While NaNo isn’t necessarily a challenge of how well you can write and you shouldn’t focus too much on fixing your writing as you go (there’s editing for a reason), improving the quality of your writing can be just as beneficial as improving the quantity of your writing.
Write more often!
This is where NaNo comes into play a lot. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. The more you do something, the better you get at that something. Writing is no exception. Keep on pumping out your goal every day, follow a writing schedule, carve out time to write every day. Flex that writing muscle!
Read more books!
As stupid as that tip sounds, it’s actually one of the best ways to improve your own writing. Whether you’re intentionally focusing on grammar and/or vocabulary, the words you read somewhat subconsciously seep into your own writing. Plus who doesn’t like reading a good book?
Keep it simple!
I think one of the most off-putting things when I’m reading a book is when it’s obvious the author is trying way too hard to sound smart. Using words that they obviously just looked up at Thesaurus.com that, sure, are large and impressive, but don’t really fit into the sentence and just feel awkward and forced. It especially sticks out like a sore thumb if said author does it like every page.
I love the pleasant surprise of a phenomenal word thrown nonchalantly into a paragraph. It feels natural and it’s so much easier to appreciate. Don’t try to force your writing to sound scholarly. Let the words flow. There’s no writing more attractive than natural writing.
Expand your vocabulary!
I’m not necessarily saying that you should intentionally focus on specific vocabulary words like you’re in high school. Actually a great way to expand your vocabulary naturally is to pay attention. Listen closely when people are speaking, read books and posts thoroughly to notice any new and/or interesting words used.
Don’t doubt yourself!
A large part of the struggle in writing is self-doubt. Literally everyone I’ve ever talked to about writing has said the same thing. “Oh my writing is terrible! You don’t want to read it!” And I think anyone who’s ever pursued writing knows exactly what I’m talking about. There’s a certain kind of special doubt that comes with writing.
Are you the next Ernest Hemingway? Maybe not. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t good. Don’t let that little voice in your head tell you that you aren’t a good writer, that your story is stupid. Don’t listen! It isn’t true unless you believe it.
Hope these tips help.
Thanks for reading!
Julia E. Flowers