Hacks won’t make you a great writer

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The net is filled with writing tips, “hacks” in the language of the day, and it’s easy to think they’ll make you a great writer. They won’t.

There’s no magic. There are no magic tips, no magic tricks, no magic wands, no magic incantations, no magic anything that will make you a great writer.

You can learn to write much than you write today. You can become the best writer you can be. But there are no shortcuts. You follow the process that everybody else follows who learns to write well.

Read A Lot of Good Stuff

It’s hard to write well if you haven’t got a good idea what great writing looks like, sounds like, and feels like. You need a mental model of excellence to attain it.

Just reading a lot won’t do it, either. There’s a lot of awful writing out there and it can lead you astray. Read as much great writing as you can. Stuff your head with excellence.

Write A Lot and Try to Make It Good

There’s no way to learn to write well without writing. Reading books about how to write well won’t do it. Thinking about writing won’t do it. Researching for your book won’t do it. Outlining, mind mapping, and storyboarding won’t do it, either. You must write.

Not only that, try to write well. Pay attention. Rewrite and revise. It’s hard work. But everything worthwhile you’ve ever achieved has been hard work.

Get as Much Quality Feedback as You Can

This is hard, too. Submitting your writing for feedback is like baring your soul and inviting people to stick pins in it. It hurts.

Seek feedback that will help you get better. To get better, you must know what’s wrong. Try to find sources of feedback and writing coaches with a gentle hand.

You Must Do This Over and Over for A Long Time

The journey to excellent writing is long. There’s no finish line. One of the great things about writing is that you never get to the day where you can say, “I’ve gotten as good as I can, I can’t get any better.” You can always get better.

Bottom Line

Becoming the best writer you can be won’t be quick and it won’t be easy. That’s okay, because it’s very rewarding.

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