If there’s one piece of writing advice writers agree on, it’s that writing regularly improves your writing, boosting your writing career in return.
But don’t let this scare you. Writing regularly doesn’t have to mean 1000 or 2000 words every day. Whatever you can manage is fine. If you need to take a couple of days off to rest and feel refreshed, that’s okay too.
The idea is to get as much writing done as possible. Develop a routine that works for you. J.P. Choquette wrote her novel using 15-minute blocks. Copyblogger’s Brian Clark has a great post called 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer where all 10 steps include writing.
There are days I write 5000 words. There are days I barely manage 50. However, it’s rare that I’m not writing at all. If I’m not, I’m either working on other writing tasks, reading about writing or suffering from a physical condition that requires me to “cheat” with a speech-to-text software.
I’ve been writing regularly for years, and I keep improving in so many ways. So let’s take a look at the positive outcomes of writing regularly:
It refreshes your knowledge of grammar, punctuation and style, making you a more efficient proofreader.
Let’s face it: using English correctly while being entertaining can turn into an ordeal. Sure, as bloggers, we are allowed to break some rules and conventions here and there. And we are expected (thankfully!) to be friendly and informal.
But consciously committing writing sins, aka doing stuff that would make your old-fashioned English teachers frown big time, is different than ignoring or not knowing your basics.
That said, not everyone has a great command or memory of all punctuation rules. Yeah, it’s common sense to put a period at the end of a sentence or finish a question with a question mark, but what about the trickier stuff like hyphens and dashes?
For instance, a lot of people misuse the semicolon. Some are downright afraid of it, which has even inspired grammar comics. Speaking of grammar comics, Matthew Inman’s The Oatmeal is one fun and free way to refresh your knowledge. Two other great and more comprehensive resources are GrammarGirl and GrammarBook.
The point is, the more you write, the easier and more instinctive rules become. You might occasionally have to do some studying to remind yourself of some stuff, but after a while it becomes automatic. It helps your proofreading process as well, preventing you from submitting queries or articles riddled with errors.
It teaches you to become a better editor.
We talked about proofreading. Now let’s talk about editing: cutting the irrelevant, unnecessary or boring stuff, choosing the right words, formatting, and so on.
As you write more (and of course reading a lot helps with this too), you’ll develop an eye on what flows better. Editing will become a part of the fun, as opposed to a chore. You’ll also catch your mistakes or the unsatisfactory parts faster.
It increases your writing speed.
Because you’ll finish your drafts and editing faster, you’ll get more writing done in a shorter time. You can use that extra time for relaxation, marketing, learning about the craft, or writing more.
Deadlines don’t freak you out.
Many unforeseen things can happen in addition to your daily hurdles. After all, a lot of freelance writers have other responsibilities, issues, and social lives to manage.
And while you’re advised to take on projects with deadlines you are certain you can meet, knowing you can get the writing out of the way faster will give you confidence, comfort, and the chance to take on more gigs.
Finding ideas becomes a blast.
Clients and editors usually depend on you to pitch ideas, so easily finding sellable ideas means more income and a better portfolio.
But even the best of us can occasionally feel blocked, so below are some posts to help with your brainstorming efforts:
You can increase your rates and find better clients.
You write well, and you write fast. You find the time to update your blog (if you have one) regularly, and you get bylines from great publications (online, offline or both).
What client wouldn’t want you?
You can work on your dream projects.
You’ll finally have the time to start developing that e-course or plotting that novel you’ve always wanted. Most writers have dream projects they put on hold due to lack of time and other resources. Writing faster (and better) will help you accomplish this goal as well.
What about you? In what ways writing regularly has improved your writing career?