My writing has not improved markedly since starting this blog. I use the same simple sentence structures. My use of phrasing and rhythm has made no leaps and bounds. My vocabulary is much the same as when I started.
So on reflection, one of the aims of this blog, to write daily to improve my writing has not come to fruition.
Other aims have. I’ve kept up a daily habit, I’ve jotted some thoughts and reflections down or shared memorable quotes and information I’ve been reading and learning.
To improve my writing, I need to imitate others’ words. I could take a well-written paragraph or passage and analyse why I think it is good and then write a similar passage, using the same structure but different content.
Another way to improve my writing is to undertake deliberative practice. This means to understand the weaknesses in my writing, and then to develop and undertake exercises that specifically target those weaknesses, and collect feedback on how I am going and where to improve.
I also have averaged around 100 words per post for the last 500 or so posts. That’s only 50,000. If I was writing 500 words a day, that would be 250,000 words. So I think I need to devote more time to writing.
From today onwards, my goal will be to reach at least 250 words for each post. That means that in a year, 365 days, I will have written 91,000 words or thereabouts – about the length of a PhD thesis.
If I am serious about improving my writing, then I need to be honest about how best to improve and then make it a daily habit.
Other practices to try: write in the early morning. Concentrate on writing quantity, not quality. Identify writing exercises; such as practise describing a vivid landscape or a dialogue overheard between two people or a scene of movement or action. Practise explaining a concept as if to somebody with no background knowledge in the subject. Write short stories. What are other ways to target my writing?
“…he filled [them] with various writing exercises he invented for himself in order to stay sharp, dig down and the to get better…
…descriptions of physical objects, landscapes, morning skies, human faces, animals, the effect of light on snow, the sound of rain on glass, the smell of burning wood, the sensation of walking through fog or listening to wind blow through the branches of trees…
…monologues in the voices of other people in order to become those other people or at least to try to understand them better…
…imitations of admired, demanding, inimitable writers from the past (take a paragraph from Hawthorne, for the sample, and compose something based on his syntactical model, using a verb wherever he used a verb, a noun wherever he used a noun, and adjective wherever he used an adjective – in order to feel the rhythms in your bones, to feel how the music was made…
…impetuous jags of automatic writing to clear [your] brain when stuck, as with a four-page scribble-gush…”
Source: Paul Auster, 4 3 2 1