Successful writers share a few traits. The most important among them are devotion to work and patience. As the saying goes, genius is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration. Yes, the 99 per cent is your effort. So how can you not become a writer if you were to set your mind on it?
This highly effective 4-week course diligently combines the most effective practices of several brilliant writers. The course is intended for prose writers, but some parts of it will be useful for even poets and playwrights.
The first week is for laying the foundation for your writing skills. Nothing fancy about this as you begin with some easy tasks that polish the skills that a writer needs. Here is what you do in this week.
Do Some Free Writing
The first week is devoted to getting into the habit of writing. The exercise will help you get over the writer’s block and keep it at bay forever. You do it twice daily for 15 minutes at a time. There are not many rules to this verbal doodling. You write non-stop for a predetermined time, say 15 minutes, without pausing to think. You have to start with the first thought that comes to you and keep typing. Do not hurry but do not dawdle. Let your mind meander and take you wherever it pleases. Do not worry about the sentence structure, aptness of the words, grammar, the flow of thought, logic of expression, style or even spelling. The cardinal rule is that you must keep writing without a pause.
Mantain a Dream Journal
The dreams and even the thoughts that float around your mind in the twilight of waking up have the flavour of creativity. You must capture them in words, however irrelevant or ridiculous they might appear.
Meditation fine-tunes your mental focus. It also unlocks unseen chambers of creativity. You can start meditating for a short while in the beginning, maybe five minutes. You can later increase this. Meditation will help calm your mind. It will discipline your thoughts and help control emotions. There are different kinds of meditation and you can choose the best that suits you.
Brainstorm for Ideas
A good practice to cultivate, brainstorming helps to make your mind free of clutter and gives your thoughts clarity. A lack of clarity can kill off a great idea. You can choose the topic you want to write on and jot down the points. Brainstorming will make it natural for you to think outside the box and stimulate the creative process.
You will continue all of what you were doing in the first week. As time goes by, you will find that translating an idea into apt words comes more naturally to you. You also have developed the habit of looking at issues creatively. Your free-writing practice now gives you more confidence and sentences begin to form logically. You continue by doing the following in this week.
Journaling lets you recollect everything that happened to you during the day. Unlike free writing, this is purposeful. This naturally has to be before bedtime. You will write down the day’s events in as much detail as possible. But you will not think too hard. You will note down only what comes to your mind without having to pause for thought or struggle for recollection. You can fix the duration as half an hour or 45 minutes.
Create an Outline
As you have become fluent in writing, storytelling, recollecting, and narrating, you need to begin creating a framework for your writing. The framework or outline is an efficient way to express yourself. You can choose a topic and outline the sections that you need to create. The outline gives you a perspective. The perspective can elevate a work several notches. You will create one outline every day on different topics of choice.
Get Going on Grammar
A good writing, of course, has good grammar. So make it a point to brush up your grammar, even if it makes a strong demand on your time. A good grasp of grammar will let you develop a style of your own without sounding inept.
You will be doing all that you began in week one and two in the third week. You will be free writing twice daily, journaling once, creating outlines, and practising you grammar through the third week. As you have a good outline, you will add the following to the routine in Week 3.
Begin Serious Writing
Now is the time to bring in some flexibility to your writing. You should begin writing well-formed articles this week, even while you stick to your routine of other tasks. One piece per day is a good idea irrespective of the number of words. You can pick up any idea for which you have formed an outline and start working. Practice makes you perfect.
Follow the Socratic Method
This is a role-playing exercise. It will be a conversation with an imaginary rival. You argue your points about the topic by bringing up the positives, negatives, and neutral aspects. The habit of self-debating important topics will help you cover all viewpoints on a topic and choose the most logical and appealing.
No good writer can ignore the role of wide and deep reading in developing the art. Children are usually encouraged to develop the habit of reading early in life. But in this age of gadgets, it is hard keeping that habit going. If you fancy becoming a good writer, you need wide reading, else, you will soon run out of ideas. Your writing risks becoming repetitive or stale and your style stagnant. Therefore, you must read whenever you get free time.
This is what you follow in the final week.
Begin Proofreading, Editing, and Finalizing
You will frequently meet people who claim to be writers saying proofreading or editing is not their cup of tea. All great writers proofread their works and repeatedly edit them before publishing. That makes a good writing a great one.
You must also line edit your work so that you can eliminate the obvious errors and inconsistencies. The idea behind moving a work in as much finished condition as possible is to give the line editors something to which they can add value. Line editors have some special skills. It will be a waste of their abilities if they were to pick their way through a clutter of obvious mistakes.
By the fourth week, you would notice that your attention had shifted to the details from the broad aspects of writing.
Publish and Be Happy
Now you enter the fifth week. Your writing block is gone. You are mentally sharper than before. You are full of creative energy and ideas keep coming to you. You keep capturing them in your scribbling pad. You are meticulous and diligent.
So, what is keeping you from becoming a professional-quality writer?
Go ahead and do it. Happy Writing, folks!