A small business owner once told me, “I’m writing for my blog. But I’m not a writer and I don’t feel comfortable writing. Can you suggest what I can do to make writing easier?”
For those of you who are not writers (and even if you are), I have two techniques that will definitely make it easier for you to write.
Read a Book on Writing
Because you can listen to books, the following technique is something you can do while exercising or driving around in your car.
Reading a book on writing will inspire you to write well in the same way a motivational speaker inspires you to live your dreams.
William Zinsser’s classic, On Writing Well, is a book that inspires me. Zinsser is one of those remarkable teachers who helps you find your inner writer.
The Sixth Edition begins with a success story: A commercial sign painter wanted to start a newsletter for sign shop owners. But he never went to college and didn’t know how to write. So the local bookstore owner recommended On Writing Well. That newsletter then became the successful magazine SignCraft.
Copy Someone Else’s Writing
Art students often study another artist’s work by copying it. They don’t copy to imitate, though. They copy to learn the master’s technique.
For writer’s, copying to learn is called copywork.
This is how Victor Villaseñor taught himself how to write. He’s the Oceanside author of Rain of Gold and Burro Genius.
He’s also extremely dyslexic. When he was growing up, teachers didn’t know about dyslexia. So they labeled him dumb and then abused him.
But all that abuse didn’t stop Villaseñor from wanting to become a writer. So he taught himself how to read and write by copying the work of great writers.
Many other writers improved their writing with copywork to improve their writing, including Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack London. If these famous writers can do it, so can you.
First, find a piece of writing you admire. Then copy it by hand.
Yes, you must do this exercise by writing with pen or pencil on paper. When you transcribe someone’s work by typing, you’re only matching patterns.
When you write by hand, you are exercising your muscles—from your hand to your brain. In this way you learn (and feel) how a writer uses words and grammar to create sentences and paragraphs.
Second, once you’re done copying, you’re done with the paper.
Your subconscious then processes what you learned. So the next time you have to write something, it will be easier for you to write.
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