Learning How To Write Well

Learning to write wellIt takes time to learn how to write well

Writing is a bit like cooking. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

If I think back to my first attempts at writing, oh, and my first attempts at cooking, I can look back and laugh until my sides split.

While writing seems to many like such a natural thing to do, many miss the fact that it takes a long time to understand what good writing is all about and to be able to write well.

I admit to being a very slow learner, so it took me a few books to understand that writing is not about writing a series of nicely spelt words and sentences with impeccable grammar – though it helps.

What I discovered was that writing is all about readers. Similar in fact to cooking. You can cook to feed, or you can cook to wow your dinner table guests.

When I started writing, I was getting stuff out of my head and laying it down onto the pages of a book.

Cathartic yes, but readable?

Well, my mother quite liked it. What I didn’t think about was how readers would react, and more importantly, I wasn’t thinking at all about giving them value.

Yes, I could feed my dinner guests fish and chips, but they were expecting something more refined for a Saturday night sit down dinner. Similarly for my readers.

What readers want is the same. A book that has engaging characters, a plot that develops and surprises and that intangible element of leaving a memory in their head that stays long after the book has been read.

Not an easy recipe, but then again learning takes time. Whether it be in the kitchen or at the keyboard.

So for sure be proud of any book you have written, but it’s worth having the mindset that it’s not as good as your next book will be.

Never stop aiming to write well, and better.


Further Reading: How to write a book and stay focused.


Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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