1. Write. Yes. You’ve heard it before; still it’s the key to writing better. The more you write, the more you become one with your inner voice, the voice your readers hear. Write something every day: a poem, a paragraph, some dialogue. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Just write to practice using and refining that inner voice.
2. Read. Think about what you want to write. Then read books in those genres. Choose books that sell well. As you read, think about things like: What makes the writer’s style appealing to readers? Can I, would I want to, incorporate elements of that style into my own writing? What made this book a bestseller? Reading from the perspective of a writer and recognizing what makes a bestseller will help you hone your craft.
3. Learn. Knowledge of publishing trends and news can give writers an edge in marketing their books to agents or editors. Successful writers stay well informed by reading articles in trade journals, newspapers, and on websites. I begin my day by Googling “writing” or “writers” to check news posts for the past 24 hours. This usually leads to interesting articles about writing that I can share with readers on my Facebook business page. I also read web sites like “Publishing Trends.”
These last two take no time at all! They only require that you live life fully.
4. Observe. Look at life with a writer’s eyes. As you go about your day, observe how the setting changes. Think of everyone you see as a potential character in a book. Listen to conversations and sounds, and examine your environment with all your senses. Learn to connect words to everything you observe, and train your mind to ferret away tiny details the average person might miss. When you do this, you build a subconscious wealth of material that will emerge as you write.
5. Have faith. This is the most important thing on the list. For me, it means faith in God and faith in myself to use His gifts to the best of my ability. When my writing doesn’t go well, I have faith that a new day, or even the next hour, brings a second chance at writing better. Every writer should stay connected to faith all day long. It’s what allows us to persevere.