5 Unconventional Tips for Raising Your Writing Game
If you feel that you’re stuck in a rut when it comes to your writing game, and the conventional ways for improving your writing skills isn’t enough, you might want to break away from the norm and try these 5 unconventional tips for raising your writing game:
1. Read things that you wouldn’t otherwise read
If you keep reading only what’s familiar, or what is in your comfort zone, you will never be exposed to writing styles and formats that challenge you. Try to pick up that book you’ve never read because it’s too risqué, or pick up a tabloid and read all the articles that used to be beneath you. You’re not likely to start aping the new writing style, but it will give you a fresh new perspective and might show you things that you never thought possible.
2. Take a break from writing
There are times when you simply need a break from writing. If you’ve been writing non-stop – especially if it’s the same thing over and over again – you may develop a feeling that you’re spinning your wheels in the mud. There are people who can pump out text day in and day out without feeling bored or skipping a beat, but they’re the exception to the rule. Chances are you don’t belong to the same group and will need to go out and do something else in order to actually get unstuck.
3. Go out and take notes
Pick a nice spot at a café, or at the mall and just watch people as they pass. Observe people and write them down. It will help you develop your attention to detail and will help a ton when writing exposition. Alternatively, you can have fun and just invent backstories for people that pass you by. However, you should be careful when doing this. Try to make it look like you’re simply jotting down some notes – you don’t want to look like a stalker.
4. Review things online
Amazon, IMDB, eBay, even random forums all over the web provide writers a venue where they can write feedback or user reviews. Do this during your free time or when you’re bored. Airing out your opinion on works that are not your own might not be cathartic but it will help you bring expectations on what you really want to see in your own work. Additionally, you’re doing this by writing so you’re still using the basic skill that comes with your chosen profession.
5. Give yourself a ridiculously difficult writing challenge
Most of the time, people fail to progress because they’re always stuck in the comfort zone. There are times when people need to be brought to their limits in order to eke out as much improvement as possible. Try to challenge yourself with tasks that you would not otherwise try due to extreme difficulty, like writing a decent story with ten thousand words in a day, read 20 novels in a week, draft your first erotic novel, etc. It doesn’t matter if you can’t be successful in it, you’re not meant to. You just need to be pushed as far as your skills will take you.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in December 2014.