By John Turner, founder of SeedProd, a popular coming-soon page solution used by over 800,000 websites.
Creative writing is an excellent way to express yourself and stretch the limits of your imagination. In some cases, it might involve composing an email to a colleague. In other instances, it could mean drafting a captivating blog post for your website.
It doesn’t matter if you want to become a top-tier blogger, an award-winning author or simply a better communicator—creative writing can help you hone your skills. In my case, it is paramount to my success as a business leader. I have to flex my creativity when I’m writing company emails, reaching out to partners and connecting with new prospects. I’ve found the ability to think outside the box has led to long-term benefits, such as greater self-confidence, both professionally and personally.
Here are five actionable strategies I’ve used that can help you take your creative writing skills to the next level:
If you want to become a better writer, you should first find more time to read. Reading other people’s work allows you to experience different writing styles, tones and formats. Consuming creative content can also expand your vocabulary, improve your comprehension and help you fine-tune your sentence structure.
I suggest creating a running list of things you would like to read. Next, set a 20-minute time block every day where you’re committed to sitting down and reading. Since my schedule is usually jam-packed, this time management strategy has helped me stay on track, even during hectic months.
Work through the list at a reasonable pace, and there’s a good chance you’ll see your creative writing skills bloom.
Practice writing every day.
Once you get into the habit of reading daily, take an extra 10 to 20 minutes to practice writing. Like most skills, writing improves over time. The more time you spend brainstorming and writing down your thoughts and ideas in vivid detail, the better you’ll become.
Everyone has a different writing medium they prefer. Some people like traditional diaries, others have turned to digital journals, while others use public forums like social media to express themselves creatively. Experiment with these options, and you’ll likely start to find writing easier and more engaging.
If you’re not sure where to start, I suggest writing about things you’re passionate about, even if it’s not directly business-related. As you gain experience and confidence, start experimenting by researching various business writing prompts. Eventually, you can test your creative skills by applying what you’ve learned to your day-to-day and email and company chat channels.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Now that you have made a regular reading list and started writing, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone. This usually means drafting something other people can read and critique.
How you get out of your comfort zone will vary based on your long-term goals and interests. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
• Write short stories for websites like Medium. These platforms are excellent for gathering constructive feedback and improving your work.
• Publish guest posts on sites that are relevant to your industry.
• Interact with people on social media. Take your time and craft thoughtful, engaging responses.
• Allow friends and family to read your written work and share their thoughts.
• Join writing communities through LinkedIn or standalone sites. Connect with other new writers as well as experienced experts so you can hone your craft.
I know it’s not easy to leave your comfort zone. If you’re feeling hesitant, I recommend blocking a section of your time each day to mix things up and work on a writing task that makes you uncomfortable. Before long, you’ll start to make progress.
Use brainstorming tools.
I’ve found that brainstorming tools can dramatically speed up your writing process and help improve your skills. Some writers have taken to artificial intelligence to get writing prompts and guidance on their journey. It’s not hard to imagine why this is the case. AI can give immediate output when asked for specific prompts and general advice.
However, you should also consider the benefits of other brainstorming tools, like mind mapping and word association. These strategies can help you overcome writer’s block and stay on track. In my experience, tools like this simplify the brainstorming process, which means you have more time to write.
Finally, editing is just as important as writing. If you’re not regularly editing your own work, your skills could begin to stagnate. It’s hard to improve if you can’t identify mistakes and actively improve.
Editing allows you to spot and correct errors before your writing is available for the world to read. As you practice, you’ll get a sharper eye for detail, which will help speed up your accuracy and performance in the future.
My best advice is to wait at least one full day before you edit your writing. In my experience, a little bit of breathing room before editing makes it much easier to spot mistakes and give your writing the polish it needs to thrive.
You should also avoid relying too heavily on grammar tools to edit your work. I believe that people who use these tools too much don’t flex their editing skills as often, which usually means their writing isn’t as refined as those who self-edit.
As you can see, creative writing is an involved process that takes time and plenty of patience. You probably won’t become an award-winning writer overnight, but you can eventually get there if you’re willing to do the work. The tips presented today have helped me improve my writing over the years; I’m confident you can achieve similar results.