sharpen your writing skills is to face your fears about writing and overcome them to create more daring work!
When I was starting out as a writer, I’d always start by writing what I thought was good. It’s not that I didn’t know how to get better—I just didn’t think about it much. After writing for years and spending hundreds (and then thousands) of hours at my desk trying to be the best writer possible, I’ve learned a lot about how to turn my ideas into words on the page. Here are some tips from my experience:
Embrace the fact that your first drafts will be bad
When you write a first draft, you should be thinking about getting the ideas out of your head and onto the page. You should not worry about spelling, grammar or sentence structure. You should not worry about word choice or style. In fact, it’s best if you don’t even think about structure! Just get down everything that comes to mind in whatever order it comes out – even if it’s all over the place – because that’s what your readers want: for their brains to be stimulated by new ideas and images instead of being bored with rehashed concepts from other books they’ve read before.
Challenge yourself to write in a new way
It can be a challenge to write in a different genre, style, format or voice than you usually do. It’s easy to be comfortable with what you’re used to doing because it feels familiar and safe. But if you’re looking for inspiration and want to push yourself as a writer, try writing something out of your comfort zone!
Here are some ideas:
- Write in a new location—maybe at the park instead of at home? Or maybe set up camp somewhere else?
- Write about things that aren’t in your experience—another country or era? A different person’s life? An animal’s perspective? Use this opportunity as an excuse to learn something new!
Get rid of your crutch—the word or phrase you love using, but don’t need
As a writer, it’s your job to use the right words. If you find yourself using filler words or phrases that don’t add anything to the meaning of what you’re writing, get rid of them! Don’t be afraid to cut words or phrases that are not contributing to the meaning of your writing.
Don’t be afraid to delete whole paragraphs or even sections if they don’t contribute anything useful. If they do contribute something useful but could be said more succinctly, rewrite them so they do so more efficiently and effectively.
Don’t be afraid to delete whole pages if they contain information that isn’t necessary for understanding or enjoying your piece. When evaluating whether a page should stay in or out, ask yourself: “Is there information on this page that I need? Is there information here I can still cut without losing any important plot points? What does this page add overall? Is there another place where some of these ideas would fit better? Do I really need all this extra research material included here at all?”
Write “bad” scenes, then make them better
We all have our own writing process and style, but this tip always works for me: Write a scene that you think is not good, and then write it again as you think it should be written. Not only will this get your creative juices flowing and help you figure out how to fix the scene, but it also allows you to learn more about your writing process and style—and even learn more about your characters.
This is a great exercise for writers who are still learning the craft of writing.
Stop worrying about what other people will think
When you’re writing, don’t think about what other people will think. You should be focused on writing the best piece you can and putting your heart into it. After all, that’s what makes a good writer!
It’s always easy to get nervous about your work being criticized or rejected by others, but remember: no one knows as much about your writing than you do. The only person who can tell if it’s good or not is you! So stop worrying so much and focus on how great it feels when someone tells you they love something that came from inside the deepest parts of yourself.
Find something that inspires you
To be a daring writer, you have to find something that inspires you. What does it make you feel? How does it make you want to write?
You know the feeling… the one where you think “I can’t wait to share this with everyone!” You have that feeling because something in your life is making an impact on who you are and how you see things. It might be an experience or a person or even just a place—but whatever it is, if this thing excites or moves or inspires or intrigues/challenges/confuses/scares/shocks (etc.) someone else enough for them to want to read about it, then we call that inspiration.
Read your writing out loud
This is more than just proofreading; it’s about listening to yourself and finding out whether your writing makes sense. It will help you find mistakes, improve your writing style (by eliminating unnecessary words), and figure out where you’ve been unclear. If you are working on a book, this is a great way to get a feel for how the book will sound when read aloud.
Make sure you have enough time and energy to write
You need to make sure that you have the right attitude, mindset and attitude before you even begin writing. If your mind is not ready for it, then there is no point in forcing yourself to do something which will be difficult for you at that moment. You may end up writing something which does not sound good or looks nice at all. So, take these tips seriously and make sure that everything goes well with your creativity process.
Be brutal with your ideas
Be prepared to throw out anything that doesn’t work and be ruthless with your ideas. Don’t be afraid to throw out ideas that you have worked hard on.
Do you have a favorite character in your novel? A splendid scene that’s been playing out in your mind for months? Or some clever twist on the ending that you’re just dying to write?
Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings. Even if you feel like you have spent a lot of time on them and they are “good enough” as they are. This is a tip I’ve heard many times from writers, but it bears repeating: if an idea isn’t working, don’t be afraid to kill it. If the plot isn’t going where you want it to go or if the tone of the story is off, cut out anything that doesn’t contribute directly towards moving forward with your project and/or making sure that what remains works as well as possible.
Even if an idea seems good at first blush, chances are high there’s something better waiting around the corner if you’re willing to do some pruning and experimentation — and sometimes doing so means letting go of ideas even when they seem like they would be fun or interesting or cool. You will never regret leaving something behind because it didn’t work; instead, all those discarded ideas can serve as inspiration for future projects.
Get a friend who will give you constructive feedback
A good writer and a reader are two different things, and it’s important to understand where to draw the line between them. You want someone who can see what works in your writing and point out places where it doesn’t work. If the person giving feedback is too close to you, they might have trouble being honest with what they see as flaws in your work (especially if they’re not used to reading or writing professionally). On the other hand, if this person has no experience working with words at all, then their opinion won’t be helpful either because they don’t know what should be there instead!
The best way around this problem is by getting a friend who is both experienced in reading/writing professionally—and also willing enough to give constructive criticism when needed! This way nothing gets lost in translation between you two while still getting valuable input on how to better improve yourself.
The best way to sharpen your writing skills is to face your fears about writing and overcome them to create more daring work!
The more you write, the better you will become. The more you write, the more you will learn. The more you write, the more you will improve.
Being a daring writer is about more than just having ideas. It means facing your fears and making the time to turn those ideas into something real—no matter what others think or how poorly they might have gone in the past. So if you want to be a more daring writer, start by choosing one of these ten tips and putting them into practice today!