New writers are full of insecurities. They assume “professional” authors are something special. They think popular writers have a “secret” to writing. Or they believe there’s a “formula” that only top writers know. They watch endless numbers of YouTube videos by experienced authors. And they read article after article trying to figure out how to be a successful writer.
And there are writer courses that feed on these insecurities. The authors use terms like “masterclass”, “ultimate”, and “secrets”. Some offer a 5-day free course. Others charge from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. Some courses will even teach you how to write a writing course. All of the courses stress one thing: “we have the secret and if you pay us, we’ll share it with you.”
It’s ok to feel insecure but you will get over it
“Sometimes our thoughts are backed with so much insecurity that they create lies we believe.” -Unknown
Taking a single thought and then having the audacity to share it with the world is intimidating. Voices in our minds say, “What do you know about it?” “Who cares what you think?” “You’re not a writer, you’re a fraud.”
I know you hear these voices because I hear them too. I also know that you want to be the best writer possible. You want your words to resonate with your readers. Instead of listening to the voices in your head, you need to know a few things.
Even experienced writers feel insecure
Professional writers have learned to write through their insecurities. They know by experience that they will write stories that people want to read. But new writers don’t have the background of having written hundreds or thousands of articles.
So writing every day is vital for anyone who wants to be an influential writer. Read about any of the popular writers and they will mention that they write a lot. Some produce 1 or more stories every day. They don’t allow their minds to rest because they are always working or thinking about the next story they want to write.
I’m not knocking writing courses. For some people who feel a beginner’s insecurity, even a free writing course is good support. But if you think a writing course will give you the secrets to make you a brilliant writer, they won’t. There are no secrets.
If you want to be the best writer you can be, here are some tips for the writing craft. Practice these tips for a few months, and you’ll be amazed at the transformation in your writing.
Write every day. For new writers, there is no Saturday or Sunday. You may not send out a story every day for publication, but you will write something every day.
Study the craft of writing every day. Like any skill from janitor to brain surgeon, there is always something more to learn. When first starting out as a writer, you need to perfect your technical knowledge. You need to master the basics of sentence structure, punctuation, and grammar. Once you know the rules, you can then break them when needed. Until then, study until you know the elementals of writing.
Read every day. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, reading every day will refine your writing. When reading a book, listen to the cadence of the writing. How does the author use sentences? Are they all the same length or are they a mix of short and long? Tip: mixed sentence lengths make a story flow. Look at how the author turned a phrase to make it interesting. Pay attention to the actual words. Are the words hard — The horse clopped down the street. Or are the words soft — The horse’s tail whispered against the tall grass. Reading is more valuable than any writing course.
Do these 3 things and you’ll get comfortable in your own skin as a writer.
Now, get writing.