I have been writing poems and other works of literature since I was 11 years old—maybe even before that. I am not trying to boast, but I am pointing to the reality of how long it takes to write well—to simply write well. I did not feel I was writing worth being read until after composing over 2000 poems, and even then I constantly edited my work to make it better.
Don’t expect to write well in the first year, or even five. Expect it take at least 10 years of writing daily to attain a standard in which you can regularly get published by magazines, journals, newspapers, and book anthologies. Some writers may be more talented than others—but that matters little. The main element of success in writing is doing it every day for many years together—as I said earlier, my guess is 10 years of writing is a standard to be a publishable author.
Learning to be a better writer happens in layers. You will almost always find something wrong with your writing, but what is wrong with your writing becomes more subtle over time. At first the lower level concerns of writing, such as grammar, spelling, and phrasing, will have to be addressed. But years into writing as a daily practice, the tone, style, and diction you use will be of a greater concern.
If you stop writing daily for even a month, you will notice a sizable difference in your content. And remember, editing is not writing. Writing is the act of writing—not tweaking your work. Editing is important in order to make the quality of your writing rise, but one should write every day including a bit of editing.
That is the only real advice one can give to a writer: write every day, edit every day, and read every day. The rest of the tips and hints are usually subjective. Being a writer is one of those professionals that are commonly learned through practice rather than sitting in stuffy classrooms.
Working on your writing daily will also allow you to see where your weaknesses are in the act of composition. This is because you only know so much vocabulary, so much about history (and other subjects), so much about literary devices, and so on. By writing a vast quantity of words every day, you will be able to see your limitations as a writer.
So go ahead: be persistent and don’t miss a day of working on your writing in order to be a successful writer.
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