6 of the Best Pieces of Advice from Successful Writers

penI’ve been reading some advice from successful writers lately and exploring what their routines are like to see what I can learn about

Here are six of the most common pieces of advice I came across that have helped me a lot improving my writing here at Buffer.

It also features actionable tips for you on how to implement them in your own writing.

 

1. The best ways to get over the “blank page hurdle”

I write because it comes out — and then to get paid for it afterwards? I told somebody, at some time, that writing is like going to bed with a beautiful woman and afterwards she gets up, goes to her purse and gives me a handful of money. I’ll take it. — Charles Bukowski

Unlike Charles Bukowski, writing well doesn’t come so easily for a lot of us (including me). It takes a lot of mental energy, strains your working memory and often makes you feel vulnerable if you try to be open and honest in your work.

The pure effort of writing is hard enough, but coupled with the pain of putting your work out into the world and letting others judge it, this can be enough to stop you from getting started at all.

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8 Simple Copywriting Tips, Backed By Science

pensI’m pretty lucky to have Leo around, because there are lots of times when I’m stuck on a title for a post, or the perfect word for something I’m writing.

Fortunately, we’re pretty keen on experimenting and testing here at Buffer, so I can try lots of different ideas and see what works best.

Even better, though, is having some data to give me a rough guide on where to start. I found some really useful data about crafting the perfect blog post or copy, and hopefully you’ll find it useful too.

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5 Unconventional Ways to Become a Better Writer (Hint: It’s About Being a Better Reader)

improve your writing - readingCan I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King

Even if you’re not a ‘writer’ per se, writing can be highly beneficial. It can be helpful for a number of things:

Generally, there are two things that writers recommend to others who want to improve: more writing, and reading. More writing is an obvious one, since practice makes perfect. But writing in a vacuum won’t do us much good. Reading exposes us to other styles, other voices, other forms and genres of writing. Importantly, it exposes us to writing that’s better than our own and helps us to improve.

Reading—the good and the bad—inspires you. It develops your palate for all the tricks that writers have invented over the years. You can learn from textbooks about the writing craft, but there’s no substitute for discovering for yourself how a writer pulls off a trick. Then that becomes part of your experience. – Roz Morris

Since reading is something we learn to do when we first start school, it’s easy to think we’ve got it sorted out and we don’t need to work on this skill anymore. Or, that we don’t need to exercise our reading muscles anymore. But illustrator Chuck Jones pointed out in this letter to a class of students how silly it would be to not read when we have the chance:

Knowing how to read and not reading books is like owning skis and not skiing, owning a board and never riding a wave, or, well, having your favorite sandwich in your hand and not eating it. If you owned a telescope that would open up the entire universe for you would you try to find reason for not looking through it? Because that is exactly what reading is all about; it opens up the universe of humour, of adventure, of romance, of climbing the highest mountain, of diving in the deepest sea.

So let’s take a look at five unconventional ways to become better writers by changing the way we read.

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