Let me start by admitting that I do not read enough. However, I often read articles posted by other bloggers. From time to time, I also read poems written by other writers, and pieces that may be shared with me personally, or posted on other blogs not owned by the writer.
To a lesser extent, from time to time I would read books. Let me say that I am better at reading shorter articles, maybe 2 to 5 pages. It is more of a challenge for me to read an entire book from front cover to back cover.
The point is, I read and lately, in the last year, or so, the content I am reading are from local writers. One of my observations as I read, is that there are too many grammatical errors, too many displaced words and too many pieces that does not seem to have a central theme. Mind you, I critique my work often.
So here are some practical tips for all of us, some have been shared with us before, by Presenters at our October 13th Event:
- Read often! If you want to improve your quality of writing, it is not enough just to have something to say. or to be passionate about saying, it even if you believe it came directly from God. It needs to be written properly and one way you can improve your writing quality is to read. Read properly written articles. Articles written by universities or well known producers like “Time Magazine”, “Forbes” and “Business Week”. Read books produced by well established Christian Writers or organisations eg: Focus on the Family, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Myer and many more. Read! Read! Read! Read poems, read commentaries, read varied types of pieces.
- When you write, remember not to focus on getting your grammar write on the first draft, just write freely, capturing your thoughts as they flow. After you have done that, leave it for a few minutes then go back and edit. This process can be repeated as often as necessary but you may want to edit at least three times. The larger your content, the more you should edit. As a back up, to ensuring your editing is thorough, ask someone to edit your work as well. In other words, invite feedback from others.
- Always keep your reading audience in mind and be sure to write to communicate. Readers should not be confused after reading your article; I see this many times in poetry. Notwithstanding that some poems are designed to make you think and develop your vocabulary, it is important for you as the Writer to remember that you are not writing to yourself but to someone else who is not carrying your brain. Your language needs to make sense.
- Do not use words if you are unsure of their meanings. Study and understand the meanings first and once you are convinced that it is the right word to use within the context you are writing, go right ahead.
- When you are writing, seek to have a central theme. For example if you are writing about “The Wind”, focus on the wind, don’t stray and begin to speak about “The Snow”, unless each stanza is speaking about a different aspect of the Weather. If you are writing a book about “Forgiveness”, try not to create confusion about your focus. All your examples, illustrations and sub topics should connect to “Forgiveness”.
- Read articles that would help you to develop your writing. Take advantage of the teachers in your family or in your circle or those who have a very good command on the English Language and ask them questions.
- Finally, spend lots of time with the one who gave you the gift, the ability and the desire. Spend time with God, discover and rediscover who He is and who he wants you to be. If you don’t, you would find your writing is shallow and ordinary and lacks spiritual foundation. Even if you are writing a fictional piece, somewhere, somehow, your beliefs would seep through. For a believer, every aspect of our lives should be governed and directed by God himself.
That’s all for now. All we need is a few practical reminders to keep us focused.
Do you have a tip to share with us? Please do in the comment box below.
Have a wonderful writing journey!!